By Suoyo Ekubo
A thanksgiving and memorial service has been held in memory of the late, Former Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, RT. Hon. Tonye Ezekiel W. Harry.
To mark the ten year memorial of the former Rivers lawmaker Hon. Tonye Harry, who represented Degema Constituency in the State Assembly, hundreds including family, friends, and associates gathered on Christmas Eve at the Hago Heights event center, Port Harcourt. Also, a charity in his honour named Tonye E. W. Harry’s Charity Foundation which will cater for the educational intervention of indigent students in the state was unveiled on the same day.
The solemn memorial thanksgiving service, held at the St. Albans Anglican Church, Obuama on Tuesday 26th, December, and was attended by some family members as well as his close friends.
Sen. Magnus Ngei Abe, in his address at the epoch ceremony of unveiling the Tonye E. W. Harry’s Charity Foundation, eulogised him as a man known for his generosity, courage, political sagacity, and his commitment to friendship and family.
He said, “Those of us who knew Tonye, who shared times with him, shared in his generosity and laughed with him, as long as we are alive, Tonye is not dead, because that consciousness of him is still with us. What the family has done today, is to promote that consciousness so that Tonye will continue to live in the minds and hearts of those who are alive.
Today is the 10th memorial of Tonye passing, we are gathered here to talk about him, to celebrate his consciousness because he is still alive. The purpose of the foundation is to ensure that his consciousness in our hearts lives on by promoting the ideals that Tonye stood for; helping people, supporting them in their education and otherwise.”
Rt. Hon. Tonye Ezekiel W. Harry died in October 2013. He was an astute politician- a team player with the slogan “carry everybody along”. His penchant and zeal for politics eventually came to fruition in 1998 when he contested, and won the election to become an assembly member representing the Degema constituency on the platform of the defunct Grassroot Democratic Movement (GDM). He relaunched his ambition in 1999, vying for the same position and eventually emerged victorious. This began an odyssey of servitude; responsiveness and empathy in political leadership till his sudden, yet painful demise in 2013.