By now it is probably no more news that President Jonathan’s closest aid, Oronto Douglas is dead, however Pride Magazine Nigeria take a look at his life and times as well as his long battle with terminal ailment which is believed to have cut his life short at the age of 49.
HIS LIFE AS PRESIDENT JONATHAN’S AID
The late Oronto is the closest and the most influential aid of President Goodluck Jonathan. He was so close to the President that the President listens to him and often suck his input in every major decisions of his administration. Oronto was among the few of Nigeria’s most informed lawyers and as well one of President Jonathan’s most brilliant aides, documenting the President’s achievements and legacies, and helping coordinate parallel media and campaign strategies for the presidency.
Oronto Douglas was widely traveled. Record says Douglas presented papers in over 200 international conferences and visited over 50 countries to speak on human rights and environmental related issues. He was an author of several works including the ground breaking WHERE VULTURES FEAST, Shell and human rights in the Niger Delta which he co-authored with his friend Ike Okonta.
…WORLD RECORD BREAKER
It’s no fable, Douglas was a world record breaker. He was said to be among 20 most influential writers, thinkers and activist. Mr Douglas was listed in a recent book “Political Awakenings: Conversations with History” by Harry Kreiser the Executive Director of the Institute of International Studies, University of California. Mr Douglas was selected with 19 others, from 485 interviews of people which the book described as “distinguished men and women who by the power of their intellect and strength of character shape the world.” Mr Douglas made the Science, Food and The Environment: Movement for Justice Category which comprised select individuals that have challenged corporate power which seeks to disproportionately reap the benefits of science and technology to the detriment of the society.
…LONG BATTLE WITH TERMINAL ILLNESS
Not many may know that Mr. Oronto Douglas’ battle with Cancer dates back several years ago. He had managed the ailment until his death. He was said to have been in and out of hospitals ever since, and often traveled abroad for medical attention. He had emaciated a great deal, which explains why he became scarce in the social circle.
HOW HE DIED
Multiple family sources account says he passed away at the State House Clinic in Abuja in the early hours of today, Thursday, April 9, 2015. He reportedly died of the cancer related complications.
HIS UNFULFILED DREAM
The March 28, 2015 Presidential elections where incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, his boss lost to the opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC wasn’t a good one for Oronto who believes so much in the President’s Transformation Agenda. He was said to have been shattered by the result of the election. His dream no doubt would have been to see his close friend and boss, President Jonathan return to Aso Rock and Preside over Nigeria for another four years, but that dream was truncated.
No doubt, Douglas would have loved to see himself hit the golden age, but death took him away barely a year before he turned 50.
NIGERIA’S LEADING HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY
Oronto Douglas was a leading human rights attorney in Nigeria, and served as one of the lawyers on the defense team for the Ogoni leader Ken Saro Wiwa, who was executed by Nigeria’s military rulers in 1995. Douglas co- founded Africa’s foremost environmental movement, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and served in the board of several non profit organizations within and outside Nigeria. Though he was arrested and tortured by successive military regimes, he continued to work for and speak out on issues of social justice in a corporate- military state.
He was the first Niger Delta activist to be hosted by a serving American President – he presented the Niger-Delta struggle at the White House to President Bill Clinton. Douglas who advises the Nigerian Vice President on strategic issues of community and the environment, is a fellow of both the George Bell Institute (England) and the International Forum on Globalization (USA).