Veteran labour leader, June 12 activist, Frank Kokori, passes away at 80

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In a somber development, Chief Frank Kokori, the former General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has succumbed to a month-long battle with a kidney-related ailment. He breathed his last at a private hospital in Warri at approximately 1:30 am on Thursday, December 7, 2023, coincidentally marking his 80th birthday.

The announcement of Kokori’s passing was made by his Personal Assistant, Atawada Oke, who revealed that the veteran labour leader’s health had deteriorated on Monday. During this time, he was placed on life support and was unable to engage with those around him.

Kokori had previously raised concerns about his well-being on Thursday, November 9, 2023, reaching out from his hospital bed to express feelings of neglect and abandonment despite his substantial contributions to the democratic development of the country.

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Several dignitaries, including Delta State Governor Sheriff Oborevwori and former Deputy President of the Senate Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, as well as NUPENG officials, visited Kokori in response to his distress call.

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Chief Frank Kokori played a pivotal role in advocating for the validation of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election, which was won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola. Following the annulment by military junta Ibrahim Babangida, Kokori mobilized the masses, leading nationwide strikes that paralyzed the oil industry, a critical aspect of the country’s economic infrastructure.

These strikes exerted immense pressure on Babangida, contributing to the eventual reversal of the decision to annul the election. Kokori, however, did not confine his activism to the labour sector; he actively participated in pro-democracy activities, engaging in rallies and demonstrations for the enthronement of democracy and the recognition of Abiola’s victory.

Despite facing arrest, imprisonment, and torture by the military regime, Kokori remained steadfast in his commitment to democratic ideals. His unwavering courage and dedication earned him widespread respect, solidifying his status as a hero in the struggle for June 12. OgunWatch News mourns the loss of this iconic figure in Nigeria’s history.

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