Yesterday Tony Ezeagwu, Delta State Chairman of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), representing Delta Central at the National Assembly, described the death of Senator Pius Ewherido as a great loss.
Ezeagwu during a phone conversation from Asaba said the late senator was an energetic young man whose death was least expected.
“It is quite unfortunate, we least expected it because he was such an energetic young man, it’s quite unfortunate,” he said. On his part, a second republic senator and elder statesman, Francis Okpozo could not utter a word when contacted, saying he was too shocked by the sad news to react.
Senator Ewherido died yesterday at the National Hospital, Abuja where he was receiving treatment in preparation for further treatment in Germany. He was said to have collapsed about three days earlier at his Abuja residence. Until his death, the senator who won his election in 2011 on the platform of the DPP was nursing ambition to govern the oil-rich Delta State apparently on the platform of the merger party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
The state leadership of the DPP earlier suspended him for his overt political romance with the bourgeoning APC, although the party insisted that he was suspended for anti-party activities. DPP had applied to be part of the new merger but pulled out along the line.
But Ewherido and his loyalists were already stuck into the merger arrangement. In the wake of the crisis of suspension within the DPP, Ewherido celebrated his 50th birthday and the PDP-state government felicitated with him in a goodwill message in some national dailies, fuelling speculations that the PDP were offering him a soft landing.
However, the government had insisted that the felicitation had no political undertone but was a usual practice for illustrious sons and daughters of the state who attained the golden age.
The late senator began his political career in 1999 when he was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Ughelli South Constituency at the Delta State House of Assembly where he was appointed deputy speaker of the House in June 1999.
Ewherido was re-elected in April 2003 and also retained his deputy speaker position from May 2003 until May 2007. He contested 2006 governorship primaries on the PDP platform but was unsuccessful. Analysts in Delta politics believed the late senator would have been a strong factor in the build-up to the 2015 governorship election because of what they described as his broad-based support.
He was seen across the political spectrum as a reliable and hardworking politician who had demonstrated large appetite for service.