Dr. George Allen Fente
Death continues its grim reaping preoccupation, uncaring of what humanity considers its pressing focus. The Niger Delta and Ijaw nation, locked down by the imperatives of containing the ravages of the CORONA VIRUS 19 is shocked numb as families and friends mourn the loss of two personalities linked by politics and now death, in different circumstances.
A Political Colossus And End of A Generation
Chief George Allen Fente died April 11,2020 reportedly from health challenges related to renal failure. One of Nembe Bayelsa State’s prominent sons, he was a major political fixer and mixer. The stories of what he did or could do in the game of politics are the stuff of fable. Not much is known about him outside of his exploits in politics, although he set up an FM radio and television station in Yenagoa. A skilful politician, he bestrode the political space of the old Rivers State and following the creation of Bayelsa State in 1996, moved over and continued his commanding presence in the new Bayelsa East Senatorial zone and in the state, a role he played almost until ill health stopped him mid dance. George Fente was a flamboyant personality and connected with both the young and older persons especially within the political space. Close friends and associates describe him as a great personality, whose loyalty to his friends and associates was a powerful bond, building relationships that last decades. Yet, in the slippery terrain of Nigerian politics, yesterday’s warm dinner guest could turn cold, deadly enemy in the morning when allegiances shift like a breeze. Fenteis said to have had his fair share of disappointments from political associates. Indeed, close friends express sadness over the desertion of the political crowd puller in his last days.
A lawyer in Bayelsa State described Fente as, ‘A very warm person who was good to his friends and associates. But, he was mostly left without support during his illness’.
Ruby Nyanayo, a politician and business woman from Nembe, Bayelsa paid glowing tribute to a man who was known within the political space as ‘Chocker’ for his adept manner of halting the vaulting ambition of neophytes and the impatient in politics, with eyes on political positions.
He is credited with opening hard doors to power, wealth and influence for many of the older political politicians in Old Rivers and Bayelsa including Dr. Peter Odili, who became Deputy Governor of Rivers in 1993 and Governor in 1999. The rise to power of Timipre Sylva, who became Governor in 2007, is in large measure credited to Fente, a master of political manoeuvre. The dapper Fente was the campaign manager of Keniebi Okoko, who emerged one of the top candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the party primaries lead up to the 2019 elections. Okoko, the businessman, politician and son of Prof. Kimse Okoko, one time President of the Ijaw National Congress, INC died in tragic circumstances April 13,2020 two days after Fente passed on.