Frank Kokori, former general secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has died at the age of 80, according to his assistant Atawada Oke, who confirmed his death to journalists early Thursday.
Kokori had been hospitalised for about a month for a kidney-related ailment, which relapsed on Monday, forcing medics to place him on life support.
The former labour leader died at a private hospital in Warri around 1:30 am on Thursday, December 7, which is coincidentally his birthday.
Kokori played a major role in the struggle for the validation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by the late Moshood Abiola.
He led NUPENG and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in organising nationwide strikes that crippled the oil industry intending to force the Ibrahim Babangida military regime to reverse the annulment of the election.
Due to his activism, Kokori was arrested and detained by the military government.
He was quoted as telling Vanguard during a visit to him last month: “If I wanted to compromise, the military (junta of late General Sani Abacha) was ready to give me anything but I stood for democracy, believing that democracy will usher in a better Nigeria.”
On November 9, Kokori made a distress call from his sickbed, lamenting that he had been neglected and abandoned to die despite his huge contribution to the democratic growth of the country.
Consequently, Delta State Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, former Senate Deputy President Ovie Omo-Agege, and NUPENG officials visited him.