By MALUM NALU
Firebrand former Morobe Premier Utula Samana was farewelled at a moving funeral service at the Sione Kami Memorial Church in Port Moresby yesterday.
|Utula Samana's casket is hoisted by military pallbearers after the service.-Pictures by MALUM NALU|
Samana, 64, also a former Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock and PNG Ambassador to the United Nations, was remembered by among others, Prime Minister's chief-of-staff Ben Michah, NCD Governor Powes Parkop, his deputy at the UN Max Rai, and former DAL Secretary Ted Sitapai.
|Rev Qogi Zongorrenr, Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG Papua Region Bishop (left) and preacher Rev Taiye Zawia lead the funeral possession|
Rai and Sitapai said Samana achieved much more for Papua New Guinea than what many people gave him credit for, including chairing many committees at UN level, and fighting for the development of agriculture.
Michah, in his obituary, talked about a student protest at the University of Technology outside Lae in 1983 over the suspension of Morobe academic Jonathan Soten.
|Tears fall for Utula Samana|
Police were about to move in and arrest all ringleaders, Micah being main culprint, as the then Student Representative Council president.
Samana suddenly drove in and ordered the withdrawal of police.
|Mourners line up|
"His action on that day was a mesmerising introduction for me to the persona, character and leadership of Utula Utuoc Samana," Michah said.
"That day defined and established a relationship that developed into a close friendship that lasted 28 years up to the early hours of Sunday, Oct 2, 2011.
|Final viewing of body|
"During most of that period, I came to intimately know and understand some of the character traits that made Utula who he was and the great leader the people of Morobe, Papua New Guinea and even the world has come to know.
"He was an intellectual who could translate knowledge into concepts, devise plans and develop practical steps for introduction.
|Mourners paying their last respects|
"His depth of knowledge in diverse subjects such as politics, religion, law, agriculture, sociology, anthropology, administration and the list goes on was amazing.
"Many times we would debate for hours on how the thoughts of Vladmir Lenin, Chairman Mao, Ho Chi Min, Fidel Castro or Juliys Nyerere could be integrated into our own brand of Melanesian socialism."
|Military guard of honor|
Micah said the Biwat people in Lae would remember Samana for rescuing them when PNG Readymix was about to bulldoze their homes into the Bumbu River.
When the Bumbu River burst its banks in 1983, it was Samana who sought the help of the PNG Defence Force, and built what has become known as 'Tent City'.
Micah said Samana mellowed somewhat after losing the Morobe provincial seat to arch rival, Jerry Nalau, in the 1992 elections.
"He truly believed that in his lifetime he could politically engineer the transformation of our country from the Third World into a developed nation," he said.
"The voters of Morobe denied him this dream, and to all other citizens, a real opportunity that I can tell you in all great confidence Utula Samana was capable of delivering.
"He always reminded me that if Lee Kuan Yew could do it in Singapore without natural resources, we could do it in no time with our abundance of resources.
"Today, it is with great sadness that we gather to farewell one of the greatest sons of our nation."
Samana's body was flow to Lae today.
Tomorrow, it will be flown to his mother's Nanduo village in Finschhafen, and then on to Bau Village in Morobe Patrol Post.
On Tuesday, the body will lie in the Morobe provincial assembly chamber for leaders to pay their respects and tributes.
On Wednesday, the funeral service will be held at Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium, before being buried at the Old Lae Airport Cemetery.