President, Oulanyah mourn late statesman Francis Odida

President Yoweri Museveni and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, have celebrated the life of the late Francis Odida, a journalist, playwright and statesman.

In a message delivered by Oulanyah, President Museveni described the late Odida as an industrious person who lived a full life to the benefit of his community and country.

“President Museveni has asked me to tell you that he got to know Rwot Francis Odida and identified him as a politically stubborn person and that he needed to join hands with him early enough for the benefit of the country,” said Oulanyah at the burial on Saturday, 26 September 2020 in Pader district.

Odida, 82, operated the weekly Sunday Review, now defunct, between 1986 and1989.

Oulanyah, who worked as a delivery boy at the newspaper, said the late Odida saved him from the brink of dropping out of school and gave his chances of having an education a new lease of life.

“That newspaper was written by one person [late Francis Odida]; that time, I had been identified to go to Russia so that I can train as an air force pilot and come back to join military activities. But it is the late Odida who discouraged me from that path and asked me to return to conventional school,” said Oulanyah.

Oualnyah described Odida as an extraordinary man, and said if the values he espoused were emulated by all, the world would be a different place to be in.

“This is a person who would sacrifice whatever he had even if it meant he would remain with nothing,” said Oulanyah.

If emulated, he added, certain ills bedeviling society would be a thing of the past.

“If all of us could live the kind of life he lived, bad things like satanic practices would not be there; all of us must support each other and hold our hands together so that we can become a stronger nation,” he said.

MP Odonga Otto (FDC, Aruu County) narrated his encounters with the late Odida, saying he is what he is today because of Odida’s sacrifices.

Odonga Otto said when nomination was approaching in 2001, he had no financial resources to pay for his nomination fees, but was bailed out at the last minute by Odida.

Odida’s wife, Gertrude said theirs was a fruitful journey, and thanked God for the deceased’s life.

“Our journey was not always easy; two stubborn people and two different cultures, but it [marriage] was extremely fruitful,” she said.

At the time of his death, Odida was campaigning to join Parliament as the Elderly MP representing Northern Uganda on the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ticket.

Odida, 82, is survived by his wife and five children, two of whom are adopted.

The President contributed Shs 10 million towards funeral expenses.