Story and picture by GABRIEL FITO
THE body of Bernard Narokobi was laid to rest in his Wautogik village, Dagua, East Sepik, on Saturday.
The burial was witnessed by thousands of people, including bureaucrats, clergymen and Government leaders.
Many people were prevented from reaching Wautogik by very steep and slippery road conditions at Banak and had to return to Wewak while others climbed the rugged mountain on foot for two hours to get there.
The casket was airlifted from Banak Primary School by a helicopter last Friday afternoon as an ambulance and a convoy of vehicles left Wewak after a State funeral mass at the Christ the King cathedral could not negotiate the steep mountainous road.
More than 3,000 school children, men, women and members of the disciplinary forces had to crowd outside the church for the funeral mass.
Among the very important people who attended were Chief Secretary to the Government Manasupe Zurenuoc, acting secretary to the Prime Minister Margaret Elias, Wewak Open MP Jim Simatab, Governor Peter Wararu and Mr Narokobi’s closest friend and former PNG ambassador to China, John Momis.
In his condolence message, Mr Simatab described Mr Narokobi as a simple man but a great lawyer, judge, author, philosopher, diplomat, cabinet minister and Parliament Speaker.
He said Mr Narokobi was the pride of the people of Wewak because of his many achievements within and outside PNG.
Mr Momis also paid tribute to his close friend who had been a constant advocate for Melanesia and one of PNG’s founding father of the national constitution.
He said Mr Narakobi was also a faithful servant of God and he was the role model for the people of PNG.
“He was a big leader because be chose to be simple.”