NEWS

Gracious Ratu Epeli Leaves Behind Legacy That Will Be Hard To Beat

After six years as Head of State, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau bowed out graciously after he was officially farewelled by the State yesterday. Speaking at the state farewell accorded to him
12 Nov 2015 10:53
Gracious Ratu Epeli Leaves Behind  Legacy That Will Be Hard To Beat
Warriors of Nabukebuke, Namosi, escort President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau during his farewell ceremony yesterday at Government House. Photo: Jona Konataci

After six years as Head of State, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau bowed out graciously after he was officially farewelled by the State yesterday.

Speaking at the state farewell accorded to him at the Coronation Ground at Government House, he thanked the people, in particular the civil service and the disciplined forces for their service to state.

He talked about the importance of education and was pleased to leave office knowing that education was free for all Fijians.

“It is knowing that our young people’s access to all levels of education is guaranteed and being facilitated. It is through education, wisdom and the willingness of the heart to understand and appreciate the essence of our constitution that our people will be equipped to take our nation to the next level,” he said.

He assured the nation that he would be committed to continuing his advocacy on HIV/AIDS and to continue his close contact with the national/regional and international humanitarian organisations.

Ratu Epeli said he had left the Office of the President yesterday  with confidence knowing that Fiji was doing well.

He said that the country had come a long way especially in putting together its new constitution.

Reading Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s tribute, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Ratu Epeli’s role as United Nations Special Representative on HIV/AIDS, Ratu Epeli worked tirelessly to remind them all of their collective responsibility to give the young people the information they needed to keep them safe.

He championed this cause, not only throughout Fiji, but throughout the region and the world, he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Ratu Epeli would be especially remembered by the nation’s students for the directness of his message and the good humour he brought in delivering it.

There was no doubt Ratu Epeli saved many Fijians’ lives with his work and for that, they owed him a great deal, he said.

The Attorney-General also presented Fiji’s gift – a plaque and a sofa set.

 

‘A fitting farewell’

Bau chief, Ratu George Cakobau described the farewell to the outgoing President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau as “fitting for a chief”.

He said Ratu Epeli was a hardworker and a man of all ages.

Ratu George said Ratu Epeli was loved by all races because he cared for everyone.

He said the farewell, which was telecast live on television, would send a message to viewers on how important Ratu Epeli was to the people.

Rewa chief, Ro Epeli Mataitini described the farewell as emotional.

He said he shed tears of joy for Ratu Epeli during the farewell ceremony.

“I was happy with all the praises I heard about him during the traditional presentations and the fact that a hardworking man was stepping down from Fiji’s highest post,” he said.

Former Chief Justice Sir Timoci Tuivaga said it was a lovely farewell for a caring President.

Former Minister of Finance Sir James Ah Koy said it was a good farewell. He thanked Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama for such a grand farewell and setting the tone for the incoming President, Jioji Konrote.

Mr Konrote will be officially sworn in as President of the Republic of Fiji at Government House today.

The swearing in ceremony of Mr Konrote as the new President will take place at 10am and will be telecast live on FBC TV.

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 



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