The late Michael Ocan
“I consider him “Munyalem” (a fearless hero) who would stand up to face a roaring lion or elephant and be the first to spear such an animal during hunting expeditions”
“What is the plan of government on such diseases as heart diseases? We need such health services here in Uganda at affordable rate so that even the ordinary man in the village can affordtreatment”
LAMWO: Thousands of people, including several Members of Parliament of Uganda and local leaders, March 2, 2017, thronged Putika village in Agoro sub-county, Lamwo district to pay tribute to fallen popular retired science teacher, the late Michael Ocan. He died of heart failure on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 from St. Mary’s Hospital, Lacor in Gulu district where he was hospitalized with “acute syncope”. He was husband to Gulu Woman Member of Parliament, Ms. Betty Aol Ocan. Putika village is located 506 kilometers, on a dusty road, north of Kampala Capital City and very close to the border with South Sudan.
Retired Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Kitgum, Bishop Macleod Ocholla II described the late teacher as a “hero and a fearless” child who ventured into Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry subjects for his University entrance examinations unlike most students who would fear science subjects.
“I consider him “Munyalem” (a fearless hero) who would stand up to face a roaring lion or elephant and be the first to spear such an animal during hunting expeditions”, says Bishop Ocholla.
Bishop Ocholla appealed to the government to provide equal opportunities to excel to all students regardless of which region such children come from because every child has his/her own potential.
“You can see for yourself that although the late Ocan came from close to South Sudan border and went to a village school, he excelled in science subjects up to university. You should give opportunities to all children. Each child has his or her own potential irrespective of which region he or she comes from”, says the cleric.
Acholi Paramount Chief, Rwot David Onen-Acana II appealed to government to invest more on the health sector, especially in areas of new emerging diseases like heart disease. The late Michael Ocan becomes the third prominent person to die of heart failure recently after the late Major General Julius F. Oketa and Vincent Opiyo-Lukone.
In a message delivered by his Prime Minister Ambrose Olaa, to mourners who had gathered at the Gulu District Council Hall to pay tribute to the late Michael Ocan on Tuesday February 28, 2017, Rwot Acana observed that several Ugandans are dying of heart complications at a very prime age because they cannot afford treatment abroad.
“What is the plan of government on such diseases as heart diseases? We need such health services here in Uganda at affordable rate so that even the ordinary man in the village can afford”, reiterates Rwot Acana. He said the late Michael Ocan was a kind of consultant to the cultural institution on such matters affecting the community, especially on land matters.
The widow, Ms. Betty Aol Ocan, described her late husband as a man with a very large heart for education and doing God’s work which enabled him pay 31 other children besides his own seven biological children up to university education.
“He was not only a teacher to others but he taught me many things. I considered him my first born. By the time he passed on, he had already picked up form to register for his PhD degree. He went when we least expected him to go. I could have done everything to prevent him going but it was God’s plan that he should go”, says Ms. Betty Aol Ocan.
Who was Michael Ocan?
Michael Ocan was born on January 2, 1954 to a Railway employee, the late Batulumayo Langoya and Ms. Veronica Lamunu. He was the first born in a family of seven children. He went to Layibi Central Primary School (1968), Comboni College in Lira for his Ordinary Level (1969-1972), Kings’ College Budo (1973-1974) for his Advance Level before joining Makerere University in 1975 for his Bachelor of Science Degree and concurrent Diploma in Education. He got his master’s degree in Education Planning in 2013 from Gulu University.
He taught Mathematics and Physics at Sacred Heart Girls’ School and Layibi College before being promoted to head Awere Senior Secondary School from 1986-2000 as headmaster. He was also headmaster of Sir Samuel Baker School (2001-2002) and Kitgum High School (2003-2013) from where he retired from service.
While at Awere, he suffered at the hands of the Holy Spirit Movement (HSM) of priestess Alice Auma Lakwena, a rebel outfit then fighting the government of Mr. Yoweri Museveni, when he was abducted by the rebel movement and spent about a year in captivity before being rescued by government forces.
By the time he passed on, on Wednesday February 22, he was the board chairman of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital and Local Organizing Committee for St. Janani Luwum Memorial annual events.
He died at St. Mary’s Hospital, Lacor of heart failure. Rest in Peace, Michael.