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Central Province Governor Robert Agarobe struggled to contain his tears on Tuesday evening as he shared his past moments with the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.
He described Sir Michael as more than a Prime Minister or a politician during their meetings when he was as a private citizen.
Agarobe said his greatest regret was not spending time with him in politics when in Parliament.
“When I came in in 2017, he had retired,” Agarobe said.
“He was more like a father to me,” he said at the Sir John Guise stadium when the Central and Gulf people gathered to celebrate and mourn the life of Somare.
One instance, Agarobe was a young aircraft engineer preparing PNGDF helicopters in Wewak when Somare walked up to him and saw him sweating in the sun.
Somare gave Agarobe the hat he was wearing. Agarobe refused but Somare persisted that Agarobe wore it.
Agarobe was so humbled by the gesture.
Somare then invited Agarobe for a dinner with him and Sir Hugo Berghauser that evening at the hotel.
“That was the first time I had a dinner with a PM,” Agarobe said.
During the launch of Agarobe’s Helfix Aircraft maintenance facility at Jackson’s Airport Seven Mile, Sir Michael was the guest of honour and launched it.
Over at the reception and having a wine or two, Sir Michael asked Agarobe how he would help Helifix from the government.
Agarobe said he was doing fine and did not need assistance.
Agarobe then told Sir Michael he was worried about him as Prime Minister because he had about 6 million people from the country then to assist.
He said though he did not receive any direct support from government, he got many contracts from the government keeping him and his business busy.
In his reflection, the open request if Agarobe need help was more like a father to son.
Agarobe did not say but at the CEO’s office for Helifix at Jackson’s Airport, everyone who enters the office has to remove their shoes.
This custom started when Sir Michael Somare removed his sandal and entered the office during the launch of the facility.