By Dayo Benson, Taye Obateru, Emmanuel Aziken, Emeka Mamah, Kingsley Omonobi Gabriel Enogholase, Dayo Johnson, Tony Edike, Henry Umoru; Gbenga Ariyibi; Demola Akinyemi; Dapo Akinrefon,Â Gbenga Oke; Abdulsalam Muhammad & Aliyu Dangida
KANO â€” Thousands of sympathisers thronged the Emirâ€™s palace, Kano yesterday to pay their last respect to the first civilian governor of Kano State, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, where the Deputy Chief Imam of Kano Central Mosque, Nazeephy Dalhatu, led the funeral prayers.
Rimi, the Kano-born politician, died of cardiac arrest after an encounter with armed robbers along Kano/Bauchi road Sunday night at the Malam Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano.
The unprecedented crowd made it difficult for the body to lie in state for prayer and instead was left in the ambulance that conveyed Rimiâ€™s corpse to the emirâ€™s palace by 12.36pm.
The funeral prayers conducted by the Deputy Chief Imam of Kano Central mosque, Alhaji Nazeephy Dalhatu lasted just two minutes as the crowd had a running battle with palace guards who took over the palace security at Kofar Kudu
Those who witnessed the funeral prayers included Alhaji Sule Lamido; former Defence Minister, and second civilianÂ Governor of Kano, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; the Emir of Dass, Usman Bilyaminu Othman; Senator Makarfi; Danladi Sankara, and top politicians within and outside Kano.
All the roads leading to the palace were taken over by men and women in purdahÂ shedding tears uncontrollably amid chanting of “Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar” (Allah is great. Allah is great).
The crowd escorted Rimiâ€™s body inside the ambulance on a long trek to Tarauni cemetery within the municipality and it took two hours before the remains finally arrived its permanent resting abode.
Chants of Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar rented the air as his remains was being lowered into the grave at 3.00 p.m. amid wailing and tears for a man who played a significant role in the modern day socio-political and economic development of the commercial state.
In a reaction to the development, Rimiâ€™s political aide, Comrade Saidu Bello, told Vanguard that the down trodden had lost “the remaining lone voice against oppression and injustice.”
Comrade Saidu Bello, who was with Rimi at the time he gave up the ghost, said: “Rimiâ€™s death has created a political vacuum that may take generations to fill. His death due to insecurity is an indictment on our collective security as a nation.”
Bello said contrary to belief in some quarters, “the late Rimi never believed in materialism and left nothing for his children.”
He was a dogged fighter â€”PDP
THE national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has described late Abubakar Rimi as a dogged fighter who fought for the common man, just as it said as a founding father of the PDP, he was part of the rare and exclusive class of Patriots.
A statement signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali said: â€œHis deep ideological convictions and his forthrightness as well as his colourful personality will be missed by all Nigerians.
â€œThe People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has received with a great sense of bewilderment and utter shock the sad news of the passing away of Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, a frontline politician, an elder statesman, and a dogged fighter for the common man.
â€œAlhaji Abubakar Rimi as former Governor of Kano State, a former Minister of Communications and a founding father of the PDP belonged to the rare and exclusive class of patriots, nationalists and charismatic politicians who served this country meritoriously and who made politics a delight for Nigerians.
â€œThe National Chairman of the PDP, PrinceÂ Vincent Ogbulafor, on behalf of our great party wishes to join all Nigerians to condole with the government and people of Kano State over this huge national loss. The party also wishes to pray for the repose of the soul of this great collosus of all times.
â€œMay the Almighty Allah reward him with Al janat Fidraus. May Allah also grant the family the courage to bear the loss with fortitude. Amin.â€
Rimi was like a brother to me â€”Nwobodo
” It is a great loss and it is very devastating. It is shocking and I am short of words.Â I was woken up here in America early this morning by a text message.Â I woke up around 4 am and got it,â€ Nwobodo told Vanguard on telephone.
“I can tell you that Rimi was a dear friend and a brother.
And we remained close from our governorship days. We belonged to the same political party, Nigeria People’s Party, NPP,Â and we agreed on many issues.Â Rimi had a very strong dislike for injustice.Â He resisted injustice in every ramification and he believed in the masses.
“He was such a close friend that even when he was a Minister of Communication, he was my bestman at my marriage and even as a Muslim, he followed me to the church and was prepared to take Holy Communion if it was possible.Â He sat with me in the church throughout the service. He knelt with me before the altar.
The only thing he did not do was to take the communion. He was a friend of the family.Â He was one of the first that visited the hospital when my wife delivered my twins and he has remained ever so close to the family.”
Rimi’s death, great loss â€” Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF
The ACF on its part said that Rimiâ€™s death was a great loss not only to Kano State, but Nigeria as a whole, adding that his contribution to the nationâ€™s political development will be gratly missed.
In a text message to Vanguard,Â the Forum said: â€œThe Arewa Consultative Forum has received the sudden death of Alhaji Abubakar Rimi with heavy heart. The death of the former governor of Kano State has robbed the state and the nation of a veritable source of politics of mass participation where peoplesâ€™ votes count.
â€œHis contribution to democracy that is premised on triple foundation of liberty, justice and common decency would greatly be missed by all and sundry.
“And so, the best way to remember former Governor Abubakar Rimi is for those charged with the task of electoral reforms and other and other laws to reflect Alhaji Rimiâ€™s suggestions as they affect the place of existing immunity clause, state electoral commissions, current management of state/local government account in the states, existing number of political parties and punishment of corrupt persons.
â€œMay Allah provide members of his family, government and people of Kano State and the nation the fortitude to endure what cannot be changed. After all, death is a necessary end and it would come when it would come. May his soul rest in peace.â€
Textile workers lament worsening security
The National Union ofÂ Â Â Â Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, wants the Federal Government to take drastic measures to ensure the safety of lives and property of Nigerians.
In a statement yesterday, General Secretary of NUTGTWN and a Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Issa Aremui said it was lamentable that Nigerians were no longer safe to travel because of the high level of insecurity in the country despite the fact that security is topmost on the 7-point agenda of the present administration.
According to them, while every human being has a date with death,Â nobody bargained for some cheap and callous death in the hands of road marauders.
According to Aremu, â€œthe tragic death of a 70-year-old People’s Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain through terror inflicted by armed robbers which in turn resulted in cardiac arrest, is a wake up tragic call that lives are endangered in Nigeria. In the short run, we are all dead cheaply if nothing is done to stop these daily tragedies on our roads and homes due to insecurity.
â€œThis was simply unacceptable as it was unthinkable. Nigeria is the only country in the world with outrageous power outages. It is the only country that lives are wasted everyday due to bad roads and armed robbery. Nigeria is the only country a fine progressive politician and former governor would die due to complications arising from armed robbery.
â€œActing President must urgently act now and reverse the unfortunate slide of Nigeria into a primitive state of nature state in which elder statesmen and hundreds of anonymous Nigerians died cheaply due to insecurity.
â€œThe best way to honour Rimi is for all governments to reinvent developmentalist Nigeria because that was what Rimi lived and died for. He was cut down actually on the road to developmentâ€.