Abuja:Gowon, Shagari, Shonekan condole with, congratulate Jonathan
Abuja â€” Three former Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Chief Ernest Shonekan,yesterday condoled with President Goodluck Jonathan over the death of former President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua.
The former Heads of State had earlier signed a condolence register before going into a closed-door meeting with the President.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting in Abuja, Gowon said they were at the Aguda House to condole with the President on the demise of Yarâ€™Adua.
He said they were also there to congratulate him on his new position as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
â€œWe are here for two things, condolence visit on the death of our former President and also take this opportunity to congratulate Mr President on his new position.
â€œAt least, he has dropped the acting, now he is our President and we wish to congratulate him and wish him well in his new assignment as Mr President.
â€œWe are delighted that it has worked out well. God is always in charge to help resolve some of Nigerian issues and problems and this has been done very peacefully and orderly,â€ he observed.
Gowon, therefore, charged the President to do his best for the country by concentrating on ensuring free and fair general elections in 2011.
He urged him to re-organise the nationâ€™s electoral machinery to make sure it could deliver theÂ Â free and fair elections.
â€œI hope Mr President will concentrate on ensuring that we have free and fair elections in the country as we have seen happened in other African Countries like Ghana and South Africa,â€ he said.
I have lost a dear brother â€“ Atiku
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar described the death of President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua as â€œa sad and painful loss of a dear brother and patriotâ€.
In a condolence message released by his media office yesterday in Abuja, Atiku said the nation has lost a decent, humble and brilliant leader whose contributions to the development of Nigeria will be remembered by generations to come.
â€œI have known him since late 1980s when I met and became a friend and close political associate of his elder brother, Shehu Musa Yarâ€™Aduaâ€, Atiku said in the statement. â€œOver the years, the ties between my family and that of the Yarâ€™Aduas have grown so strong that we have come to treat ourselves genuinely as brothers and sisters.
Umaru was one of the closest state governors to me between 1999 and 2007 when he served as Katsina State Governor and I was Vice President of Nigeriaâ€.
Atiku, who was among the first to arrive at the Yarâ€™Adua compound in Katsina yesterday, said despite their political differences, the family ties between the Abubakars and the Yarâ€™Aduas remained deep and cordial.
He said he would always remember Umaru for his quiet dignity, his sincere belief in the rule of law, his commitment to the deepening of democracy and the landmark resolution of the Niger Delta crisis.
Atiku prayed to God to give President Goodluck Jonathan, former First Lady Turai and his children and the entire Yarâ€™Adua family, including his aged mother, the fortitude to bear the loss. He also prayed for the repose of the late Presidentâ€™s soul.