BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, CHARLES KUMOLU & GBENGA OKE
LAGOS—Tributes poured in for the late politician yesterday. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said he received with immense sadness and a feeling of great national loss, the news of the passing away Chief Solomon Lar.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said Lar will always be remembered as a man of integrity whose forthrightness and wisdom stood him out among his peers.
He said the former Plateau governor lived a fulfilled life full of accomplishments and notable contributions to national unity.
While praying for the repose of the soul of the elder statesman, the Speaker urged his family, friends, associates and admirers to be comforted by the knowledge that he will always be remembered as a visionary and a universally acclaimed pacesetter who delivered positive results in all the public assignments he undertook.
Afenifere elder and elder statesman, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said: “It is sad, depressing and very unpleasant. However, I am of the opinion that Solomon Lar’s departure from this polity is very painful because he still had critical things to contribute to the Nigerian politics.
His life was a life of service, he started up as a teacher, and he was fired up in a political struggle with the Action Group of Nigeria. As governor, he represented the captain of liberty and freedom for the minority. He gave out the instrument of traditional ruler ship to a number of traditional rulers in Plateau.
He is known as an emancipator. He was a bold and courageous leader the Abacha violent ear; he led the G18 to submit a strong paper to Abacha. Under his leadership, a letter was written to Abacha to return government to democracy without any fear.
“He was among the builders of new Nigeria. Lar was among those, who fought for the rights of the minority in the country. We will miss him a lot because his generation is dwindling in the Middle Belt. I wish he was alive at this time that we are restructuring the country through the national conference. He was among those who fought for the rights of the middle belt people. Through his forthright and charismatic leadership the Middle Belt people are no longer regarded as northerners. Lar and others ensured that the middle belt has identity through the creation of states. He will surely be missed.”
Elder statesman, Alhaji Yahaya Kwande, who spoke to Vanguard from Mecca, said: “Chief Solomon Lar had always been a leader in and out office. He was the leader of Plateau state and a Nigerian leader. He worked for the peace of Plateau and Nigeria at large. He was a very generous politician, he is a visible leader even in death and he will forever political leader.”
Reacting to Lar’s death yesterday, Chief Goody Uwazurike, President of Igbo Intellectual Think-Tank group, the Aka-Ikenga, said: “Dr Solomon Daushep Lar was one of those gargantuan politicians who appear once in a century. He looked immortal to his area of influence, dominated and overcame his opponents and in the end became a statesman. He left solid foot prints in the sands of time in Nigeria.”
He was a disciplined, principled politician —David-West
Similarly former Minister of Petroleum Resources Prof. Tam David-West said: ‘’I personally knew him. He was one of the most disciplined politicians we have in this country. Every loss is irreparable but that of Solomon Lar is special. He had principles and was so elegant. He was schemed out of the PDP chairmanship and he took it with equanimity. Only few people can accept that.
It’s a personal loss —Nwobodo
Former Governor of old AnambraState, Chief Jim Nwobodo also described Lar’s death as a personal loss as he was referred to as an indigene of PlateauState because of his special relationship with Lar in particular and the late Governor of Kano State, Abubaka Rimi.
‘’Solomon Lar’s death is a loss too much to bear. He was my brother and friend. Both of us and Rimi decided to join PDP and remain there… We first of belonged to the group of SecondRepublic governors who were very close. It is painful that he died at this time when PDP is experiencing crises because his wish would have been to resolve same. He was very courageous, fearless, astute, a good family man and humble.
We hope his death ‘ll fix his party—Fasehun
In addition, founder of Odua Peoples Congress,OPC, Chief Fredrick Fasehun described Lar’s demise as, ‘’a very unfortunate death though he was an elderly person but Nigeria needs him now. We pray that God will console the members of his family. And I also hope that his death will help cement the affairs of the party he left behind.’’
He was one of the selfless leaders in the North—Tsav
Former Lagos State Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Sav said: ‘’It is very sad that we have lost one of the selfless leaders in the north. We sympathise with the family. The nation should be assured that he has lieutenants, who will carry on from where he stopped. But those who will continue from where he stopped must do that with sincerity.
The progressives need him at this time—Yerima
National President of Arewa Youth Forum, AYF, Alhaji Shettima Yerima said: ‘’It is a great loss to the country and the Plateau people. May his soul rest in peace! He believed in the progressives and worked to ensure that progressive ideals survived in this country. The progressives need him at this time. He was a man of peace, who wanted the best for his party and the country.
Uduaghan on Lar
History will remain kind to Solomon Lar, Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, said last night. He said history will be kind to Lar, in a statement by his press secretary, Felix Ofou. Uduaghna said the late governor belonged to a group of selected elder statesmen who lived entirely for the service of the nation.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also, yesterday expressed deep sadness over the death of its pioneer National Chairman and former Governor of Plateau, Chief Solomon Lar.
The party in a statement issued in Abuja described the development as a huge loss to the nation.
The statement, signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the death of the politician has left a big vacuum not only in the party, but in Plateau state and the nation at large.
The party described its pioneer chairman as a quintessential politician and patriot who sacrificed the greater part of his life for the entrenchment of true democracy.
“Our hearts reach out to the Government and people of Plateau state, the millions of PDP family nationwide, but most importantly to his loved ones and immediate family.
“Chief Solomon Lar will be remembered for his insistence on the emancipation of the masses and his white handkerchief.
“That is why he was fondly called the Emancipator.
“PDP members will not forget the image of Chief Solomon Lar on the podium with his white handkerchief singing and dancing to the PDP song.”
The statement said the “PDP at the national level will participate fully in ensuring that Chief Solomon Lar is given a national burial.”
Also, the President of the Senate, David Mark, described Lar as a builder per excellence, saying Nigeria had lost one of her shining stars.
Mark described the foremost political leader as rare Nigerian who propagated the tenet of democracy.
He said Lar would be remembered for fighting for democracy and enthronement of the people’s mandate against all odds.
“It was Chief Lar who led the group of G-34, which later metamorphosed into today’s PDP that has sustained the democratic rule all Nigerians now enjoy.
“We owe him a great deal of gratitude. He surely has a place of pride in the political history of Nigeria. Lar was a different kind of leader. He put the people and the nation first before self.
“He was an easy going man. He was calculated, gentle and result-oriented leader. Regrettably, the nation has lost one of her shining stars.
“We shall miss his robust contributions to national issues. We shall miss his humour”, Mark said.
Former National Chairman of the PDP, Sen. Barnabas Gemade, also described the death of Chief Solomon Lar, the founding National Chairman of the party, as ‘a loss to Nigeria’s democracy.”
Gemade described Lar’s death as “very painful” especially at a time when the party look forward to his wise counsel to resolve the conflict among its members.
“It is a very shocking news to me, we have lost one of the pillars of democracy in Nigeria.
“Nigeria has lost a man of peace, a great leader, an astute politician, one of the greatest founders of modern day politics in Nigeria.
“PDP will miss the wise counsel of this great man at this time when there is so much conflict in the party.
“He was supposed to be a member of the seven-man peace committee before his illness and hospitalisation,” he said.