By Ben Agande & Levinus Nwabughiogu
The Chairman of Chanchangi Airlines, Alhaji Ahmadu Chanchangi, is dead. The Taraba State-born Kaduna-based billionaire died along Kaduna-Abuja Road, on his way to a hospital in Abuja, yesterday morning.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has extended his condolences to the Chanchangi family, describing the aviation icon as a business mogul and one of Nigeria’s outstanding philanthropists.
A family source said: “He died along the road, while we were rushing him to a hospital in Abuja, after a protracted illness.
“He will be buried by 2p.m. today (yesterday), according to Islamic rites at the Bashama Road Cemetery,” another family source added.
Thousands of Kaduna residents, yesterday, trooped to the cemetery. After he was laid to rest, an aide of the late businessman told journalists that he died on the way to Abuja, where he was being taken to for medical attention.
Though details of the late businessman’s sickness were unknown, one of his aides said he suffered a relapse from a pre-existing sickness and had been in coma since last week Friday.
Early callers to the Chanchangi family house included former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi; former Chairman of PDP in Kaduna State, Alhaji Yaro Makama; Director General, Bureau for Religious Affairs in Kaduna, Alhaji Namadi Musa, and Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.
Prominent Islamic Sheik, Ahmad Gumi, led the prayers.
He is survived by three wives and 33 children, among who is Rufai Chanchangi, a member of the House of Representatives.
In a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, President Buhari also commiserated with the government and people of the deceased home state, Taraba, and that of Kaduna, where he lived.
The President said that Chachangi was a notable entrepreneur, who devoted his wealth to the advancement of the welfare of others instead of pursuing conspicuous consumption in a society overwhelmed by poverty.
He said: “His commi-tment to humanitarian causes is demonstrated in his offering succour to the needy, sponsoring community enlightenment programmes and uplifting of people’s spiritual well-being.”