…Kano declares today work free day
…Buhari, Osinbajo, govs, Saraki, others pay tributes
By Clifford Ndujihe, Henry Umoru, Wole Mosadomi, Abdallah el-Kurebe, AbdulSalam Muhammad, Emmanuel Okogba, Bashir Bello, Peter Okutu, Aliyu Dangida & Chinonso Alozie
EXACTLY 90 days to his 88th birthday, Elder statesman and frontline nationalist, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, passed on, yesterday morning, throwing his Kano home state into mourning.
Born on October 1, 1929, the former Nigeria Permanent Representative to United Nations and Minister of Petroleum, died in a Cairo, Egypt hospital, an aide to the late politician, Sani Darma, told Vanguard in Kano.
The late politician took ill last weekend and was flown to Egypt, last Saturday.
The remains of the elder statesman will be flown back to Kano today for burial.
Already, the Kano State government has secured an air ambulance to convey the corpse of the quintessential politician home.
A top media aide to Governor Umaru Ganduje of Kano State, said: “We chartered a multi purpose air ambulance to convey his corpse back home for burial.”
Expectedly, Alhaji Maitama Sule’s demise drew tears from the eyes of the 36 state governors of the country; Senate President Bukola Saraki; Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu; former Senate President David Mark; Labour Minister, Senator Chris Ngige; Solid Mineral Development Minister, Dr Kayode Fayemi; former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, and All Progressives Congress, APC, who showered tributes and extolled his virtues.
Indeed, the Kano State Government, which confirmed the death, has declared today work free to mourn the revered leader. Funeral prayers were held for the deceased at the Emir’s Palace, Kofar Kudu at 4:00pm, yesterday.
According to a statement by government spokesman and Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Mohammed Garba, “Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has declared tomorrow, Tuesday, a work-free day in the state to mourn the death of the elder statesman.”
The commissioner revealed that “Dr. Yusuf Maitama Sule died at a hospital in Cairo, Egypt where he was receiving treatment for an illness.”
Born at Ungwar Yola, present day Kano municipal, the late politician was enrolled into primary school in 1937, and on completion began his secondary education in Kaduna in 1943.
The elder statesman joined politics in 1954 and was elected into the House of Representatives as the youngest lawmaker.
In his rich political career, he held various positions. In the Second Republic, he aspired for the presidency on the cards of the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, but lost the ticket to former President Shehu Shagari in 1979.
He was subsequently appointed Nigeria’s representative to the United Nations after the coming of civilian rule in September 1979. While there, he was chairman of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid.
The late politician became the Federal Commissioner of Public Complaints, a position that made him the nation’s pioneer ombudsman.
Late Maitama Sule’s contributions to Kano earned him the recognition of Kano Emirate Council. He was installed as Dan Masani Kano by late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero.
He was survived by a wife and nine children. The late Maitama Sule last public outing was during the last Kano Economic Submit held last month.
Buhari sends condolence letter
President Muhammadu Buhari, from his sick bed in London, sent a letter of condolence to the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, in which he expressed profound shock over the death of Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule.
The letter, according to Femi Adesina, which the president signed personally, described the death of Alhaji Sule as a “heavy loss.” The letter will be delivered by the Federal Government delegation at the burial as constituted by the Acting President.
The President’s letter read: “I have heard this morning, the death of the venerable Alhaji Maitama Sule, Dan Masanin Kano, and one of Nigeria’s famous sons. Although, I knew he was in poor health for some time, his death nonetheless, came as a profound shock.
“As a Minister in the First Republic, he was one of those who assisted our founding fathers, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to fashion Nigeria politically and lay the grounds of national co-existence.
“Maitama Sule was blessed by God with a wonderful voice and outstanding eloquence. He served with distinction in the First Republic, the Second Military regime, as well as the Second Republic, without him being tainted with the remotest hint of scandal.
“As a person, I found him personable with unceasing good humour. Nothing personified his faith more than the fact that on losing his sight, he did not retreat in himself sulking on account of his ill-fortune. Quite to the contrary, he honoured virtually all invitations extended to him and spoke as usual with singular eloquence and unparalleled wit.
“In my discussions with him, I greatly valued his counsel, and I never ceased to be amazed by his concern for the well-being of his country rather than his personal interests.
“Let me extend my sincere condolences to Your Excellency, family and friends, the government and people of Kano, and Nigerians as a whole, for this most heavy loss. We shall not soon see the like of him. May God forgive his sins and admit him to Paradise, Amin.”
Also, Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, also commiserated with the Maitama Sule’s family and described him as great national asset.
Saraki, Ekweremadu mourn
Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, received the news of Sule’s demise with shock. While Saraki said that Nigeria has lost a great nationalist, Ekweremadu said it was a heavy blow, not only to the government and good people of Kano State, but also the entire nation.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the Senate President, who noted that the late Sule was a detribalised Nigerian, who spoke truth to power at all times during his lifetime, described the late Sule as an avowed and highly respected personality, core democrat, fearless politician, exceptional orator and an accomplished public servant.
As a mark of respect for the late Dan Masanin Kano, Saraki urged Nigerians to toe the path of dialogue in addressing their grievances and eschew ethnic tensions as embodied by the late former minister, saying that, “this is the highest respect we will pay to his legacies”.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu, said: “This is the exit of a patriot, true statesman, role model, social crusader, diplomat of an uncommon pedigree, and an orator, who served the nation and humanity in many capacities.
Ekweremadu, however, regretted that Alhaji Sule did not live to witness the Nigeria of his dream, which he fervently preached, prayed, and worked for.
It’s the exit of a titan—Mark
To former Senate President David Mark, Alhaji Maitama Sule’s marks the exit of a titan, he described as Nigeria’s leading light. He said Sule’s towering influence, achievements, intellect and oratory prowess in the evolution of contemporary Nigeria remain extraordinarily impressive.
In a statement by his Media Assistant, Paul Mumeh, the former Senate President said: “The position of Sule as it concerned the welfare and well-being of Nigerians was clear and unambiguous. He stood firm for the peace and unity of Nigeria. He was a noble man. In Maitama Sule, we have lost an unrepentant patriot, nationalist per excellence, a lover of dignity of labour and a soldier who fought in the defence of the ordinary man.”
36 state govs mourn
The 36 governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, said, yesterday, that the late elder statesman would be missed greatly
Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, on behalf of the governors said the demise of the politcian was a great loss to Nigerians, Kano state, its peoples and its emirate council in particular.
He described the deceased as an astute politician, administrator and orator who had impacted the nation positively in various spheres of human endeavour, adding that the late Maitama Sule was an orator, former diplomat, a complete gentleman and good citizen who dedicated his life to the unity, progress and development of Nigeria.
He said: “Our country has lost a rare gem. Dan Masani was a leading light of the old generation and with his demise the last of that generation has now been finally extinguished. He was a complete gentleman whose honesty, commitment and dedication to the unity of Nigeria will forever be cherished.
APC also expressed grief over the passage of respected elder statesman, which it described as a sad loss.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party said: ‘’Nigeria has indeed lost a distinguished politician, progressive voice, public servant and patriot who made the country proud in all public assignments he undertook on behalf of the country – locally and internationally.
We’ve lost a forthright leader — Fayemi
Also reacting, Dr Kayode Fayemi, in a statement by Olayinka Oyebode, his Special Assistant on Media, said “a good man, forthright leader, last of the titans is gone.”
Fayemi said Ambassador Maitama Sule’s death has robbed the country of a true patriot, nationalist and peace maker.
Nigeria has lost a colossus – Ngige
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, said Alhaji Sule’s death is a monumental loss to Nigeria.
He said: “Maitama Sule was a colossus whose life and time is a book, a must-read for all Nigerians interested in building a great nation. He zealously loved Nigeria and left worthy examples for the present and future generations to build on,” says a statement by the Special Assistant, Media to the Minister, Nwachukwu Obidiwe.
Nigeria has lost an icon – Kalu
Former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Kalu, lamented the demise of the politician stating that the nation has lost a rare gem.
The former governor, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, acknowledged the contributions of the deceased to the socio-political development of Nigeria, noting that the late elder statesman lived a purposeful life worthy of emulation.
Okorocha pays tribute
Apart from the statement they issued as a body, NGF, a host of the governors paid glowing tributes in their personal capacities.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, said with “the demise of Alhaji Sule, the nation and indeed, Africa have lost one of the finest and vocal nationalists who had lived his life preaching peace and unity of purpose for the nation.
“As a federal minister and Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nation respectively and even as the then leader of the Northern Elders Forum, the Dan Masanin Kano displayed exemplary leadership and commitment to service for the good of all.’’
He was known for pragmatic politics – Umahi
To Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, Maitama Sule was a consummate orator, politician and diplomat and a good player when politics is involved. He called on the people of Kano State and Nigeria in general to remember the late diplomat for his pragmatic politics in the First Republic.
“His demise at this critical stage of our nation is indeed a great loss to his family, Kano state government and Nigeria in general; he was a very vocal elder statesman and had at one point or the other insisted on a united federalism where all the components would be treated equally and equitably. I therefore urge his people to immortalize him by upholding his great good virtues which stood him out amongst his peers.”
He served with all his ability – Jigawa gov
Governor Muhammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State described the deceased as “a prominent community leader, who served his people ‘’with all ability; an eloquent politician like no one in his time and a prominent traditional title holder that earned respect from all.’’
Obaseki condoles Nigeria, Kano Govt
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, in his condolence message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. John Mayaki, to the people and government of Kano state, Governor Obaseki recalled that the former minister actively engaged in the promotion of peace and security in the continent, working tirelessly through various diplomatic initiatives as Nigeria’s representative to the United Nations and as chairman of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid.
He said, “On behalf of the Government and the People of Edo state, and myself, I wish to convey our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Government and People of Kano state and the entire Nation on the demise of Alhaji Maitama Sule”.
Obaseki said the late elderstatesman played a crucial role in promoting and facilitating the country’s steady tackling of corruption, growth and development.’’
Maitama’s death saddest moment for Nigeria – Masari
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has described the death of Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, as one of the saddest moments for the nation as it robs Nigeria of one of its voices of reason whose level of patriotism was supreme.
Governor Masari in a statement by his Senior Special Adviser on Media, Abdu Labaran Malumfashi to condole the Kano state government, his family and people of the state over the death of Maitama Sule, said: “It is with sadness and great sense of loss that I received the news of the death of elder statesman and fine gentleman, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, Danmasanin Kano.
“His death ranks as one of the saddest moments for the nation in recent times, as it robs Nigeria of one of its voices of reason whose level of patriotism was supreme. His deathcame at a time of great tribulations for the nation, when his interventions would have come very handy.
“Alhaji Maitama Sule’s commitment for the Nigerian cause was unquestionable. He has lived and died a life of service to the fatherland, and Nigeria and Nigerians would surely miss this great patriot.’’
We have lost a rare breed – Tambuwal
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto said it was a great loss.
In a statement issued by spokesperson to the governor, Malam Imam Imam yesterday, Tambuwal said that the late orator and former diplomat was a complete gentleman and good citizen who dedicated his life to the unity, progress and development of Nigeria.
“The people and government of Sokoto State received with shock, the news of the passage of Dan Masanin Kano, Alhaji Maitama Sule. Our country has lost a rare breed. A leading light from the old generation has been extinguished. He was a complete gentleman whose honesty, commitment and dedication to the unity of Nigeria will forever be cherished.’’
He was a nationalist to the core – Gov Sani
Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello said Alhaji Maitama Sule was a nationalist to the core who consistently spoke on, and fought for unity, peace and progress of Nigeria.
The Governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Malam Jibrin Baba Ndace, described the death of Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule as a huge loss to the Emirate Council, people and government of Kano state and indeed the nation as a whole.
The governor stated that the void left behind by the demise of the octogenarian would be difficult to fill but we have to take solace in the fact that his was a fulfilled and almost unblemished life in the service to the Creator and humanity.’’