By Henry Umoru, Peter Duru & Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the death of former Senator Joseph Waku.
In the same vein, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, have also described Sunday’s death of elder statesman and fourth Republic federal lawmaker, Senator Joseph Waku, as big loss to the nation.
Senator Waku, who represented Benue North West Senatorial District at the National Assembly between 1999 and 2003, passed on at the National Hospital, Abuja, on Sunday, aged 73.
The President, in a statement through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, recalled Waku’s contributions to the growth of education.
He urged Waku’s children, friends and political associates to keep alive his commitment to the unity, peace and stability of not only Benue, but also the entire country.
Also, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said: “Senator Waku was a democrat and social activist. He cared so much about his people.
“He spoke truth to power not minding political correctness. He worked assiduously for the upliftment of his state in particular and Nigeria in general. His leadership role in Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, marked him out as a consummate politician with the welfare of his country at heart.”
For Dogara: “I recall that during his sojourn at the National Assembly at the start of the Fourth Republic, the late Waku distinguished himself as a parliamentarian who at every opportunity identified with the ordinary man and the downtrodden in the society.”
Similarly, Governor Ortom in a statement, through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said: “Senator Waku was one of my ardent supporters, who encouraged me to face the task of governance at very difficult moments.
“ He also made numerous sacrificial contributions to Nigeria and Benue State in particular. He was a man who promoted unity, equity, peace and justice for all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity, religion and political leaning.”
On his part, the former Senate President, David Mark in a statement by his Media Assistant, Paul Mumeh, said: “Waku was a patriotic Nigeria, who called a spade its rightful name no matter whose ox was gored.
“He stood for the truth at all times. He never pretended. He was brutally frank.”
Also, FUTA mourned the passing of its Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, with the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, describing it as a sad occurrence.
In a statement by FUTA’s Deputy Director, Corporate Communications, Adegbenro Adebanjo, Professor Fuwape said: “Waku, through deft managerial skills, ensured the stability of the institution and resolution of a lingering crisis.
“Our University will miss his leadership, wise counsel, camaraderie and peace-building efforts. On behalf of Council, Senate, staff and students of FUTA, I express our heartfelt condolence to the family and the people of Benue State over this irreparable loss.”
Late Waku was appointed the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of FUTA on May 9, 2017 and served in that capacity until his death.