..This is a Lesson to us all to live in peace
…Why are we losing the good people, wicked People in Nigeria are not dying, Abaribe
…National Assembly is a Leveler, Senator Bamidele
By Henry Umoru
THE Senate, Wednesday, stood still for the VICE Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, late Senator Ignatius Longjan, All Progressives Congress, APC, Plateau South who died after a protracted illness.
The Senators, during the session, paid tributes to the late former Deputy Governor of Plateau State who died February 10, 2020.
In the tradition of the Senate, the valedictory session for late Senator Longjan was the only item on the Order Paper.
Soon after remarks by the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, APC, Kebbi North that the Senate should now pay tributes to late Senator Longjan, born 16th May, 1945, Senators extolled the virtues of their late Colleague, saying Senator Longjan lived a life committed to service of humanity.
The session followed a motion moved by Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi having moved for the suspension of Order 17 of the Senate to allow visitors into the chamber.
Recall that the Senate had penultimate week organised a similar Valedictory Session in honour of Chairman, Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, All Progressives Congress, APC, Imo North who died December 18, 2019.
Senator Longjan who was also the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, was a member of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA, replaced Senator Jeremiah Useni who did not come back to the Senate because of his gubernatorial ambition in Plateau State.
Senators dressed in white and back attires took turn to pay glowing tributes to the late senator.
Kickstarting the tribute, the Senate Leader, Senator Abdullahi who who noted that the passage of Longjan had sent the upper chamber into deep mourning, said, “The passing of Sen. Longjan came as a rude shock, like a thunderbolt to all of us. His sudden exit is a very big blow not only to his immediate family but to all of us.
“His death has robbed the whole nation, Quanpan Local Government Plateau South Senatorial District and all students, unions, associations and the National Assembly of the services of one its best and finest political and diplomatic icon.”
Abdullahi who noted that the late Longjan would forever live the memories of lawmakers as a patriotic, humble, peaceful and a great man of integrity, said, “He rose yo the pinnacle of his career as a diplomat and politician by hard work and dedication to duty.”
On his part, Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Abia South who noted that yet again, the Senate had lost another good man, asked are good people dying, with the wicked ones in the country refusing to die.
Abaribe said, “A few days ago we were here doing this same thing, a valedictory for one of our colleagues.
“The question we always ask, Mr President is, why are we losing the good ones. All the wicked people are in this country they don’t die.
“It is the good ones that go. And so we commiserate with the wife, children and the people that he represents and of course the diplomatic community from where he came and Nigerians in general.
“Those of us from the south east, the Igbos, we say “death doesn’t know how to make choices on those that it wants to take otherwise it wouldn’t take a nice, humble, very unassuming person like Longjan.
“The Holy Book says there is time for everyone. I believe this is his time but I want to tell the family too, we Igbos also say death does not take away your name if you have done well, and so Longjan, nobody will take away, this death will not take away his name.”
On his part, Senate Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, APC, Niger North said that “when good people leave, you begin to wonder but of course you take solace in the fact that good people leave good name. He was calm and calculated.”
In his contribution, Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP, Taraba South who noted that the deceased was a complete gentleman and a man of few words, said, “Men of few words are not many in our society of today. He who speaks few words, is somebody we hold in high esteem. He was an encyclopedia of wisdom.”
Also, Senator Istifanus Gyang, PDP-Plateau North who said that the deceased lived to see good, to do good and to advance the course of humanity, stressed that Longjan had existed “from our clime, a refined elder statesman, a man of peace who cultivated the culture of patience, reselience and honesty.
“He was who would forego his personal interest for the good of others. Vanities of life where not an attraction nor his pursuit. He was not one given to the futility of superfluity. But a man of decency and calmness.”
In his contribution, Senator Hezekiah Dimka, Plateau Central said that the deceased was his mentor and was an epitome of humility, dedication and loyalty.
In his contribution, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti Central who described the National Assembly as a leveller irrespective of what position one held in the past like a former governor, also described death as treating everyone equal.
Senator Bamidele said, “This is yet another reminder of the inevitability of the exit of everyone, the Bible is clear that there is time for everything there is time for everybody and also to emphasize that is also a reminder for everyone of us to put in our best in the service of fatherland and humanity because of a time like this.
“It is a reminder for everyone of us to be at our best in our relationship with ourselves. I have no doubt that a lot of people are getting to find our more about our late colleague from his profile. How I wish while we are serving our people, we are able to develop on our personal relationship as colleagues. When I sit down in this chamber and look at the array of former Governors to my right and my left, starting from Senator Abdullahi Adamu to Senator Wamako, Shettima, Almakura, Okorocha, Shekarau, Ibikunle Amosun.
“One thing that strikes me and that is the seriousness of it, is the sense of humility that they bring to bare on the floor in overriding National interest. Having been Governor for eight years and the entire State waiting for them and now they are here no body Carrie’s their files, nobody runs their errands and every morning when you come in they are on the aisles to come and greet you. What are we saying, death is a leveler, just as the National Assembly is a leveled.
“The National Assembly can also be a leveler. If at the end of the day it will not matter what position we held. The only thing that will matter is what our families would say about us. It is not for us to say wonderful things about the departed. If everybody saying good about the departed if you want to be sure if the wife is not sure definitely he is in hell but if the wife can tell you that he lived a good life then you are sure.”
Other senators who condoled the family included Bala Na’Allah, Tanko Al-makura, Gabriel Suswam, among others.
In his tribute, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said that with the dignitaries who graced the valedictory session, it showed that the people of Plateau were united irrespective of their differences.
According to Lawan, it was a lesson for the rest of the country that whatever their political or religious differences, citizens must find a common ground to live in peace.
“We pray the Almighty God to repose the soul of our late colleague in perfect peace.”
Lawan described the late Longjan as a very accommodating and tolerable person whose actions in humility did not place him in any disadvantaged position as far as the human characterization was concerned.
Some of those present during at the session were the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Idris Wase, former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, the Deputy Speaker Plateau House of Assembly, all the 24 members of the Assembly and wife of former Senator Jonah Jang, among others.