By Dennis Agbo
SENATOR Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo has described the late former Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Mohammed Goni, as a progressive patriot who refused to be trapped by tribalism or religiosity.
Nwobodo expressed sadness that most patriotic Nigerians have passed on and that the Nigeria they knew is getting more divided along tribal and religious lines by the day.
Nwobodo who was Goni’s contemporary as Governor in the second republic, in an emotional tribute recalled with nostalgia that in their era, the Governors were not divided by either region or political party affiliation.
The former Governor of old Anambra state stated that the late Goni, who passed on recently, was a personal friend, colleague and patriot, noting that in their era people had more admiration and respect for Governors.
His tribute reads in part: “I remember with nostalgia our days as progressive Governors; in our progressive family were Mohammed Goni and Abubakar Barde from GNPP; Abubakar Rimi and Balarabe Musa from PRP; Lateef Jakande, Bisi Onabanjo, Bola Igwe, Adekunle Ajasin and Ambrose Ali from UPN and Sam Mbakwe, Solomon Lar and Myself from NPP.
“It did not matter to us which party we primarily belonged to or what part of Nigeria and tribe we came from. We were united by our common goal of making a difference in the lives of the electorates whom we took an oath to serve, we loved and cared for the people, did our bests to fulfil our obligations to them and the people, in turn, had great admiration and respect for us. The progressives enjoyed the overwhelming support of the people.
“Those were the good old days of one Nigeria. I was at home in the West with my colleague governors from Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo state, and they too felt the same way in the East. When I am in Kano, I felt I was in my home staying with my friend and twin brother, Abubakar Rimi, a Muslim Fulani, and he felt the same way in my home in the east.
“I am more saddened that most of these patriotic Nigerians have passed on and the Nigeria we knew is getting more divided along tribal and religious lines by the day. We are fast losing that unity, oneness and love we knew and enjoyed in our time.
“On behalf of the surviving progressive governors, I send our deepest condolences to the Governor and the people of Borno state, the family of Mohammed Goni, his friends and numerous supporters. Mohammed Goni, may your gentle soul rest in perfect peace!”