Acting president, Dogara mourn Maitama Sule

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*Sule (R), during a meeting with the acting president, Prof. Osinbajo

The acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has pressed profound sorrow over the death of an elder statesman, Alhaji Yusuf Maitam Sule.

While describing the late Sule as a national asset, Osinbajo said Nigerians home and away would miss his (Sule’s) immense contributions for the foreseeable future.

The statement reads: “On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, the government and the entire people of Nigeria, the Acting President conveys heartfelt condolences on this loss of a great national asset.”

Osinbajo’s statement signed by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, urged Sule’s “family, friends and associates, to be consoled by the fact that his selfless commitment to the stability of Nigeria will not be forgotten and would always be honoured.

“Alhaji Sule never relented applying his wealth of experience to advance the cause of unity, peace and progress of Nigeria, and his fatherly counsel to those in authority had always been bold, sincere and untainted.”

In his condolence message, the speaker of the House of Representatives described Sule as a “colossus.”

In a statement signed by his media aide, Turaki Hassan, Dogara said: “Undoubtedly, he was an icon of peace, transparency, a born orator, patriot and a distinguish statesman who gave his all for the unity and prosperity of Nigeria as one indivisible nation.

“His death is a monumental and huge loss to Nigeria and indeed the African continent in view of his contributions to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

“Unfortunately, Maitama Sule died at a time when his elderly wisdom, experience, and deep sense of patriotism is much needed in our country given the fact that we are passing through a challenging phase in our history as a nation.

“Our special and heartfelt condolences go to his immediate family, the people and government of Kano State even as we join all Nigerians and people of goodwill in mourning this monumental loss,” Dogara said.

A two-time minister and former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Sule died in a hospital in Cairo, Egypt in the early hours of today, July 3.

According to officials of the Kano State Government, the Dan Masanin Kano as his popularly known died at the age of 88.

It was gathered that the elder statesmen died in the early hours of Monday while on admission at a hospital in Cairo, Egypt.

He was flown to the Egyptian hospital on Saturday after doctors at Kano’s Nasarawa Hospital diagnosed him of pneumonia and chest infection.

Meanwhile, his remains would be flown to the country on Tuesday and the funeral prayers would take place in Kano by 4 p.m.

Born on October 1, 1929, Sule was a consummate and an astute politician, acclaimed orator and diplomat.

In 1976, he became the federal commissioner of public complaints, a position that made him the nation’s pioneer ombudsman.

In early 1979, he was a presidential candidate of the National Party of Nigeria but lost to Shehu Shagari.

He was 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.

After the re-election of President Shagari in 1983, Maitama Sule was made the minister for national guidance, a portfolio designed to assist the president in tackling corruption.

A strong advocate of Nigeria’s unity, he was known to always speak his mind on prevalent national issues and was one of the prominent voices of the northern region.

He lamented that allocating oil wells to private individuals marked the beginning of corruption in government as it had also led the nation to “a life of embezzlement and squandering of state resources.”

The late elder statesman was one of the many Nigerians who believed in Nigeria’s unity and was of the opinion that the quest for the sovereign state of Biafra will never come to fruition.

He had said in March 2016, that Biafran agitators will never succeed “by the grace of God.”

“These (Biafran youth) are people who did not know what happened during the civil war. Let them listen to their elders. Those agitating for it are young people who don’t know what happened in those days; who don’t know the history. And in any event, those, for example, in the North are not afraid, but they don’t want it. I don’t want this country to disintegrate and I don’t pray for the disintegration of this country, not because we (the North) cannot stand on our own.

“I was the minister of mines and power. At Independence, I was the first min­ister of oil and I know what we have in the country; I know what we have in the north. The north has got enough. We have got diamonds, gold, uranium and even oil and minerals. We have got agricultural lands. We have got the land and we can be on our own, but I don’t want us to be alone. I want us to share these with our brothers,” he was quoted to have said.

As an orator, the late statesman was also a polemicist. He was quoted to have said: “Everyone has a gift from God. The Northerners are endowed by God with leadership qualities. The Yoruba man knows how to earn a living and has diplomatic qualities. The Igbo man is gifted in trade, commerce, and technological innovation. God so created us equally with purpose and different gifts.”

The statement has been used by some to stir up fears of northern political domination in the country.

Additional report from Independent, The Cable,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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