…Jonathan, Mark, Tambuwal, others bid ex-Kaduna gov farewell
From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna with AGENCY REPORTS
The country’s seat of power, Aso Rock metaphorically moved to Fadan Kagoma yesterday as the remains of the late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa was committed to mother earth at about 4 06 pm in a marble tiled grave within the premises of his residence in Kagoma.
Top federal and state government functionaries who witnessed the burial included President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President, David Mark, Speaker House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bamanga Tukur; former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Governors Idris Wada, Babangida Aliyu, Olusegun Mimiko, ministers and nine bishops, led by Cardinal John Onaiyekan, among others. But the Vice President, Namadi Sambo was absent at the burial.
His media aide, Umar Sani said: “The vice president attended the wake keep, and there is no need for him to attend the burial when the president will be attending.” Also, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and his wife, Judith, Gabriel Suswam of Benue State and Deputy Governors James Ngilari of Adamawa, Peter Kishira of Kwara, Abubakar Aliyu of Yobe, Umar Mustapha of Borno and Damishi Lucas of Nasarawa states were in attendance.
The former national chairmen of PDP, Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Audu Ogbe, Alhaji Amadu Ali and National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki as well as Prof. Jerry Gana, were also in attendance. Paying tributes at the burial service held at St Paul Catholic Church, President Jonathan eulogised Yakowa and describe him as a bridge builder, who loved his people irrespective of their religion and tribe.
“Yakowa was a nationalist. He played his roles very well as a civil servant of the old not as a civil service of today when a director has more houses than businessmen. No ethnic or religious divide in his blood.” The president pledged the continued support of the government to the immediate family of the deceased, just as he also appealed to leaders to guard their utterances in public and in private against things that could divide and destroy the nation. Jonathan also urged the senior citizens to lay emphasis on those things that would unite the nation instead of the issues that could divide the country.
“Utterances and words of elders are just like winds and waves that move, gather momentum and cause destructive effects of which the end results of such destruction cannot be predicted. “Responses of our young men and women are reflections of what the elders talk in public and even in private,’’ he said.
Earlier in a message, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, said no one could question God decisions; therefore people should not feel indifferent over the death of Yakowa. He debunked the purported claim that a section of religious divide in the state was rejoicing over the death of Yakowa, noting that former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, a devout Muslim, cancelled his 70th birthday in honour of Yakowa. Kukah said Yakowa also broke the jinx by becoming the first Christian executive governor of Kaduna, stressing that the feat had seemed unattainable in the state because of certain interests who were playing politics of exclusion based on religion. Kukah said the achievements of Yakowa as governor, particularly in development and in building bridges of unity, were testimonies to the fact that governance was not an exclusive right of a group.
He also called on Yakowa’s successor, Governor Ramalan Yero, to ignore the parochial opinion of some people who were still advocating politics of exclusion in the state. “Do not be tempted by what the wicked people claimed: that the Muslims have taken back what belongs to them.
The politics of exclusion should be reversed for a creation of a just and even society. This is what South Africa and America had realised and done. “We must seek men and women of integrity for position of authority as opposed to religious sentimentality.
We must rise to build a united Nigerian,” Kukah said. Cardinal John Onaiyekan, assisted by other clerics conducted the Requiem and the Eucharist Mass. Yakowa and former security adviser, Owoye Azazi, as well as their aides and crew were killed in a Navy helicopter crash while returning from the burial of the father of Dr. Oronto Douglas, special adviser to the president on research, documentation and strategy last Saturday in Bayelsa State.
The aides were Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal as well as the pilots, Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi O. Sowole Born on December 1, 1948, Yakowa was appointed deputy governor of Kaduna State in July 2005, and returned as deputy governor in the April 2007 elections. He was sworn in as governor on May 20, 2010, replacing former governor Namadi Sambo, who was sworn in as vice president the day before. Yakowa successfully ran for election as the state governor in the April 26, 2011 polls.