Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja and AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi as well as the Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum and Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong were among dignitaries at the third-day fida’u of the late Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, in Zaria.
The prayer, which held at the emir’s palace, was also attended by the host Governor Nasir El-Rufai, his Niger and Jigawa states’ counterparts Abubakar Bello and Badaru Abubakar.
In a condolence message, Obasanjo described the late emir as his friend, confident and adviser.
He said: “I got from him all the help I needed in running the affairs of this country as best as I can remember.
“I remember a particular problem I had in Plateau State. I had nobody else to help me in mediation and reconciliation, sorting out the aged-long problem; then, I called him.
“The emir was a reconciliator and a man of peace; a man who showed no discrimination, either ethnically, religiously or socially.
“Whether we like it or not, short or long, sooner or later, we have to depart. My prayer is that the life of peace he has lived and the peace that descended on Zazzau Emirate during his reign may continue to pervade the Emirate, Kaduna State and all of Nigeria.”
Fayemi said he and fellow governors were in Zaria as a delegation of the NGF to pay their last respects to the late emir and condole with the Zazzau Emirate and Kaduna State.
Lalong, whom is the Chairman of Northern States’ Governors’ Forum, said he was representing the region’s governors at the prayers.
He described the late emir as a father to all in Nigeria and other African countries.
“His death was a great loss to all. The monarch died at a time the forum was talking to him on how to get sustainable peace in the North.
“We will miss him, but he has left a legacy of peaceful cohabitation and unity in the region. This is the time to use the legacy to ensure that there is peace and unity in this region and Nigeria,” he said.
El-Rufai said his administration had lost a confident and adviser who always guided the government on many issues.
Also, President Buhari has described the death of two Borno Emirs as a “rare double tragedy” and a painful loss to Nigerians.
In a condolence letter he sent to Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum and the people of Borno State, the President lauded the roles played by the late Shehu of Bama, Alhaji Umar El-Kanemi, and the Emir of Biu, Alhaji Mustapha Aliyu, in maintaining peace and stability in their emirates, especially in the wake of the violence caused by Boko Haram insurgents.
Presenting the letters on behalf of President Buhari, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who led a Federal Government delegation, hailed Zulum for his foresight, commitment, devotion and courage to restore normalcy in his state.
“We would like to pray to God to change the situation from the challenges the state is currently facing.
“What you are doing is giving hope to Nigerians, because we have not seen a governor picking so much interest, risking his own life and then going after the danger that faces his people. We congratulate you for what you are doing,” he said.
Zulum expressed appreciation to President Buhari for sending a delegation to condole with the government and people of the state.
The governor noted that the President could not send a delegation when the Shehu of Bama died due to the inter-state lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that the President personally called him and the Shehu of Borno to commiserate with them on the death of the Shehu of Bama.
The Shehu Bama died on April 27, at 60, while the Emir of Biu died on September 15, at 79, leaving behind four wives, over 70 children and 200 grand-children.
Other members of the delegation included the Ministers of State of Agriculture, Baba Shehuri, his Works and Housing counterpart, Abubakar Aliyu, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.
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