By Aaron Ossai
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has led a delegation of Hon. Members on a condolence visit to Kano over the demise of the late Danmasanin Kano, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, who died on Sunday.
The Speaker also visited Kano State governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, where he offered condolences to the people and government of the state.
At the palace of the Emir of Kano, the speaker paid a glowing tribute to the late elder statesman, describing him as a father and true nationalist who inspired many, not only by his stunning oratory, but also in his conduct.
“I am here, your Royal Highness, on behalf of Members of the House of Representatives, to pay our condolences on the death of our father, a great leader, the Dan Masanin Kano, Alhaji Maitama Sule. He was a man that our people looked up to, in Kano, in Northern Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole. He was more than a leader, because he inspired so many people, including me. Anybody who heard him speak must attest to this, not just because of his diction or wide knowledge on issues, but that he was someone who spoke from his heart and not from his head,” he said.
The speaker, while recalling his personal relationship with the late Danmasani, described him as a leader who preached unity, justice and fairness all his life.
“I remember personally encountering him as the leader of the Arewa Leaders Forum. I met with him on several occasions and what always struck me was the fact that he was always nationalistic in his approach and presentations and in his comments. This was a man who believed that leadership cannot exist without justice and fairness. We spoke about so many issues, and whether we were making progress or not, he was committed. I remember some of the things he told me, but this avenue is not suitable to recount some of them,” Dogara added.
He said the late elder statesman treated him as a son, recounting that “he took me personally as a son and told me a story about the late Sir Tafawa Balewa; I’m from Tafawa Balewa myself. He told me how the late Tafawa Balewa took him from his interest in Parliament and made him a Minister. He ended up being one of the closest Ministers to him. He said now that he found me from the same place; it would now mean that he would take over the role of mentoring me, so that shows you the spirit that he had. And he said that as Tafawa Balewa was a father to him, he had accepted to be my own father. And to be candid, on so many occasions, he looked for me when I wasn’t even looking for him, to advise me on issues affecting the running of the House and the nation as it were. He saw that I was much younger in age and blessed me with his wisdom and with his counsel so for me, I’ve lost a father, and that is the truth because he had accepted to mentor me as a father.”
Speaking further, Dogara said the nation has lost a great leader who worked for the oneness and unity of the country in diversity.
“As for the nation, we have lost a great leader who spoke to the divides and fault lines we have in this nation, whether they are tribal, religious or all those issues that people keep manipulating in order to divide this country and to truncate the destiny of this nation that has such humongous promise”, he said.
The Speaker assured that the good legacies of the late diplomat will continue to be replicated as a way of keeping his memories alive.
“There’s really nothing we can do, because we can’t bring him back, he’s gone to be with God, but one thing we can do in order to ensure that his memory lives on is for us to determine that those good qualities, those things that he represented while he was alive, that we’ll continue to replicate them, that’s the best way to keep his memory alive. It’s unfortunate that it will be very difficult for us to find someone, especially in this part of the nation, who can fill his shoes but by the grace of God, we’ll raise some from among us who will take his place. So on this note, I want to extend our sincere condolences to the Government of Kano State, this Emirate Council, the leadership and to the people of Kano State and to all of us in the Northern region and indeed Nigeria as a whole who looked up to him for leadership, for guidance and for counsel.”
On his part, Governor Ganduje expressed gratitude to the Speaker for the condolence visit and corroborated his narration of the close relationship that existed between Nigeria’s first Prime Minister Alhaji Sir, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Maitama Sule in the first republic, adding that presently the wife of the Prime Minister is with the late Maitama Sule’s wife in Kano.
The Speaker also visited the residence of the Late Maitama Yusuf where he was received by the business mogul, Alhaji Aminu Dantata and Khalifa Isiaka Rabiu, as well as members of the deceased’s family.