Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday expressed “profound sorrow” about the news of the death of elder statesman, Maitama Sule.
Mr. Sule, a two-time minister and traditional title holder in Kano, died in Cairo, Egypt on Monday morning. He was 88.
His remains will be flown back to Nigeria on Tuesday, family sources told PREMIUM TIMES earlier.
While describing him as a national asset, Mr. Osinbajo said Nigerians home and away will miss the immense contribution of Mr. Sule for the forseeable future.
“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,” Mr. Osinbajo said in a statement signed by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.
The acting president urged Mr. 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,” the statement said.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, described Mr. Sule as “a colossus”.
“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,” the speaker said in a statement signed by his media aide, Turaki Hassan.
“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,” Mr. Dogara said.
Born in 1929 in the old city of Kano, Mr. Sule was famous for his oration and flamboyance.
In the 1979 transition to civil rule, Mr. Sule vied for the presidential ticket of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, losing to his opponent, Shehu Shagari, in a controversial re-run.
Mr. Sule was appointed ambassador by then President Shagari and posted to the United Nations.
While at the UN, he chaired the United Nations Standing Committee Against Apartheid then ravaging South Africa.