Mr. Yakowa died in a helicopter crash in Bayelsa on December 15.
The remains of former Governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa, was buried at his country home at Fadan Kagoma on Thursday.
In a tribute at the burial service held at St Paul Catholic Church, President Jonathan eulogised Mr. Yakowa describing him as a “bridge builder” who loved his people irrespective of their religion and tribe.
He described December 15 as a “dark Saturday”.
“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 Dangote,” the president said. “No ethnic or religious divide in his blood.”
The president pledged the continued support of the government to the immediate family of the deceased.
He also appealed to leaders to guard their utterance in public and in private against those things that could divide and destroy the nation. He urged senior citizens to emphasise those things that unite the nation instead of the issues that can 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, a Catholic priest, Mathew Kukah, said no one could teach God knowledge or question his decisions; therefore people should not feel despondent over the death of Mr. Yakowa.
He said the deceased died at his appointed time by God and urged the people to ignore those who are wielding suspicious story about his death.
He debunked the purported claim that a section of religious divide in the State was rejoicing over the death of Mr. Yakowa.
He noted that former head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, a devout Muslim, cancelled his 70th birthday in honour of Mr. Yakowa.
He said the deceased made his mark as the first child from the Christian dominated southern part of Kaduna to attain the top position at various levels of government.
Rev. Kukah said Mr. Yakowa also broke the jinx by becoming the first Christian Executive Governor of Kaduna.
He said the feat had seemed unattainable in the state because of certain interests who were playing politics of exclusion based on religion.
The reverend said the achievements of Mr. 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.
Mr. Kukah urged the youths from Southern Kaduna to emulate the good traits of Mr. Yakowa and be confident in themselves that they could achieve lofty positions in the state and beyond.
He urged them not to surrender to doubts and feelings of inferiority.
He also called on Mr. Yakowa’s successor, 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 belong to them. The politics of exclusion should be reversed for a creation of a just and even society.
“We must seek men and women of integrity for position of authority as oppose to religious sentimentality. We must rise up to build a united Nigerian,” he said.
A Cardinal, John Onaiyekan, assisted by other Clergy, conducted the Requiem and the Eucharist Mass.
Among the dignitaries at the burial were former Head of State, Abdusalami Abubakar; the Senate President, David Mark; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.
The Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and his wife, Judith; Governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Gabriel Suswam of Benue and Oluegun Mimiko of Ondo were also in attendance.
Also in attendance were Deputy Governors James Ngilari of Adamawa, Peter Kishira of Kwara, Abubakar Aliyu of Yobe, Umar Mustapha of Borno and Damishi Lucas of Nasarawa.
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur; his predecessors, Solomon Lar, Audu Ogbe, and Amadu Ali; as well as former minister, Jerry Gana, were also in attendance.
Also in attendance were ministers; the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; and some aides of the President.
Mr. Yakowa, Mr. Azazi, their aides and crew, were killed in the crash while returning from the burial of the father of Oronto Douglas, the Special Adviser to the President on Research, Documentation and Strategy.
The deceased are aides, Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal; as well as the pilots, Muritala Mohammed Daba and Adeyemi Sowole.
Born on December 1, 1948, the late Governor 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 had been sworn in as Vice President the day before.
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