Heartfelt condolences poured in from several political bigwigs and organisations for late Maitama Sule on Monday, as they mourned the end of an elder statesman who spent decades at the forefront of Nigerian politics.
Scores of condolences were e-mailed to PREMIUM TIMES throughout Monday, with many dropping within minutes after the news broke that the elder statesman had passed on in Cairo, Egypt at the age of 88.
Senate President Bukola Saraki described Mr. Sule as “a detribalised Nigerian who spoke the truth at all times during his lifetime.”
“He will remain an inspiration to present and forthcoming generations on the lessons of tolerance, unity and peaceful co-existence,” Mr. Saraki said.
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said “Our country has lost a rare breed.”
In a condolence message distributed by his spokesman, Imam Imam, the governor said Mr. Sule was “a leading light from the old generation” that “has been extinguished.”
“He was a complete gentleman whose honesty, commitment and dedication to the unity of Nigeria will forever be cherished,” the governor added.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar described Mr. Sule “an epitome of selfless service to the people”.
Mr. Sule, who served as a minister of works in the First Republic and minister of national guidance in the Second Republic, was “an encyclopaedia of knowledge” who “dedicated” himself “to serve with integrity,” Mr. Abubakar said.
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum also condoled with the family of Mr. Sule, whose remains will be flown back to Nigeria on Tuesday.
The name of Mr. Sule, who also held the title of Dan Masani Kano until his death, “will continue to be identified with everything positive about Nigeria and its people,” the NGF said in a statement signed by Abdulazi Yari, its chairman and governor of Zamfara State.
“Whenever the future generation reads about Dan Masani, they will encounter a man who was cherished and respected by the high and mighty from all parts of the country,” the statement added.
For Gbenga Daniel, a former governor of Ogun State, Mr. Sule was “a notable diplomat, political strategist, proficient administrator and an outstanding statesman whose life was that of continuous service and commitment to the well-being of the people.”
“His demise was a great loss to the nation especially the Northern Region which he represented and defended with an undying passion till the end,” the politician said.
The foremost Northern group, Arewa Consultative Forum, extended its heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Sule and the Kano Emirate Council.
“He was an astute and eloquent administrator per excellence, a great politician, a patriot, an orator, a bridge builder who lived a fulfilled life in the service of Nigeria,” the ACF said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Muhammadu Ibrahim.
The ruling All Progressives Congress said “Nigeria has indeed lost a distinguished politician, progressive voice, public servant and patriot who made the country proud in all public assignments he undertook on behalf of the country – locally and internationally.”
Bolaji Abdullahi, spokesperson of the party who distributed the message, said the party grieved the lost.
Governor Godwin Obaseki said: “On behalf of the government and the people of Edo State, and myself, I wish to convey our deepest sympathies and condolences to the government and people of Kano State and the entire nation on the demise of Alhaji Maitama Sule”.
Mr. Obaseki said the late elder statesman played a crucial role in promoting and facilitating the country’s steady tackling of corruption, growth and development.
“He contributed immensely to the steering of the country to economic prosperity just as he’s a great example to be emulated by the rest of Nigeria and other leaders in the sub-Saharan Africa,” the governor said in a statement.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed his gratitude to the deceased for the critical impacts he had on his life.
“We pray for Allah’s mercy on the departed and guidance for those of us that remain as we seek to do our duty to our people and our country”, Mr. El-Rufai 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.