Ali Wakili, a Nigerian senator from Bauchi State, has been buried, hours after his death was announced.
Mr. Wakili’s death reportedly occurred around 9:00 a.m. at his residence in Abuja. He was 58.
The late senator was buried a Gudu District Cemetery in Abuja around 2:00 p.m. after Islamic rites were performed on his remains at the National Mosque.
Details of his illness have not been disclosed, but one of his aides told PREMIUM TIMES heart attack was suspected.
He was not physically ill prior to his death. He was said to be preparing to leave for a wedding in Yola when he suddenly slumped and was pronounced dead on the spot.
His two wives and sons and daughters survived him.
A retired customs comptroller, Mr. Wakili was first elected to the Senate for the Bauchi South Senatorial District on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
He joined the Nigerian Customs Service after graduating from Bayero University, Kano.
Tributes are already pouring in from some of his colleagues.
President Muhammadu Buhari described his death as “an incalculable loss to Nigeria’s democracy whose dedication to duty was remarkable and worthy of emulation.”
“The passion for duty was one of the finest qualities of late Senator Wakil,” the president said.
“He was a principled, focused and resourceful parliamentarian who identified with the ordinary people,” said former Senate President David Mark in a statement. “He fought for the welfare of citizens without compromise.”
“He practiced inclusive politics that provided the greatest benefit to the largest number of his constituents,” Mr. Mark added according to the statement signed by his media adviser, Paul Mumeh. “He always craved for fairness, justice and national unity. ”
Mr. Wakili, as the chairman of Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation, sponsored several initiatives targeted at addressing acute poverty across the country.
He also worked closely with Borno senator, Ali Ndume, to pass a bill establishing the North East Development Commission.
Although he did not completely reject restructuring of Nigeria as one of the key solutions to the country’s myriads social and economic crises, he believed that prop restructuring advocates are not lucid enough about their agitation, a position echoed by top northern elements in the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Amongst those present at the mosque programme were Senate President Bukola Saraki, Dino Melaye, Godswill Akpabio and Rotimi Amaechi, the transport minister.