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FEC adjourns session to January 9, 2013, holds Special session for Yakowa, Azazi, others

By The Citizen
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The last Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the year was shelved in honour of late Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kadua State, former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoyi Azazi, their aides, Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal and the pilots, Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba  and Lt. Adeyemi  O. Sowole, that were involved in  the ill-fated military helicopter crash.

The one hour, 30 minutes solemn ceremony presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, saw condolences messages from ministers from the Kaduna and Beyelsa states, South-south, North-east, North-central, South-east and South-west.

Part of the ceremony included a minute silence in the memory of the victims and the signing of two condolence registers for Governor Yakowa  and Gen. Azazi, by all cabinet members present.

President Jonathan in his remark, described December 15th as a black Saturday in the history of the nation as all the victims served their country selflessly.

He described Yakowa as a different breed of politician who never exploited ethnic nor religious sentiments for selfish ends and who believed in the unity of the country.

He said Azazi was a fine and selfless officer who served his country meritoriously.

“The victims are Nigerians that have served this country. For Governor Yakowa, I knew him when he became the deputy governor of Kaduna state. I had some interactions with him and since we have been interacting. Then I knew him more when the then governor of Kaduna state was moved to Abuja to assist me as Vice President and Yakowa became the governor of the state.

“He was a different class of politician. Most of us who are politicians exploit religious sentiments to divide Nigerians for our own selfish gains. We exploit north south divide to divide Nigerians for our selfish gains. But Yakowa was very different. He was gentleman who believed in the unity of this country.

“Saturday, 15th of December, 2012 was a sad day in the history of Nigeria. We pray that God will give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

“For General Azazi though we are both from Bayelsa State and Ijaw ethnic nationality, I never met him until 2004 when the then Bridgier Azazi was made the Director of Military Intelligence (DMI). I was then the deputy governor of Bayelsa, somebody came to me that one of our own has been made the DMI and that was a prestigious posting in the Army. And I said I was going to receive him and have a little party for him on one evening in Abuja, in one of their officer’s mess.

“From that time we started interacting then he was promoted to Major General and made GOC One Division Kaduna and then he was also made the Chief of Army Staff, that was another level of our interaction in 2006, then I was the governor of Bayelsa State.

“I also hosted him as chief of army staff alongside the current minister of petroleum resources, then as the first female executive director of Shell. It was also my first time of meeting her.

“He was made chief of defense staff in 2007 when I was vice president to the late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. I also made him the National Security Adviser when I became the President.

“I saw him as somebody who meant well for this country. The gentlemen have worked very well for this country, even those who make negative comments about politician you really can’t hear any negative comment about these men.

“Sometimes people wonder why good people die, it is quite touching. Both of them touched our lives, they worked for this country. We pay condolences to the families, that of their aides, the pilot and co-pilot.

“The Honourable Minister of Niger Delta, just told us that Azazi has a 90 year old mother, can you imagine how a 90 year old mother will mourn a son who did very well and rose to become a four-star general in the Nigerian Army.

“We also expressed our condolences to the Vice President whom Yakowa served as deputy governor. We also send our condolence to the the governor of Kaduna State, Murktar Ramalan Yero, who also served Yakowa as deputy governor. We also send our condolence to the government and people of both Kaduna and Beyelsa states”.

Vice President Namadi Sambo who said he received the news with great shock and deep pain,  described the death of Yakowa who he said he knew and interacted with for over 25 years, as a peaceful and selfless gentleman.

He said their paths crossed when he was made a Commissioner for agric in Kaduna State in 1986 and he personally requested for Yakowawho was appointed Permanent Secretary to be posted to his ministry because of his thoroughness in doing his work.

Sambo recounted how he went ahead and selected him as his running mate despite having contested the PDP gubernatorial election against each.

He described Yakowo as a bridge build whose fooprint will never be forgotten in the minds of the people of Kaduna state.

“He is a bridge builder and I can say he had successfully built that bridge because today all citizens of Kaduna are mourning him. His foot print cannot never be forgotten in Kaduna. He is a great man, he is a great loss not only to Kaduna but Nigeria. We will never forget him”.

He noted that Azazi was a fine gentlman. He said he knew him when he was the general commander commanding one Division Kaduna.
He added, “It is a journey that we must all take and pray for eternal rest for them”.

The Minister of Environment, Hadiza Malafia said she met Yakowa about 19 years ago as her boss in the state civil service and described him as a unique leader. She saidit was very traumatising to know that the two persons are dead.

“He was humble, and created a good communication between us enough to prevent any evil penetration by civil servants that will cause friction between us. We were family, he use to take time out to visit my parents and I use to do the same. Incidentally, his wife, the wife of th vice president and my mother all share the same name so I use to call them my mother and they call me their daughters.

“I pray lessons like this will serve that no condition is permanent and that in humility we find strength.”I hope that we will know that one day some other persons will be seating here”.

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diziani Alison-Madueke, described Azazi as an Ijaw tree that supports the people has fallen.

“It has been very traumatising for the people of Bayelsa. Described Yakowa as a kind hearted person. It is with a heavy heart that we console the people of Nigeria to take heart at this trying times.

“He was a friend and brother. It has been a very trying period for Bayelsa as a state, Nigeria and his family.

“A big tree has fallen in Ijaw land and the clay pot that support the state has fallen.

“For Governor Yakowa whom I met as a Minister, he wanted nothing more than to heal the division in his state. It is clear that the only sure thing in life is death. We don’t know the time and manner it will come but it will come”.

Abba Moro, Ministry of Interior Affairs who spoke for the North Central said, he has had course to interact with the two gentlemen in the cause of his work.

“Yakowa who I met three times in the cause of my work, was very supportive and selfless.

“Azazi played a critical role in the fight against sectarian crisis and terrorism. He fought for peace and stabilities. It is very ironic that the two rising stars from the minorities in Nigeria united in death”.

The Coordinating Minister of the Economy (CME), and Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said both men were said to be very committed to peaceful coexistence. The CME recalled how late Azazi assisted in the recovery of her Mother who was recently kidnapped by some hoodlums.

The Ministers recalled how Yakowa rose strongly to ensure that peace continue to reign in Kaduna State.

Minister of State, Defence, Olusola Bada who spoke for South West said, “Yakowa was my colleague as deputy governor. He entrusted his nephew into my care during his youth corps service in Osun State. He was my friend and brother.

“Azazi was a very good adviser in the course of my job in the ministry. I pray God to stop untimely death in this country.

National Planning Minister, Shamsudeen Usman, spoke for North West described both men as  ”men of peace and humility”.

“The tragedy is made weightier for us because it could have been any one of us. I also pray for their aids that lost their lives and pray God to help them through this trying period..

Minister of Niger Delta Development, Godsday Orubebe, who spoke for South South said, “Azazi was a brother and a friend. He has 90 year old mother. It was a sad evening and for two good nights I could not organise myself.

“He was friend to all but decisive officer on issues. He will be remembered for the roles he played in persuading the former militants to work with government.

“Yakowa I met in 2010 and we worked closely during the elections. He will be remembered for the role he played for a transparent election that was held in 2011.

“We are comforted that God is never taken unawares and pray God to give their families the fortitude to bear the loss”.

Minister of State for Health, Mohammed Pate, said he reflected on the death of the two men and noted that what distinguished them was that they were both humble even unto death.

“I have fond memories of all my interaction with the governor Yakowa. He is a uniter, believer in the peace and unity of this country.

“Azazi, we became closer after the then UN building bombing. There was a trumatised victim and he brought us myself and the now Minister of Sports in to listen and help out”.

All who spoke  prayed that God grants their souls eternal rest”.