The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has mourned one of its founding members and former Minister of Iron and Steel in the second republic, Wantaregh Paul Unongo, who died on Tuesday in Jos, Plateau state, following a prolonged illness at the age of 87.
According to a statement on Wednesday, signed by the Convener, Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, Paul Unongo’s death is a huge loss to the North and Nigeria as a result of his activism, patriotism and quest for a better Nigeria.
The statement read: “Wantaregh Paul Unongo, former Convener of Northern Elders Forum, who had also deputized for Amb Yusuf Maitama Sule, Danmasanin Kano, died on Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 in Jos, following a prolonged illness. He was 87.
“Wantaregh Paul Unongo’s life was a study in patriotism and activism. He was a vanguard of the Zikist Movement, and rose through the political ladders of pre independence and post-independence challenges and opportunities with distinction, shaped by a searing intelligence and a character that was rare.
“He served Nigeria in many capacities with great devotion, and was Minister of Iron and Steel and Chairman of NPP in the Second Republic.
“He was a founding member of the Northern Elders Forum whose loyalty and commitment to his and other northern communities has remained a reference point. He was the natural successor to the late Danmasanin Kano and remained an active member of the Forum until his death.
“The Forum conveys its condolences to his family, the Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom, the Tor Tiv, people of Benue State, the entire Northern community and the Nigerian state.
May God reward him for his services to Nigerians and humanity.”