Taraba’s REC is dead, INEC Officials off to Maidugiri for burial

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dispatched a delegation of National and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to Maidugiri to attend the funeral of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Taraba state, late Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf. 
Announcing the demise of Abba Yusuf on Sunday in a statement, Secretary to INEC, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, said the late REC died on Saturday night at the University of Maidugiri Teaching Hospital, Borno state where he was on admission for sometime. 

The statement said the late REC was scheduled to be buried at 4pm Sunday in Maidugiri.

Mrs Oriaran-Anthony described late Baba Abba Yusuf as “one of the most experienced RECs in the commission having been appointed in 2010.”
She noted that the late REC made invaluable contributions to the Commission having earlier served in Adamawa and Benue states in the same position. 

The INEC secretary prayed God to grant the late Abba Yusuf eternal rest as well as give the family of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss.


NPFL mourns Chief Obaseki

The League Management Company (LMC) has expressed shock over the death of former Chairman of defunct Nigeria Football League, Chief Oyuki Obaseki, describing his death as sad and a loss for Nigerian football.

A statement signed by LMC Chairman, Malam Shehu Dikko, said, “the League Management Company (LMC) has received with sadness the demise of Chief Jackson Oyuki Obaseki, a former Chairman of the defunct Nigeria Football League”.

Dikko described the death of Chief Obaseki as another loss for football in the country and noted that “he would be missed by many in league clubs management.
“The report of the passing on of Chief Obaseki has saddened us in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) especially because he was someone who played a key role in the process that led to the evolvement and sustenance of independent administration for Professional League football in our country.”

Dikko recalled his time working with late Obaseki during the reform of the league and it’s sponsorship structure between 2005-2006 which led to the huge title rights sale.
The LMC Chairman extended his condolence and that of the 20 NPFL clubs to the Obaseki family, noting that, “Chief was a father figure not just to his immediate biological family but to all of us in football”.

Obaseki reportedly died on Sunday, August 18 at the age of 75. A Benin High Chief before his death, his last birthday was celebrated in July.


Exit of our master-key: A tribute to Tijjani Yusuf

It is a couple of days now since I lost a bosom friend of immeasurable value and affection. My relationship with the late Malam Tijjani Yusuf transcended friendship. It metamorphosed from mere friendship into brotherhood. Oga Tijjani as I used to call him (he also used to call me Oga PS) was a confidant and a true brother that fits the common adage of fraternity where you can easily introduce and refer to such an individual in whom you are pleased as “my brother of different parenthood.”

I first met Oga Tijjani some three decades ago. I had reported to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Area I Garki, as the Personal Assistant/Legal Counsel to the late Alhaji Abubakar Habu Hashidu, the then Honourable Minister of Water Resources and later Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development until 1993 when the Transition Council was formed and we vacated office. Oga Tijjani was then the Personal Assistant to the Director-General Dr. Alex Kadiri.

It was easy for me to settle down to work through the instrumentality of Oga Tijjani’s readiness to put me through using his humble nature and humane attitude of being a brother’s keeper at all times. He immediately taught me the rudiments of the job of a Personal Assistant, including the expectations therefrom, the survival techniques and the intrigues therein. I later came to appreciate the essence of his tutelage after surviving on the desk, until my Principal vacated office as the Minister in 1993. As an Aide/Civil Servant, initially on secondment from the Bauchi state Civil Service, I walked the tightropes of working and operating as a Federal Civil Servant; mediating my relationship with all the top management staff of the Ministry as well as Heads of Parastatal of the Ministry and their operators which resulted in a cordial relationship that outlived our sojourn while it lasted. All thanks to Oga Tijjani’s tutorials and guidance.

I left Oga Tijjani in the Ministry at the end of my Principal’s tenure in January, 1993 back to my State of Bauchi to resume as Senior State Counsel and subsequently transferred to the Presidency in May, 1993 as Assistant Chief Legal Officer/Legal Adviser in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). I was privileged to serve in that exalted office as Legal Adviser to: the late Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed, the late Alhaji Mustapha    Umara, the late Alhaji Aminu Saleh, the late Alhaji Gidado Idris and Chief Ufot Ekaette, all former SGFs and statesmen of repute. May the souls of those who departed among them rest in Aljannat Firdaus. It was fulfilling that I was able to deploy some of the lessons learnt from Oga Tijjani to serve these Principals and worked amicably with colleagues alike. All the while we were holding on together with Oga Tijjani.

My new schedules after May, 1993 (been Legal Adviser to the SGF) kept me close to the Villa. Save for the last two, the earlier three SGFs all had offices in the Villa. The daily shuttle we embarked upon made us quasi Villa staff, and obviously became abreast with the day-to-day happenings in the Villa. Again by sheer coincidence and providence, Oga Tijjani was posted to the office of the First Lady in 1994, so, we got reunited at workplace thus rekindling our personal bond and  unison which had since gone beyond common friendship but family ties. My formal deployment and permanent relocation to the Villa in 2007 as State House Counsel was the icing on the cake for the consolidation of my bond with Oga Tijjani. It then became a brotherhood made in heaven, as we got connected twenty-four hours, seven days a week, and so were our two families.

My schedules as State House Counsel were purely legal though sometimes blended with tasks that are policy in nature and given by Mr President and or the Vice President directly or through the Chief of Staff. I was privileged to offer second legal opinion at all times in close consultation with the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (HAGF), who is the Chief Law Officer of the Federation. There were instances where I had my differences with the HAGF and sometimes Honourable Ministers whose Policy proposals and advice we scrutinised on instructions. Knowing that expressing so might not go down well with them, and I needed to employ tact and respect in conveying my views to them before returning my submission to my principals, I found an interlocutor in Oga Tijjani. Though not “a learned friend,” I would explain my dilemma and apprehension to Oga Tijjani, and he would in his characteristic manner, make good suggestions on approaches that would ultimately help to douse tensions. Very wise man, self–effacing, but full of experiences of life!

We have had our rituals of communal eating since I formally moved into the Villa. Initially, we would congregate in Kabiru Jibir’s office in the mornings for tea immediately after each morning’s briefing with the Chief of Staff (CoS). Kabiru was then a Special Assistant in the office of CoS. Lunch was usually served in my office and we sometimes had Imam Abdulwaheed join us. There was always an early evening snack in the office of the late Lawal Abdulganiyu where we were joined by Malam Lawal Daura (then with PC4) and Mr. Olojede of the office of CoS. At such an informal setting, we learnt so much from each other and you can bet the less talkative among us was Oga Tijjani. Speaking/talking less but once spoken, his contributions were sharp while his ideas deep, tested and enduring. This congenial setting and tradition continued till his last days. Breakfast and lunch sessions continued in my office until 2015 when lunch was moved centrally to the office of Mallam Abba Kyari (CoS), our boss, who made it semi-mandatory for all of us, including his Assistants to eat jointly as a family. The CoS always chaired the eating sessions as the head of the table. Allah Sarki! Today who will sit next to me as you are gone?

My tour of duty as the permanent secretary, State House, achieved the modest successes so far recorded with the much support, boost and encouragement I received from you, my departed brother. Onshore or offshore, my absence was never felt in the discharge of my functions. Without prejudice to the statutory role being played by my Directors and colleagues alike, Oga Tijjani was always there as my “Deputy.” Because of our closeness, it was easier for him to take urgent decisions and actions on my behalf that often required no ratification. He knew me so deeply and appreciated my psyche that he acted in my absence and on my behalf that I could have no cause but concur, since I would have found nothing unsavoury in his action/decision. My boss, the CoS, would always not worry with my absence when it comes to executing an instruction so long as Oga Tijjani is on ground. So also the State Chief of Protocol, SSAP Domestic, SA Housekeeping, Director Maintenance, Commander Guards Brigade and all other Principal officers who relate with me in the course of discharging their functions. Reaching me whenever I shut down and no matter where I am and unreachable become easy if you can reach Oga Tijjani. I make bold to say, that included members of my nuclear family, they too rely on his “fishing” traits to find me. That was how close we were. He had my spouse’s phone number as well as those of my other family members and he had unfettered access and so am I to his immediate family that look up to me as a father figure.

If there was one person that could change my decision outrightly and I could not say no to, that person was Oga Tijjani. There were instances that I would remain stubbornly opposed to a decision in and out of the office, but he will reverse it, sometimes without informing me and I would do nothing but accept as he would always give me good reasons for doing so, especially where or when we were unable to meet for an explanation before execution.

Allahu Akbar! Such is life. Today Oga Tijjani is no more and indeed I have lost a worthy companion that was honest, sincere, trustworthy and undeniably reliable to me and my cause. He stood by me through thick and thin and took so many bullets on my behalf some of which I never and would never ever have known. He counseled me and allowed me to drink from his fountain of wisdom as any elder would do to his younger brother. I learnt perseverance, patience, commitment and hard work from Oga Tijjani and most of all, I learnt peaceful co-existence, fairness and fear of God as a vehicle to meaningful life from you my dear brother of inestimable character.

But the loss of Oga Tijjani is not just a personal one. Villa will really miss his diligence and commitment when it comes to event planning for which he was the Master-Key. Unfortunately, the essence of his retention after retirement, as part of our succession plan, would appear dimmed by his sudden exit. But we take solace in the fact that the foundation he had laid through his personal character and meticulous approach to matters would remain enduring with his subordinate officers and staff alike.

My ardent supporter, admirer and genuine friend, I will miss you very dearly but will be comforted by the fact that you lived a decent life and helped humanity till the end and true to the teachings of your faith. This was evidenced by the mammoth crowd that attended your Janaza. May Allah give us, your admirers, your associates and members of your larger family the fortitude to bear such enormous loss. Till we meet to part no more in Aljannat Firdaus in shaa Allah. Adieu Oga Tijjani.

Your loving brother till eternity,

Jalal A. Arabi, OON, fwc is the permanent secretary, State House, Abuja


Ortom mourns 2nd republic education minister

Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, Thursday said the death of  Chief (Mrs) Elizabeth Ivase, a Second Republic Education Minister, is huge loss to Nigeria.

A statement signed by Ortom’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Terver Akase in Makurdi, reveals that the late Chief Ivase, a holder of Tiv traditional title, Penda’tyo u Tiv, and Officer of the Order of Niger (OON) had  served in the former President Shehu Shagari government as the minister of education in the 1980’s.

Ortom stressed that her death was a huge loss to Benue state and the country, adding that she was a caring mother and a woman of distinction, who had an illustrious career in public service at all levels of governance.

      “Chief Ivase was an epitome of womanhood, a foremost politician, eminent person, experienced administrator and community leader.

      “She was kind-hearted, humble and dedicated her life to the service of God and humanity.

“As a trailblazer, Ivase set records with her outstanding performance while serving in various capacities, including being a two-time commissioner in Benue state and a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement read.

The governor said Ivase before her death mentored the younger generation while championing girl-child education and women’s rights in general.

“The death of Ivase has created a vacuum which will be difficult to fill.”

He urged the bereaved family to take solace in the fact that their daughter had lived a fulfilled life with numerous contributions to the development of her fatherland.

Ortom prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and the entire Orvihi-Ivase family as well as Mbayion community in Gboko local government area the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.


PDP govs condole with Makarfi on father’s death

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors under the aegis of PDP Governors’ Forum Wednesday condoled with former governor of Kaduna state, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, over the death of his father, Alhaji Muhammadu Na’iya Makarfi.

Chairman of the forum and governor of Bayelsa state, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, in a statement said the governors were saddened over the death of the father of PDP former national chairman.

The governors also commiserated with the government of Kaduna state and people of Zazzau Emirate on the passage of the Majidadin Zazzau, described as a devoted Muslim and statesman, who dedicated his life to the service of God, stability and growth of the nation and the good of humanity at large, aside being a strong voice for his community.

The forum prayed the Almighty God to accept the soul of the departed and comfort those he left behind.

Recall that Tuesday, Makarfi’s spokesman, Mukhtar Sirajo, in a statement said, “The death has occurred of Alhaji Muhammad Na’iya Makarfi. The deceased, who also held the traditional title of Majidadin Zazzau, died today (yesterday) in Makarfi town of Kaduna state at the age of 99.

“He is survived by two wives, many children, grand children and great grand children. Among his children is Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, one time governor of Kaduna state and former chairman of the national caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party. He has been buried according to Islamic injunctions.”


PDP condoles with Melaye over mother’s death

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condoled with Senator Dino Melaye (PDP, Kogi West) over the death of his mother, Deaconess Comfort Melaye.

In a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party expressed sadness over her demise “particularly given Deaconess Malaye’s role as a devout Christian and a community leader”, but took solace in the fact that she “lived as a source of inspiration and nurturing for younger generation of leaders”.

The statement read in part: “Though we mourn, we take solace in the fact that Deaconess Melaye lived a fulfilled life and bequeathed to our dear nation, as well as our great party, the PDP, a patriot, quintessential democrat and true leader in Senator Melaye.

“The PDP therefore condoles with the Melaye family, the Apostolic Church and the people of Kogi state and prays God to grant them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”


Buhari mourns Shehu Azare


President Muhammadu Buhari has described the death of a famous Kano businessman, Alhaji Shehu Azare, as a great loss not only to the state, but also to the country at large, saying “his footprints on trade and commerce are indelible.”

In a condolence message to the governments and people and Kano and Bauchi states, the President said the late Azare was one of the oldest entrepreneurs in Northern Nigeria “who achieved fame and fortune through sheer hard work and determination.”

He said the “businessmen of Azare’s generation and time believed in hard work and personal resourcefulness to make it rather than seeking short cuts to prosperity through fraudulent activities.”

“Azare should be a source of inspiration to anyone who believes in hard work and decent business conduct,” he said, adding that “our modern day younger businessmen should imbibe his good virtues.”

The President prayed Allah to repose the soul of the deceased.


Lagos PDP leaders mourn caretaker chair

Some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday described the death of the party’s Caretaker Chairman in Lagos state, Babatunde Solanke, as “shocking.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Solanke died on Saturday at the Lagos state Teaching Hospital after slumping in a hotel in Ikeja.
The deceased had scheduled a meeting with some chieftains of the party in the state on the fateful day.
He has been buried in his hometown, Abeokuta, Ogun state.
NAN reports that the deceased was appointed the caretaker chairman in August by the party’s national leadership following the dissolution of the state executive.
The dissolution followed a leadership tussle between two factions in the state chapter.
Solanke was mandated to conduct congress to elect a new executive within three months.
A former factional chairman of the party in Lagos State, Moshood Salvador, said that he was devastated by Mr. Solanke’s sudden demise.
He said the deceased sent him a text message at 3.00 p.m. on the scheduled meeting.
Salvador described Solanke as “a gentleman” who was committed to the unity and progress of PDP.
“He was a complete gentleman who was trying his best to unite everyone ahead of the congress.
“He is a peacemaker and a friend of all. This is a great loss for the PDP family. It is so sad that we have lost him.
“I pray for the peaceful repose of his soul and the fortitude for the family to bear the loss,” he said.
Another former factional Chairman of Lagos PDP, Segun Adewale, described the death as sad.
He said he had information that Solanke scheduled a meetings with some chieftains of the party.
He prayed for the peaceful repose of his soul.
The Head of Publicity of the caretaker committee, Femi Careena, said Solanke’s death was an unpleasant surprise.
Careena said all activities concerning the congress would be suspended for a week to honour Solanke.
In his reaction, a former Publicity Secretary of the party, Taofik Gani, said Solanke was committed to midwifing a progressive PDP in the state.
“He was a true politician with zeal to reconcile. I pray Lagos would get somebody like him to conclude the caretaker chairmanship,” he said.


Kaduna board condoles with deceased pilgrims’ families

By Usman Ibn Lapai

Kaduna state Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board has sent a five-man committee to condole with the families of four Kaduna state pilgrims that died during this year’s pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
According to a statement issued by the Board’s Public Relations Officer, Yunusa Muhammad Abdullahi, the committee has already visited the families of the deceased pilgrims.
The late pilgrims, whose names were given as Abdulwahab Tukur, Warisu Abdullahi , Ya’u Sulaiman and Dayyibat Isa (Capt.), were from Makarfi, Soba, Birnin Gwari, and Kaduna North local government areas.
While sympathising with the families and people of the local government areas over their demise, the Overseer of the Board, Imam Hussaini Sulaiman Tsoho Ikara, prayed the Almighty Allah to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.
The committee led by the Director of Operations, Lawal Yakubu Ikara, later handed the luggage and monies of the late pilgrims to their families.