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Just what’s going on? Harvest of deaths at the National Assembly

By Lukmon Akintola on 07/04/2018

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In the past couple of years, Nigeria has witnessed the death of many lawmakers. Both the upper and lower chambers have grieved over the loss of one member or the other.

This seemingly consistent death of the lawmakers, sometimes with just weeks in-between, has elicited mixed reactions from different quarters.

Lawmakers who have passed on include Senator Mustapha Bukar and even Ahmed Zanna, who was re-elected, but died before the inauguration of the 8th assembly. But for his death, he would have represented Borno Central Senatorial District.

One of the recent deaths includes that of Senator Bukar. Until his death, Senator Bukar, aged 63, from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) represented Katsina North Senatorial District. He was also the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market. He died on Wednesday, April 4 and was buried in Daura same day. He was the second Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market to have died in recent times with late Senator Isiaka Adeleke being the first.

Confirming the death of Senator Bukar, his younger brother Alhaji Kanta Bukar, said that the deceased died at the Nizamiye Hospital, Abuja.

Describing the death of his elder brother, Bukar said, “his death is an irreplaceable loss to the family, the state and the nation in general, he was a bridge builder.”

On his part, Mallam Ahmed Abdullahi, the Personal Assistant (PA), to the late senator, described him as a hard working lawmaker, who represented his people diligently. Abdullahi said the district would remember Senator Bukar as one of the few lawmakers who represented the zone with commitment and dedication.

Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki also described him as a “first-time lawmaker, who stood out for the quality of his contributions on the floor, his pragmatism and his work to strengthen the institution of the legislature.”

Prior to his death, Senator Bukar went on a one month UK medical admission trip and only returned in March.

Asides his passing, another death witnessed in the Senate was that of Senator Ali Wakili. At the age of 58, Wakili represented Bauchi South Senatorial District in the Senate.

A member of the APC, the lawmaker reportedly slumped in the morning of Saturday, March 17, at his Gwarimpa, Abuja residence, after which he was taken to a hospital within the estate, but confirmed brought in dead (BID) by doctors.

A day before, he attended the wedding of Fatima Dangote, daughter of the President Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

The deceased was subsequently buried in Gudu cemetery, Abuja, according to Islamic rites on same day. Asides representing Bauchi South Senatorial District, he was also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation.

Aged 58, Umar Buba Jibril, a member of the House of Representatives representing Lokoja/Kogi Federal constituency, passed on after serving three tenures in the house. Before his death on Friday, March 30th, he was the Deputy Majority Leader.

Amuda Dan Sulaiman, a political associate of the onetime Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly confirmed his death.

Speaker of the Lower House, Yakubu Dogara, described Senator Jibrin as “an upright man, a leader per excellence, a patriotic, committed hardworking lawmaker and a worthy representative.”

A statement confirming the death of the lawmaker partly reads; “We regret to announce the passing away of our friend, brother, colleague and leader, Umar Buba Jibrin, Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives, whose sad demise occurred in the early hours of Friday, after a protracted illness.”

Perhaps one of the most shocking deaths in the Lower Chamber was that of Hon. Elijah Adewale Oluwatayo.

Representing Ifako Ijaiye Constituency, Lagos State, Hon. Elijah Oluwatayo, died at the age of 65 years.

A former Chairman, Ifako/Ijaiye Local Government, the deceased slumped and died at the early hours of Thursday, July 21, 2016, at his Abuja residence. Till date, the cause of his death remains a mystery.

Confirming his death, the Lagos APC party Secretary, Hon Hakeem Adisa Bamgbola, expressed the party’s condolence to the bereaved family saying that God will grant them the fortitude to bear the loss and grant the deceased eternal rest.

Hon. Oluwatayo was described by his party as a loyal, honest and devoted party member who had served the party in many capacities and would be remembered for his good deeds.

The deceased’s son, Yinka Adewale, revealed that his father was found dead sitting on a sofa with a leg on the table and bottle of water beside him in his living room. He added that his late father was not sick.

Still on the House of Representatives, the Lower House lost another member in Abdullahi Wamakko.

Wamakko, who represented Kware/Wamakko Federal Constituency of Sokoto State, died at the National Hospital, Abuja after a brief illness.

The spokesman of the House, Abdulrazak Namdas, announced his death on Friday, July 14, 2017. “We just got the information that we lost Abdullahi Wamakko from Sokoto,” Namdas said.

Also joining the list of deceased lawmakers is the duo of late Senator Isiaka Adeleke and Bello Sani.  A South West senator, Adeleke was a member of the upper chambers. 62 years old Adeleke represented Osun West Senatorial district before he passed on, Sunday, April 23, 2017.

The three-term Senator died at Bikets Hospital in Osogbo, the State of Osun capital, after a heart attack. The former governor of Osun State was buried at his hometown, Ede, according to Muslim rites. In his lifetime, he was described by his colleagues as a calm, principled and responsible gentleman.

On his part, Sani, representing Mashi/Dvisi Federal Constituency of Katsina State, passed away on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at the age of 51. Sani’s aide, Abubakar Adamu, reported that his principal had suffered protracted illness for several months leading to his death.

Also deceased is Musa Baba-Onwana. Baba-Onwana represented Nasarawa/Toto Federal Constituency of Nasarawa State in APC. He died on Thursday, March 17, 2016 at the age of 50. Like the case of Hon. Oluwatayo, the cause of his death was unknown. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2011 and returned in 2015.

The recurring death in the House is however not surprising according to Williams Adeyemi, a medical doctor in Lagos. According to him, most of the politicians in Nigerian are old men and women and it is only natural for old people to die.

“It is not a surprise that they are dying. Many of them are old. To make it worse, many of them also falsify their ages to appear younger. So when you hear a politician dies at 65, do not be surprised that he or she was actually past 80 years old. It happens to our footballers as well. You see them by the age of 30; they would not be active on the field anymore. That is because they are usually 10 years older than they claim,” Adeyemi says.

Speaking with Saturday Independent, a lawmaker from the South-West, who asked for his name not to be mentioned says that he has suggested that spiritual cleansing should be done in the house to ward off more deaths in the National Assembly. “Life and death are decided by God, we need to be closer to God in other to live longer. In a matter of two years, we have lost many members. Only God can intervene at the point,” he said.

•Text (excluding headline) courtesy of Saturday Independent.


Source News Express

Posted 07/04/2018 12:48:05 PM





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