By Mustapha Usman & Adnan Tudunwada, Kano
Tributes have been poured by eminent personalities on the late former Nigeria’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Yusuf Maitama Sule, as his remains were buried in Kano.
The funeral prayer, attended by President of the Senate Bukola Saraki, governors, senators, ministers, among others, was held at the Emir’s Palace, Kano.
He was buried at Wali Maigeza Cemetery, Kofar Mazugal, Kano at around 7:30pm.
Mr Sule, who holds the title of Dan Masanin Kano, died on Monday at As-Salam Hospital in Cairo, Egypt.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is on medical vacation in London, said the death of the former minister came as a shock to him.
In a statement personally signed by him, Mr. Buhari said he knew late Maitama Sule was sick but he was devastated by his death.
“I have heard this morning, the death of the venerable Alhaji Maitama Sule, Dan Masanin Kano, and one of Nigeria’s famous sons. Although I knew he was in poor health for some time, his death nonetheless, came as a profound shock,
“As a Minister in the First Republic, he was one of those who assisted our Founding Fathers, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to fashion Nigeria politically and lay the grounds of national co-existence,” said Buhari.
“Maitama Sule was blessed by God with a wonderful voice and outstanding eloquence. He served with distinction in the First Republic, the Second Military regime, as well as the Second Republic, without him being tainted with the remotest hint of scandal.
“As a person, I found him personable with unceasing good humour. Nothing personified his faith more than the fact that on losing his sight, he did not retreat in himself sulking on account of his ill-fortune. Quite to the contrary, he honoured virtually all invitations extended to him and spoke as usual with singular eloquence and unparalleled wit.
“In my discussions with him, I greatly valued his counsel, and I never ceased to be amazed by his concern for the well-being of his country rather than his personal interests.
“Let me extend my sincere condolences to Your Excellency, family and friends, the Government and people of Kano, and Nigerians as a whole, for this most heavy loss. We shall not soon see the like of him. May God forgive his sins and admit him to Paradise, Amin.”
On his part, Senate President, Bukola Saraki expressed his grief over the death of late Dan Masani.
Mr Saraki in a statement by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu described the deceased as a detribalised who spoke truth to power at all times during his lifetime.
He called on both federal and the Kano State Governments to immortalize the great icon of peace and unity.
“The news of the demise of Alhaji Maitama Sule, came to me with shock. This is one man that has become a permanent feature in the politics of the country, beginning from first republic when he was appointed a minister at his youthful age.
“Through sheer oratory, the name Maitama Sule had become synonymous with wit and wisdom. He never minced words when speaking against ills in society and how to curb them.
“He would remain an inspiration to both present and forthcoming generations on the lessons of tolerance, unity, and peaceful coexistence.
“He left at a time his wise counsel is in dire need to navigate our way out of current challenges confronting the country.
“I pray the Almighty Allah to grant his soul aljannah firdaus and his family the fortitude to bear the loss,” he said.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress national leader, Bola Tinubu, said the death of Alhaji Maitama Sule has reduced the rank of true nationalists at a time the nation is in dire need of wise counsel.
Mr Tinubu, in a statement said the death came at a time the nation is in dire need of wise counsel on how to navigate through potential landmines.
He described the late statesman as a detribalised Nigerian, whose death is not only a loss to his family and Kano State, but to the entire country.
Mr Tinubu said the consolation, however, was that late Dan Masani lived to a ripe age, adding that in his lifetime, made an indelible mark as a politician, diplomat and statesman.