The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) last night said it received with shock and sadness the news of the passing away of Kaduna State governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Andrew Owoeye Azazi following a helicopter crash in Bayelsa State yesterday afternoon.
Chairman of the Forum and Niger State governor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, while reacting to the incident, described the death of the duo as a great loss not only to the people of Kaduna and Bayelsa states but to the entire nation.
In a condolence statement signed by governor Aliyu's Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, the Forum said "their passage constitutes a big blow to the people of Nigeria whose lives they touched in their eventful lives that were devoted to public service".
The Forum said it is particularly pained by the demise of governor Yakowa who has consistently hosted the meetings of the NSGF since he mounted the saddle as governor of Kaduna State but takes solace in the fact that he lived exemplary and purposeful life with remarkable achievements as a public servant, administrator, community leader and a dedicated family man.
The statement said the late Kaduna State governor and the former NSA were rare gems who would be missed for their immeasurable contributions towards the development of the country.
It said the late public officials were thorough bred professionals whose foot prints and legacies in the nation's civil service and the military will continue to serve as reference points to the successor generations.
"They were uncommon statesmen, dependable team players, highly disciplined gentlemen and respected mentors of their sub-ordinate officers", the statement added. The Forum prayed God to grant the souls of the deceased eternal rest and their immediate families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.