Strong indications emerged yesterday suggesting that the wife of the late governor of Kaduna State, Mrs Amina Elizabeth Yakowa, could emerge the deputy governor of the state following the death of her husband in a helicopter crash on Saturday.
The plan to tap Amina as the deputy to the newly sworn-in governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, is being championed by northern governors across party divide, top northern politicians and governors from other regions of the country with the aim of sustaining Yekowa's legacies.
The promoters of the move to install Yakowa's wife could meet with Vice President Namadi Sambo in about a week's time.
Members of the group, who refused to be named, told LEADERSHIP last night that they were convinced that Mrs Yakowa was the best candidate for the position.
She was a former deputy director at the Ministry of Defence and only retired after her husband became governor.
The promoters said they were also inspired by the example of the wife of the former Senate President, Mrs Margery Okadigbo, who emerged to take over her husband, Chuba's slot in the Senate. They also alluded to the recent example of a former Senator from Plateau State, Sen. Gyang Dantong, who was similarly succeeded by his wife, after he was killed by gunmen at a funeral in the state.
Mrs Yakowa was born on May 20, 1953 in Kwoi, Jaba Local Government of Kaduna State.
An educationist, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She taught in many schools in Kaduna State before transferring her service to the Ministry of Defence, Abuja. According to the Kaduna State website, she is now on leave of absence.
A humane, humble and motherly person, Mrs Yakowa is known to be very compassionate, warm and accommodating. She is a patron to many associations, and sits on the board of many non-governmental organisations.
Within the short period of assumption of office as wife of the governor, Mrs Yakowa, in collaboration with the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) conditional cash transfer project, was able to assist poor families to improve their economic status through presentation of cash to start small businesses. She has also been actively involved in the state immunisation programme as well as the fight against malaria.
Only recently, Mrs Yakowa successfully hosted the First Lady, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan, to launch the Kaduna State chapter of Women for Change Initiative (W4CI), making the state the third to launch the programme.
'We were planning our 34th marriage anniversary"
Amidst tears, shock and sorrow, the 59-year-old widow of the late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, Dame Amina, recollected the last encounter she had with her beloved husband before his untimely death in a helicopter crash, saying they were looking forward to the celebration of their 34th year of marriage.
She told LEADERSHIP exclusively how her late husband held her hand that Saturday morning, bid her farewell and said "until we meet in Abuja."
Blessed with four children, Mama, as she is fondly called, said the death of her husband came as an unforgettable shock.
She said, "We normally wake up every 5am for a morning Mass and prayer. Sometimes, he asks me to pray for him. And it so happened that Saturday morning, I could not wake up on time because I had a very serious cough.
"My husband woke up before me and prepared to leave for Abuja, and when he finished his preparation, he touch me and I turned and saw him standing beside me, wearing a white dress."
"He said to me: 'I know your cough has subsided because of what (drugs) you took yesterday (Friday), but don't do anything to stress yourself.'
"He said all of us have to be in Abuja on Sunday for the thanksgiving church service organised by the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. He tapped me again and said farewell until we meet again in Abuja.
"He was my pillar; he was everything I have ever had. He was a symbol of unity. I am consoled by the fact that he left a good legacy for us. I thank God for the number of years we lived together. He left when we were all looking forward to celebrate our 34 years of marriage. We will miss his kind gestures, humility and simplicity," she sobbed.
Govs holds emergency meeting today
Perturbed by the spate of air mishaps involving their counterparts in recent times, the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) will today hold an emergency meeting to deliberate on the matter.
The meeting is scheduled to hold by 11am at the residence of the chairman of the forum, Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi.
The governors, in a condolence message to with the families of Governor Patrick Yakowa, General Andrew Azazi and their aides, also called on the aviation authorities and security agencies to work hard to ensure aviation safety, just as they called for a regular overhaul and maintenance of law enforcement facilities and equipment.
Deaths, huge national loss - IBB
Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, has described the deaths of Governor Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Owoye Azazi and four others in a helicopter crash, Saturday, as a huge national loss that "has left our hearts bleeding."
In press statement personally signed by Gen. Babangida and obtained by LEADERSHIP yesterday, he stated that both late Yakowa and Azazi were "were distinguished in their different undertakings and helped to consolidate the gains of democracy."
The statement described late Governor Yakowa as "a complete gentleman who was not only down to earth, but also preached good neighbourliness as one of the fundamental principles of uniting a pluralist country like ours."
Deaths of Yakowa, Azazi, others devastating - Mark
Senate President David Mark has described the deaths Governor Yakowa and General Azazi in the ill- fated Navy chopper in Bayelsa State on Saturday as devastating.
Senator Mark said the crash, which also claimed their aides, Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal as well as the pilots, Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi Sowole, was a national tragedy.
In an emotion-laden voice, Mark noted that the frequency of air mishaps in recent times has renewed calls for caution and a return to the basics.
"My heart goes to the nation, especially the families and friends of the victims. It is another sad moment for the nation. It is a huge burden," he said.
He called on aviation professionals and the appropriate authorities to rise up to the challenge to ensure that such air disasters are averted in the future.
Tambuwal Mourns Yakowa, Azazi
Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has described as tragic and sorrowful the helicopter crash which claimed the lives of Mr. Yakowa, Gen. Azazi and four others.
In a statement issued by his special adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said he was heartbroken by the news of the sad incident.
According to him, "It is quite unfortunate and disheartening that Nigerians are waking up to the reality of another air disaster which has claimed lives in the country yet again. I mourn the loss of the fine gentlemen aboard the Navy helicopter and pray to God to give our nation the fortitude to bear the loss."
Tambuwal lamented that, in Yakowa, the country has lost one of its best technocrats and administrators.
Yakowa, Azazi's deaths shocking - ACF
The northern socio-cultural organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday described the death of the late Kaduna State governor Patrick Yakowa as shocking.
ACF, in a statement signed by it spokesman, Anthony Sani, said it received "with severe shock and heavy heart" the news about the sudden deaths of the late governor and that former NSA, General Azazi, and four others.
"The losses are not only to their families and associates but also to their states and the nation, precisely because they have gone at the time their services are needed the most. Our hearts are all broken by the deaths.
"But we must take solace in the fact that death is a necessary end and would come when it would come. May their souls rest in perfect peace as we accept to live with what cannot be changed," the statement read.
JNI Mourns Yakowa, Calls For restraint
The Jama'atu Nasir Islam (JNI) yesterday said it received with shock the sudden death of the Kaduna State governor, Sir Patrick Yakowa in a helicopter crash.
A statement signed by the JNI's secretary-general, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, commiserated with his immediate family, friends, relatives and the good people of Kaduna State, who it urged to be to be law abiding "and do all activities with restraint and caution".
"Consequently, we call on the new governor to govern with the fear of Allah, equity, just and fairness as he discharges his mantle of leadership, while praying that Allah's guidance will be with him as he pilots the affairs of the state. We call on all and sundry to give him the desired support," the statement read.
Yakowa, a distinguished administrator, patriot, says Emir of Zazzau
The Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, yesterday described late Governor Yakowa as a distinguished administrator and patriot who served humanity well.
The Emir, who is the chairman of the State Council of Chiefs, said Yakowa had shaped the lives of many in the state positively.
"No doubt late Governor Yakowa's death has robbed Kaduna State and the nation of the services of a great patriot and public figure," he stated in a condolence letter made available to newsmen in Kaduna.
According to him, the governor had contributed immensely to the development of the nation, through diligence, hard work and honesty.
He commiserated with the people of the state, urging them to pray for the soul of the deceased.
Etsu Nupe mourns Yakowa, Azazi's deaths
The Etsu Nupe and chairman, Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, has described the death of former Governor Yakowa, Gen Azazi and four others in the ill-fated helicopter crash as a monumental loss, not only to their families and their states, but to the entire country.
The royal father said in a condolence message yesterday that Yakowa and former NSA were committed public officer, patriotic leaders and detribalised Nigerians.
"The two leaders showed love to their people and indeed Nigerians and were committed to the unity of the country," he said.
"Though God has his reason for taking them at this time when we are in our trying moment, I commiserate with President Goodluck Jonathan, and indeed Nigerians over their death".
He said the families of deceased and Nigerians should be consoled by the fact that late Yakowa and Azazi have left a legacy which would continue to be remembered by posterity and generations yet unborn.
The Etsu Nupe therefore prayed God to give the families the fortitude to bear the loss.
I'll build on Yakowa's foundations - Governor Yero
Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, who was sworn in at 1:06pm yesterday at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House as the substantive governor of Kaduna State has assured the people of the state that he will build on the foundations set up by his predecessor, late Governor Yakowa.
Governor Yaro was sworn in by the state chief judge, Justice Rahila Cudjo, in a sombre ceremony attended by personalities, well-wishers and mourners at Government House.
In his acceptance speech after taking the oath of office, Governor Yaro said he was grief-stricken by over the death of his boss, who he described as a good man who served the state diligently and with total commitment.
"His humility, dedication to duty, fairness to all and a high sense of humour endeared him to many near and far, irrespective of religious, tribal or sectional inclinations; no wonder he was given a pseudo name, 'Nakowa' (loved by all)," he stated.
The new governor pledged to build on the achievements of the late governor, just as he solicited prayers from the people of Kaduna State for divine help in piloting the affairs of the state.
"The vision of Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, Nakowa was to secure, unite and develop Kaduna State. He invested so much on this and we started reaping the fruits of his labour. He wished to consolidate and advance on the achievements so far made and hence tagged Kaduna State's 2013 budget which he presented to the State House of Assembly on Thursday, December 13, 2012, the 'Budget of Consolidation and Achievement'.
"I sincerely desire to build on the good foundation that my boss has laid. I therefore covet your prayers for God's wisdom, guidance and direction," he said
Yaro had his primary school education at the L. E. A. Primary School, Kaura, Zaria City, Kaduna State (1974-1980) from where he proceeded to Government Secondary School, Ikara, Kaduna State (1980-1985) where he obtained West African School Certificate at Government Day Secondary School, Zaria, Kaduna State (1985-1986).
Between 1986-1988 / 1988-1991 he proceeded to the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and obtained Diploma in Banking in 2003, BSc Accounting, MBA/College of Accounting, Jos, Plateau State (2003-2004), and Certified National Accountant (CNA).
He started his working career as Assistant Accountant (NYSC), Ogun State Bulk Purchasing Corporation, Ibara, Abeokuta (1991-1992).
He started his political career when he was appointed Commissioner of Finance in Kaduna State from 2007-2010 and later the deputy governor in 2010.