The remains of the late governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, and that of his close associate, late Dauda Tsoho yesterday arrived in Kaduna from Bayelsa State after a valedictory session held in their honour by the Bayelsa State government.
The remains of the deceased, aboard a C130 Air Force Plane with registration number UR-CAG, touched down at the Kaduna International Airport at about 2:40pm.
This is just as Senate President David Mark, his wife, and former head of state General Abdulsalami Abubakar paid a condolence visit to Yakowa's widow and the government of Kaduna State.
The body of late Yakowa was handed over to the governor of Kaduna State Alhaji Mukthar Yero by the deputy governor of Bayelsa State in whose state the unfortunate crash occurred.
At the airport, top government officials from the state and outside the state, Yakowa's widow, children, senators, religious and traditional rulers, Knights of St. Mulumba, and several other well wishers were on ground to receive the remains of the late governor.
Shortly after the arrival of the body, prayers were offered, led by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah and the Archbishop of Kaduna Anglican Diocese Most Reverend Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso.
The bodies of late Yakowa and Dauda Tsoho were thereafter deposited at the Saint Gerard's Catholic Hospital amidst tight security.
Arrangements are on top gear for the wake keep of the late Yakowa and Tsoho scheduled to hold today at the Sir Ibrahim Kashim Government House. Dignitaries from far and near had already arrived at the state yesterday ahead of the vigil today and burial tomorrow.
Yakowa: Kaduna Govt releases burial programme as Assembly plans valedictory session
Kaduna State Government yesterday released the programme for the burial of the late Governor Yakowa.
A statement issued in Kaduna by the state governor, Mukhtar Yero, said a valedictory executive council meeting would be held today at the Government House by 10am, to be followed by a wake keep later in the evening.
It said that the corpse will leave St. Gerard's Catholic Hospital tomorrow for Fadan Kagoma, Yakowa's birth place, for burial after the requiem Mass that would be conducted at St. Paul's Catholic Church, Fadan Kagoma at 11am.
The State House of Assembly will also hold a valedictory session in honour of the former governor today between 8am and 9am at the Lugard Hall of the Assembly.
The information officer of the Assembly, Shaibu Abdullahi, told newsmen that the session would be presided over by the Speaker, Alhaji Usman Gangara.
I've not endorsed Amina Yakowa for deputy governor - Lekwot
Former military governor of Rivers State and leader of the Southern Kaduna Elders Consultative Forum, Major General Zamani Lekwot (rtd), yesterday denied making a case for the late Governor Patrick Yakowa's widow to become the deputy of the state.
The elder statesman, who spoke on phone to LEADERSHIP, also denied meeting the new governor over the quest to appoint Dame Amina Yakowa for the vacant number two seat.
Reacting to the story, Lekwot said, "It is false. It's a lie. The elders only paid a condolence visit to his Excellency, the Governor. The late governor's corpse has not even arrived in Kaduna; so it will be improper for anybody to start making statements that I led a delegation. The person is not being fair to us. Let us bury the man first.
"No, the information is not proper. We went to pay a condolence visit to her Excellency, His Excellency and the Vice President. So, it's out of decorum for anybody to say that.
"The elders are more responsible than that. Let's bury him first, and other things will follow. But I am telling you, we have no hand in that story. We were not contacted, and nothing like that happened."
The retired general reiterated that it was improper for people to insinuate such things when the late governor was yet to be buried.
"The visit of condolence has nothing to do with other things. After we bury him, we can start talking about that. The poor woman is mourning her husband. How can anybody in his right senses start meeting on that? We have not met and a decision will be taken after the burial," he said.
Kaduna Deputy Governor: Mrs. Yakowa gets more support
Meanwhile, more people have continued to express their support for the appointment of Yakowa's wife Dame Amina Yakowa as the deputy governor of Kaduna State.
According to them, Yakowa perform excellently in serving the people of the state and giving his widow the number two slot would help to sustain the legacies the man left behind in Kaduna State.
One of such backers of the move is the prominent Kaduna-based activist Comrade Shehu Sani.
Comrade Sani told our correspondent: "I am in full support of her appointment as deputy governor of Kaduna State. As far as I am concerned, giving Mrs. Yakowa the post is a mark of respect and honour to a man that has done so much for the state. It is not any issue of family affair, but it is simply a sign of respect. Such things are happening around the whole country. It happened in Yobe State."
Also speaking on the matter, a 2011 gubernatorial aspirant in the state under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Shu'ibu Idris Mikati, also gave his support, saying, "If she cap fits her, why not? I don't see anything wrong in considering her for the position of deputy governor."
Other prominent Nigerians who spoke on the issue preferred that the issue be left in the cooler until after the burial of the governor.
Alhaji Mannir Ja'afar (Yariman Zazzau), simply said, "I would give my advice to the new governor on the matter at the right time."