Security has been scaled up at the late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa's village where his remains are set to be buried today.
In Kaduna metropolis and environs, there was also a noticeable presence of security operatives drafted to ensure a peaceful atmosphere ahead of President Goodluck Jonathan's delegation to the burial.
While the president advised Nigerian politicians to emulate Yakowa by shunning sentiments that divide Nigerians, Governor Mukhtar Yero disclosed how Yakowa resisted moves to remove him as deputy governor.
Our correspondent, who was at the Fadan Kagoma area of Jema'a Local Government Area (LGA) where the late governor was born 64 years ago, gathered that there was huge presence of both plainclothes and uniformed security operatives in all the strategic areas of the village.
Kagoma, a village standing in between Jaba and Jema'a LGAs, is already brimming with security operatives, with armoured military tanks deployed in and around the village to avoid any security breaches.
LEADERSHIP also gathered that the advance teams of President Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo had landed in the village since Tuesday.
The Senate President's advance team and that of the Speaker also arrived at Kagoma yesterday morning.
LEADERSHIP gathered that all the hotels in neighbouring communities had already been fully booked my dignitaries and government officials.
Politicians exploiting religious sentiments to divide Nigerians - Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan alleged yesterday that Nigerian politicians were exploiting religious sentiments to cause division among citizens of the country, saying they should take a cue from late Kaduna Governor Ibrahim Yakowa, a detribalised gentleman who worked for the unity of the country.
"He (Yakowa) was a different class of politician. Most of us who are politicians exploit religious sentiments to divide Nigerians for our own selfish gains. We exploit north/south divide to divide Nigerians for our selfish gains. But Yakowa was very different. He was gentleman who believed in the unity of this country," Jonathan stated.
Jonathan said this at a special session held by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in honour of the late Yakowa; former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoeye Azazi; their aides, Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal; the pilots, Commander Murtala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi O. Sowole, who died in the Navy helicopter crash last Saturday.
Speaking at the last FEC meeting for 2012, President Jonathan described December 15 as a 'black' Saturday in the annals of the country as the crash claimed the lives of Nigerians who served their country selflessly.
He noted that Yakowa was rare breed of politician who never exploited ethnic or religious sentiments for selfish ends and who believed in the unity of the country, just as he described Azazi as a fine and selfless officer who served his country meritoriously.
Ministers also poured their hearts out while commiserating with victims of the ill fated crash.
High point of the special session was a one-minute silence in honour of the victims and the signing of two condolence registers for the late Yakowa and Azazi by all cabinet members present.
On his part, Vice President Sambo recalled how he interacted with Yakowa for over 25 years, describing him as a peaceful and selfless gentleman.
Sambo also recollected how he chose the late governor as his running mate despite the fact the two of them had contest the PDP gubernatorial primary election against each other, saying Yakowa was a bridge builder whose footprints will never be forgotten in the minds of the people of Kaduna State.
Yakowa resisted calls to remove me - Governor Yero
Kaduna State Governor Muktar Yero, in his valedictory speech yesterday narrated how he became the deputy governor and how he was nearly schemed out of the position.
Governor Yero also gave the assurance that he would cater for the well being of late Yakowa's wife and children as long as he remained the governor of the state.
Narrating how he became the deputy governor and the plot to remove him from office, he said: "When Late Yakowa became the governor following the elevation of Namadi Sambo as vice President in 2010, I was still a serving commissioner for finance and I went to congratulate Yakowa as the new governor in his house.
"He brought out a sheet of paper containing about six or seven names and my name was among the names. And he said the names were given to him for consideration and advice, but that if he did not feel comfortable, he could choose anyone he wanted.
"My name was there and he said to me even if my name was not there, he would like to work with me because he did not want the vice president to take me to Abuja and away from Kaduna State. He then asked for my opinion and I said let's leave everything to God and he agreed.
"After a year while trying to resolve certain crisis, he told me that he was asked by some Commissioners and other people to drop me because of the crisis and he said no.
"About 2-3 weeks ago, something happened and he called me to his office and about the third time he said commissioners and certain people were complaining that I said I was not being carried along in the running of the state and I said I did not know them, and don't want to know them. I asked him to put all these behind us and let's work together.
"I told him my portion where I felt he has wronged me and we resolved it. "There is one problem which is communication gap between us and he said let us close that gap and put the people to shame.
"On Friday, he told me that everything belongs to God, and that someday, he may be no more and that I could be the governor, and that he was going to Port Harcourt, Bayelsa, Lagos and end up in Abuja."
Yakowa was a great man - Izala
The Kaduna State Branch of the sect, Jamiatu Izalatil Bid'ah Wa lqamatis Sunnah, has described the death of the late Yakowa as tragic and a great loss to the entire people of the state.
The group made this comment in a statement signed by the state secretary of the Islamic sect, Malam Mohammed Gimba Alfa, and made available to LEADERSHIP in Zaria Tuesday.
The statement prayed God to grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.
It also cautioned the new governor of Kaduna State to run the administration with fairness and the fear of God.
They further assured of their continuous support for peaceful coexistence in the state.
Northern senators mourn Yakowa, Azazi, 4 others
The Northern Senators' Forum yesterday lamented the deaths of the late Yakowa, Azazi and four others who died in the last Saturday ill-fated helicopter crash in Bayelsa State.
The forum, in a statement jointly signed yesterday by its chairman and secretary, Senators Umaru Dahiru and Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan respectively, commiserated with the bereaved families, the people of Kaduna and Bayelsa states and all Nigerians over the incident.
It remarked that Yakowa had lived an exemplary life dedicated to humble service and that Azazi was a loyal soldier who was dedicated to serving his fatherland throughout his career in the military and as national security adviser.