Kaduna — Tears flowed freely, yesterday, amid eulogies as President Goodluck Jonathan led dignitaries to pay their last respects at the burial of former Governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa at his country home in Fadan Kagoma.
Yakowa died on Saturday, December. 15, in a helicopter crash at Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa alongside five others, including former National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi.
Late Yakowa's wife and children fought back tears as they performed the dust-to-dust rites for the late governor after the funeral oration by the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Mathew Kukah.
Among the dignitaries at the burial were, former Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar, the Senate President, Senator David Mark and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal.
The Chairman of Governors' Forum, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and his wife, Judith; Governors Babangida Aliyu of Niger, Gabriel Suswam of Benue and Oluegun Mimiko, Ondo; Peter Obi of Anambra, Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa and Fayemi of Ekiti State were also in attendance.
Also at the burial were Deputy Governors James Ngilari of Adamawa, Peter Kishira of Kwara, Abubakar Aliyu of Yobe, Umar Mustapha of Borno and Damishi Lucas of Nasarawa.
The National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, his predecessors, Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Audu Ogbe, Alhaji Amadu Ali as well as Prof Jerry Gana, were also in attendance.
Also present were ministers, the national Security Adviser Col. Sambo Dasuki and some aides of the President.
Yakowa goes home
The casket bearing the remains of Yakowa arrived open ground of St. Paul Catholic Church in an ambulance with registration number KDS 157 by 10:20am.
It came by road from Kaduna, 250 km North of Kagoma, and was escorted by Yakowa's widow Dame Amina Yakowa; her four children, and a convoy of family members, friends, associates and some cabinet members of Kaduna State Government under tight security.
As the casket was brought out of the ambulance, there were wailings from the crowd, as the casket was carried into the main church.
The burial ceremony started at 11am with the arrival of President Jonathan Goodluck to the open space of the church where three large canopies, each twice the size of basketball field, were erected and surrounded by heavily armed guards.
Yakowa was a nationalist --President Jonathan
In his remarks, which he delivered extempore, President Jonathan Goodluck said: "This is a solemn occasion. I thank the church for what it has done today and for praying for Nigeria. With your prayers, Nigeria will move forward. I condole with the people of Kagoma community and the people of Kaduna for this great loss.
"Let me condole all Nigerians over this loss. Our late brother was a nationalist. Death is a necessary end that will come when it will come. How and when it will come will make us think and act differently.
"We have been told by philosophers that the world is a stage where everybody plays his part.
Yakowa played his part very well, as a civil servant, he epitomised the best of the civil service; the discipline of the civil service; the character of the civil service not the kind of civil service today that Directors have more houses than the richest man like Dangote.
"Surely he played his role on earth very well. He left us at a time his vision is too loud, it is unfortunate but that is the will of the Almighty God.
"Yakowa from all we have heard is somebody that had no ethnic and religious divide in his blood.
"When we elders in our private discuss things that will divide us, Yakowa talked about peace, love and unity and development.
"He has brought all of us here today. I will use this opportunity to urge all Nigerians, especially those of us who have been given this privilege of holding very high political offices that sometimes we don't merit, but because God wants it that way and by divine providence we are holding such offices; we should emulate the life style of our late brother".
He was a different kind of politician --Mark
The Senate President, Senator David Mark also spoke at the service, saying "Patrick Yakowa was a different kind of politician, he was humble, dedicated and a committed nationalist.
"He built bridges not just between Muslims and Christians, but even within the government. We shall miss him, but more than anything else, we as Christians, know that Yakowa is resting in the bossom of the lord. May his gentle soul rest in peace."
He died at God's appointed time -- Kukah
Earlier in a message, Rev. Mathew Kukah, said no one could neither teach God knowledge nor question his decisions; therefore people should not feel despondent over the death of Yakowa.
He said the deceased died at his appointed time by God and urged the people to ignore those who are wielding suspicious story about his death.
He debunked the purported claim that a section of religious divide in the state was rejoicing over the death of Yakowa.
He noted that former head of State, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, a devout Muslim, cancelled his 70th birthday in honour of Yakowa.
He said the deceased made his marks as the first child from the Christian dominated southern part of Kaduna to attain top position at various levels of government. Kukah said Yakowa also broke the jinx by becoming the first Christian executive governor of Kaduna.
He was humble-- Bishop Kaigama
"Yakowa was a humble dedicated Christian catholic; he was loyal, he loved the church. He was not the pretentious Christian, he was not a Christian by political convenience, he was a Christian from the heart and he loved his God and his people. If you ask me what you want the governor, Yakowa, to tell God, I know he is with God, so I will request that he should tell God three things.
The first one is that he should tell God to tell us in Nigeria to respect the sanctity of life. The way we kill with such recklessness is so abominable.
"People use religion as a political weapon, to kill and attack, people use religion to foster their political and group interests. Yakowa stood for every person, why do you have to use your religion to exploit another person? Why do you have to exclude the other person because he does not worship in your religious way?"
Governor Rotimi Amaechi
"There is one aspect of Yakowa that nobody has spoken of which he spoke about several times. He said that when we talk about peace and disagreement, it is the rich men, those in government. The poor man does not fight a Muslim or a Christian. He said there is no difference between the Kaduna Muslim and the Kaduna Christian. He said only one thing unites them- poverty. He said the solution to peace is to fight poverty. He promised me that the number of years he will be in office, he will fight poverty.
"Until we are able to fight poverty, that is when we will achieve peace. I have told my friends including Bishop Kukah that no matter how you preach on the pulpit, a hungry man is a hungry man. Yakowa believed that all of us who are in government should fight poverty together and then we as Muslims and Christians can worship in peace."
My marriage was a perfect one --Mrs Yakowa
"As if he knew that he will go before me, he imbibed in me all the virtues that have been described; the fear of God, peace, patience, respect, loyalty, dedication, humility, justice, hardwork, contentment, sharing, sincerity, prudence, loving among other things
"I will live with my children, to partake in the bounties of these virtues.
"I thank President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice president Namadi Sambo and their respective wives, for showing that 'my husband was part of them. I thank the governors' wives for showing sisterly love to me. I will miss you because I will no longer be in your forum.
"Most of you have promised me that this relationship has already been established and it will be forever. I pray that may Yakowa's death may bring unity to the people of Kaduna State.
"I also want to congratulate the new governor, Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero, my younger brother. Since you have worked with my husband, you will be up to the task. I pray that God will give you that wisdom.
"I call on all the people of Kaduna State to please cooperate with our new Governor. May your tenure be fruitful. I thank all of you who have come here for us. God bless you.
Jatau Yakowa, Yakowa's son
"We all need your prayers and support to fill this extra large shoe, because we believe with prayers nothing is impossible. I stand today a very happy man, because from what I gathered, Nigerians have unanimously testified that Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, CON, a papal Knight of St. Gregory. Dan Massanin Gwong, Baba Jatau, Giwan Amina was a good man and a bridge builder who touched the lives of many across the length and breadth of this country.
"We have embraced our father's death in good faith, as our father has taught us to accept anything that happens in life, no matter how painful as the will of God.
"He has spent his life as servant of the people. My father was an apostle of peace, always preached peace at any given opportunity and has made the ultimate sacrifice. That sacrifice was made on the altar of peace.
"I pray that this sacrifice will not be a wasted sacrifice. I pray there will be peace in Kaduna State; I pray there will be peace in Nigeria.
"I described the helicopter crash which killed my father as a grand design by God to show Mr. President that Yakowa, indeed his brother, sincerely believed in him and his administration. It was a grand by God to show northerners and southerners that we are indeed brothers and sisters.
"Daddy, God has finally called you to rest, the rest that you constantly denied yourself while alive. We are happy that you are in a better place with God watching over us."
Kaduna Govt names N6bn bridge after Yakowa
Kaduna State government yesterday named the N6billion Fourth Kaduna Bridge after the former governor of the state, late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa. Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, made this known during Yakowa's burial in his home town, Fadan Kagoma yesterday.