Abuja and Abeokuta — President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday mourned a two-time minister, Mr. Jubril Martins-Kuye, who died earlier in the day.
The 79 - year-old Ago-Iwoye-born politician, who was appointed Minister of Commerce and Industry during the tenure of acting President Goodluck Jonathan, died yesterday morning at his private residence in Lekki, Lagos State after an undisclosed protracted illness.
Martins-Kuye's political godson, who is the current lawmaker representing Ogun East Senatorial district in the Senate, Senator 'Lekan Mustapha, confirmed his death to journalists yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, describing it as "a big blow" to the entire Ijebu people of the state, saying that "he was not just a mentor, but a pathfinder".
Born on 16th August 1942 in Ago Iwoye town in the Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State, JMK as was popularly called within the political circles, was appointed minister by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 with a portfolio as the Minister of State for Finance, serving till the year 2003.
In a statement by Buhari's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President said the deceased would be missed for his insight on issues of development.
In the statement titled, "President Buhari condoles with family of former minister, Sen. Jubril Martins-Kuye," Buhari recognised Martins-Kuye's contributions towards tailoring budgets that reflect needs of the people, with his emphasis on full implementation.
The statement read, "President Muhammadu Buhari commiserates with family, friends and associates of former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sen. Jubril Martins-Kuye, praying that the almighty God will comfort them at moment of grief.
For Abiodun, the demise of the former Minister of State for Finance marked the end of an era and significantly underscores the depletion of the rank of elder statesmen, men of faith and progressive politicians in the country.
A statement issued in Abeokuta by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, quoted the governor as saying, "I have personally lost a great pillar of support, who offered useful advice to advance my political career".
"I am yet to come to terms with the passage of Senator Jubril Martin-Kuye, because this is one death that inflicts not just a deep pain, but one that will linger for long, and a loss of immeasurable proportion for me as a person, to his immediate and extended families as well as the political establishment he belonged", the statement said.
The Ogun State chapter of APC has also expressed deep sadness over Martins-Kuye's death.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon by APC and signed by its Caretaker Publicity Secretary, Ambassador 'Tunde Oladunjoye, the party described the late politician as an "uncommon bridge builder, patriot and a very humane, courteous and humble politician whose model was politics without bitterness".
On his part, Atiku has also expressed shock over the death of Martins-Kuye, describing his death as a colossal national loss.
Atiku in his verified tweeter handle said, "I'm shocked and saddened at the passing away of Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye. He would be remembered, among others, for the commendable role he played in the establishment of Servicom during the Obasanjo administration. My heartfelt condolences to his family, associates, the government and good people of Ogun State. May the Almighty Allah forgive his sins and grant him Aljannah Firdaus."
In the same vein, the PDP in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said "Senator Martins-Kuye, a member of the Third Republic Senate as well as our party's candidate in the 1999 governorship election in Ogun State, was a highly courageous democrat and dedicated statesman, who sacrificed his time, energy and resources towards the stability and development of our nation," the party said.