The former Vice President in a statement by his media office in Abuja yesterday said he was shocked when the news of the crash first broke, but was devastated when the identity of those involved in the crash was announced.
Atiku while describing as shocking the weekend crash of a naval helicopter said it was devastating to hear that Nigeria lost one of its finest breed of politicians, in the person of Governor Patrick Yakowa to the crash.
He noted that both Governor Yakowa and General Azazi were two gentlemen who served the country with their hearts and the finest of their skills and capabilities.
Recalling the death of DIG (Operations) John Haruna in a crash in Jos earlier in the year, the former Vice President said the frequency with which Nigeria is losing its best human assets to air crashes is disturbing, and suggested to the federal government to temporarily ground all military helicopter for a technical audit.
“I believe that a good step towards arresting this ugly situation is for the federal government to temporarily ground all military helicopters in the country, to pave way for a technical audit.”
He noted that the late governor, whom he recently shared the stage with at a conference in Kaduna State, was an exemplar of how to play politics of openness adding, he was a politician with a cosmopolitan world view.
“It is to the credit of this man of peace that the fragility of Kaduna was managed for over two years and thus the level of violence kept in check. Even his opponents will acknowledge that he was respected by both Muslims and Christians in the state,” Atiku said.
“I recall the last encounter I had with him on December 5 at the conference on the North and strategies for sustainable development. His passion for and commitment to the development of the region and nation left long-lasting impressions on me,” the Turaki Adamawa said.
Atiku prayed to God to give the families of Yakowa and Azazi, and their aides, Dauda Tsoho and Mohammed Kama; and the pilots, Murtala Daba and Adeyemi Sowole the strength to bear this tragic loss.
He condoled with the Kaduna and Bayelsa State governments and the Nigerian Navy over the loss.