The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has received with shock and sadness the news of the passing away of the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoeye Azazi following a helicopter crash in Bayelsa State Saturday afternoon.
Reacting to the incident, Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu described the death of the duo as a great loss not only to the people of Kaduna and Bayelsa States but to the entire nation.
In a condolence message signed by Governor Aliyu’s Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, the forum said “their passage constitutes a big blow to the people of Nigeria whose lives they touched in their eventful lives that were devoted to public service”.
The forum said it is particularly pained by the demise of Governor Yakowa who consistently hosted the meetings of the NSGF since he mounted the saddle as Governor of Kaduna State but takes solace in the fact that he lived exemplary and purposeful life with remarkable achievements as a public servant, administrator, community leader and a dedicated family man.
The statement said the late Kaduna State Governor and the former NSA were rare gems who would be missed for their immeasurable contributions towards the development of the country.
It said the late public officials were thorough bred professionals whose foot prints and legacies in the nation’s civil service and the military will continue to serve as reference points to the successor generations.
“They were uncommon statesmen, dependable team players, highly disciplined gentlemen and respected mentors of their sub-ordinate officers”, the message added.
The forum then prayed God to grant the souls of the deceased eternal rest and their immediate families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Also, President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has described the death of Kaduna State Governor Dr. Patrick Yakowa and the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA) General Owoye Azazi in the ill-fated Navy Chopper in Bayelsa State on Saturday as devastating.
Senator Mark said the crash which also claimed the aides of the very important personalities; Dauda Tsoho, Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal as well as the Pilots; Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi Sowole was a national tragedy.
An emotion laden Mark noted that the frequency of air mishaps in the recent times unarguably calls for caution and return to the basics, a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan , his media aide said.
” My heart goes to the nation especially the families and friends of the victims. It is another sad moment for the nation. It is a huge burden” , he stressed.
He called on Aviation experts and the appropriate authorities to rise up to the challenge to ensure that such air disasters are prevented in the future.
Senator Mark pointed out that both Yakowa and Azazi were personal friends to him saying ” besides official relationships, they were my personal friends, it is like a double tragedy to me. This is sad.”
He recalled his recent encounter with Yakowa when they both travelled to the Vatican on a Federal government delegation to the consistory of Cardinal John Olurunfemi Onaiyekan saying the governor was so concerned on how to make Kaduna state safe and home to all.
Senator Mark described Azazi as one of the finest military officers in Nigeria who served the nation diligently and meritoriously . He said Azazi’s service to the nation was dictated by national interest and uncommon patriotism.
He also commiserated with the Navy authority for the sad loss of its officers noting that they died in active service to the nation.
Equally,former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has expressed shock and deep sadness over the tragic death of the Governor of Kaduna State Mr. Patrick Yakowa and the former National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi over the weekend .
Otunba Daniel described the death of the two men and their aides in the fatal helicopter crash in Bayelsa State as a monumental tragedy that has thrown the entire nation into deep mourning.
“This is a very sad development. I am shocked and saddened by this tragedy. I had interacted with the two men in the course of different national assignments and engagements and I found them to be personable, deeply patriotic and men who were constantly working for the greater good of the Nation. General Azazi contributed his own quota to the development of the country’s military and played an active part in the ongoing efforts to solve the country’s security challenges. Mr. Yakowa was a bridge builder who constantly worked for peaceful co existence of the various groups in his state and was noted as a crusader for inter religious harmony. Our prayers and thoughts are with the families of all the six men who lost their lives in the tragedy. I commiserate with them and pray that God will give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss of their loved ones. I also extend my condolence to the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the government and people of Kaduna State, the Nigerian Military and friends and associates of the departed patriots, ” Otunba Daniel said in the statement.