Like most compatriots, I received with great shock and deep grief, the death of His Excellency, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State in a helicopter crash at Nembe-Okoroba area of Bayelsa State. The crash caimed other noables that reportedly included former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Andrew Azazi (rtd) among others on Saturday December 15, 2012.
The dramatic elevations of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, Namadi Sambo GCON and Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa as President, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governor of Kaduna State respectively, following the death of the former President Musa Yar Adua were manifestations of the triumph of our democratic process, despite its enormous challenges.
Their respective elevations must have then very well magnified the politicalfortunes of the three but the real credit goes to democracy and our constitutionalism.
The fact that Nigeria could do a transition with all the challenges both at the federal and state levels indicates that we are really coming of age as democratic people and nation. All we need to do is to nurture this democratic process and not undermine it. Alas the sudden death of Yakowa further tasks our commitment and resolve to deepen democracy through peaceful transition process.
With his death, my union (National Union of Textile workers) has particularly lost a voice for re-industrialization of the North in general and revival of textile industry in Kaduna in particular. He was among the few standing governors making a case of industry in the North..
Speaking at the 10th Quadrennial National Delegates’ Conference, NDC, of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, in Asaba, the Delta State capital, in early this year, the governor demanded for a concerted effort by all Nigerians to return the industry to pre-1987 boom.
Disturbed by the high rate of smuggling of textile materials to the country, which has adversely affected indigenous production, Yakowa argued that the situation had reduced patronage on made in Nigeria textile.
The governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Muktar Yero expressed concern that the textile industry which was once the highest employer of labour in Nigeria was gradually becoming moribund due to impact of smuggling. His death is an organizational loss to our union which at our at the Delegates Conference in Asaba March this year honoured him with INDUSTRY FRIENDLY Award with a subsequent courtesy call by the new leadership of the union.
As a Deputy Governor of Kaduna State under the administration of Arc. Namadi Sambo (now the Vice President of Nigeria), the late governor was the Chairman of the Textile Revival Committee which led to unprecedented state policy initiatives on the revival of the industry. As a governor of Kaduna State he together with the Vice President helped to reopen the hitherto closed UNTL plc in Kaduna which has commendably re-enganged over 1500 workers. Notwithstanding the serial security challenges in the state, Gov Yakowa never betrayed emotions and weavered. On the contrary, he remained to the last committed to the peace and industrial
development of the State and ended as a true statesman and patriot. A perfect gentleman, Yakowa would be credited with harmony and peace. He was never crisis excited. Indeed he was crisis shy and crisis disillusioned. He died performing a good deed; paying tribute to the dead. Indeed my last encounter with the late Governor was in Ilorin at the fidau prayer for the late Wazirin of Ilorin; the late Dr Saraki where he made his usual inclusive joke that me and comrade Adams Oshiomhole belong to nowhere than Kaduna. At this hour we can only commiserate with
the family of the late governor in particular, the government and good people of Kaduna State on this irreparable loss. May his soul rest in peace. May Allah forgive his sins and give us all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
May his successor consolidate on his peace building efforts and sustain his pan-Nigerian vision of inclusion, and prosperity for all.
Issa Aremu mni.