. . . Gov. Dickson, Azekome, Shehu Sani, Yero, eulogise him
By: Luka Binniyat
KADUNA – Five years after Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, Governor of Kaduna state, perished in a chopper crash in Bayelsa state, some dignitaries converged in Kaduna at a book launch related to him and edited by Francis Ulal Damina.
They include Governor of Bayelsa state, Chief Seriaka Dickson, Former Governor of Kaduna state, Alh. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto
Others are Bishop Joseph Bakobiri, Senator Shehu Sani, Senator Otham Hunkuyi and others.
The Book titled, “Governor Yakowa’s Funeral Homily – Matter Arising,” is a compilation of articles and strong reactions that visited the powerful funeral speech delivered by Kukah at the burial ceremony of Yakowa in December 2012, in Yakowa’s native home, of Kagoma, Jema’a Local Government Area, LGA, of Kaduna state.
At yesterday’s event, Kukah, said in a speech read by Rev. Fada Anthony Shawuya: “Looking back, I will take absolutely nothing; I repeat nothing from this sermon, which sparked off the responses and what you are celebrating today. Today, what do we have in Southern Kaduna? Today, what do we have in the north? Today, does the north feel strong or weak? Today, is the north better united or divided? Today, is the north more just, fair to its own citizens? Today, we are reaping the fruits of the exclusionist policies that sought to privilege tiny, unproductive and selfish elite whose gargantuan greed only fed it. Its belch is what has produced the millions of abandoned children that roam the streets in northern Nigeria. These selfish exclusionist policies laid the foundation for the civil war and the mindless fratricidal toxicity that is today Boko Haram. Metaphorically, the struggle to end all this is what is going on in Southern Kaduna.
“However, we are proud that Yakowa left us huge, unforgettable, indelible, ingrained, unfading, deep spiritual and moral infrastructural highways and social amenities such as, Integrity, Respect, Accommodation, Humility, Goodness, Kindness, Righteousness, Morality, Rectitude, Honesty, Truthfulness, Honor, Probity; Propriety, Decency, Respectability, Nobility, Worthiness, Merit, Trustworthiness; Blamelessness, Purity.
“These were the qualities that endeared and made General Buhari to cancel his birthday celebration which I was billed to speak as a mark of honour to Yakowa. Today, we pray for his quick recovery.
“Some of my friends have continued to use this sermon against me, pretending that it was divisive. Well, looking back let those with a bone of honesty in their body rise up and refute the claims I made.
“I never set out to write a memorable speech, but, as it has turned out, even Martin Luther King’s historical speech, I have a Dream, turned out differently because in the end, the circumstances dictated that he departed from his main text. So, moments such as these call for sobriety and reflection and inspiration that is often outside the control of the speaker. I am grateful to God that the honour I did to a great man has created ripples that will outlive us all,” he said.
Speaking in the same tone, Catholic Bishop of Kafanchan Bishop Jospeph Bagobiri said: “Yakowa and the likes of Makarfi and and Namadi and the Jonathans at the Federal level, though us that in exercising leadership in a plural society our trust should not be limited to only those entrusted to only those who worship with us, speak like us and are of the same mind set like us,” he said.
The Bishop called on victims of Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorism to free themselves from fear and work towards rebuilding a new lives.
He lamented what he termed institutionalized injustics in Kaduna state, saying the political structure was skewed to favour a particular side.
“Within Kaduna South LGA, for instance,” he said, “Settlements’ of one ethnic group which has a minority number, have been allocated 339 polling units, while the others which is the majority has 68 polling units,” he pointed out.
Governor Dickson, who was represented by Senator Foster Agoda (Bayelsa West Senatorial District) lamented that Yakowa died in Bayelsa in the course of attending the burial ceremony of the father of late Uranta Dauglas, as mark of his friendship with the Bayelsa people.
“He died building bridges of friendship, thus uniting us forever with Kaduna State, Southern Kaduna and his family,” he said.
Former Governor of Kaduna state, Alh. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, who was Yakowa’s deputy, said he learnt very much from Yakowa. He agreed that the Funeral Homily of Yakowa had stirred all kinds of reactions, but that he was going to speak on it one day.
The review of the Book, Chief Mike Ezekhome, agreed that Yakowa was a great leader and the first Christian to become governor of Kaduna state.
He said that the controversy over Bishop Kukah’s Funeral speech at Yakowa’s burial ceremony was needless because he spoke and admonished wrong doing it the way a serious clergy would do.
The author of the Book, Francis Damina, said he was surprised at the diatribe that visited Kukah’s homily. According to him, being a protégé of Kukah, he compiled some published articles and opinions on the matter, had discussions with the authors and they all agreed that it should be published into a book.