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  • Maitama Sule: Curtain calls for a colossus
  • The death of front-line nationalist, politician and
    diplomat, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, has
    continued to elicit reactions from Nigerians
    across the country. The erudite and respected
    elder statesman died on Sunday, 2nd July 2017
    at a hospital in Cairo, Egypt.
    Maitama Sule belonged to the generation of
    Nigeria’s founding fathers who fought for our
    independence. He was fondly called the Golden
    Voice from the North because of his oratorical
    skills which he used to maximum effect to
    dazzle his listeners. Even in advanced age and
    failing health he remained his vintage, erudite
    self as his voice retained its charm and power
    as he spoke passionately of his dream for
    Nigeria.
    But last Sunday that voice went silent, signifying
    that though death has its way on the mortal
    flesh, it can never steal the noble legacies
    people leave behind.
    In a condolence letter, President Muhammadu
    Buhari said of the departed elder statesman: “As
    a person, I found him personable with unceasing
    good humour. Nothing personified his faith
    more than the fact that on losing his sight, he
    did not retreat into himself sulking on account of
    his ill-fortune. Quite to the contrary, he
    honoured virtually all invitations extended to
    him and spoke as usual with singular eloquence
    and unparalleled wit. In my discussions with
    him, I greatly valued his counsel, and I never
    ceased to be amazed by his concern for the
    well-being of his country rather than his
    personal interests”.
    Indeed, an eloquent testimony of how Nigerians
    value and appreciate his contribution to the
    country’s development process and
    achievements so far is the flood of tributes that
    have continued to flow from individuals from all
    walks of life.
    While describing his death as a great loss to the
    country, many have called on the Federal
    Government to immortalise him.
    Maitama Sule, the Dan Masanin Kano, was born
    in 1929 at Ungwar Yola in present day Kano
    Municipality. He started formal education by
    enrolling at Shahuci Elementary School in 1937,
    and on completion he proceeded to the Kano
    Middle School and Kaduna College (now Barewa
    College) in 1943. Among his many notable
    accomplishments were his emergence at the age
    of 20 as the first Vice-President of the Northern
    Peoples Congress when it was formed in 1949.
    He was elected into the House of
    Representatives as the youngest Member of
    Parliament (MP). He became the Minister of
    Mines and Power in 1954 at the age of 29. He
    became Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to
    the United Nations after he narrowly missed the
    opportunity of being nominated presidential
    candidate of the defunct National Party of
    Nigeria, NPN, that won federal power in 1979.
    We join millions of Nigerians in bidding farewell
    to Maitama Sule, and urge his family to take
    heart.

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