President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara yesterday described the death of Senator Ali Wakili from Bauchi State as ‘an incalculable loss’ to Nigeria’s democracy.
They said the late senator’s dedication to duty was remarkable and worthy of emulation.
Buhari, in a statement by his senior special assistant on media, Garba Shehu, said that the death of the senator came as a great shock to him, adding that his dedication to duty would remain one of the greatest virtues for which the deceased would be remembered.
“The passion for duty was one of the finest qualities of the late Senator Wakili,” the president said, urging other democratically elected leaders to borrow a leaf from the deceased’s record of dedication.
The president, while praying to Allah to bless the soul of the departed senator, also extended his condolences to his family, his colleagues in the National Assembly, as well as the government and people of Bauchi State over his demise, saying it is a great loss to the country.
Also, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who visited the family of the late senator in Abuja, described the deceased as a vibrant lawmaker and public servant who was very passionate about his assignment and engagements in the Senate, especially his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation and other committees in which he served.
Saraki’s comments were contained in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, which was made available to newsmen in Abuja.
“Senator Wakilii is one lawmaker you can never be in doubt where he stands on a particular issue. He spoke his mind fearlessly.
“His contributions at plenary were always very incisive and rich. I find it difficult to acknowledge that he will not resume plenary with us next Tuesday.
“My heart goes out to his family, the 8th Senate and the government and people of Bauchi State over the loss of this conscientious and patriotic Nigerian. He shall be sorely missed,” Saraki said.
The Senate president further prayed God to grant Wakili a place among the righteous, and his family and loved ones the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara described Wakili’s death as devastating and heart breaking.
The Speaker, who could not control his emotions on getting this sad news, described the late Wakilii as a personal friend, true brother and dependable ally.
In a statement signed by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan, the speaker said, “The death of Sen. Ali Wakilii is a personal loss to me. I’m short of words to describe how devastated and heartbroken I am at the passing away of this true friend, brother and confidant, with whom I had excellent brotherly relationship and association.
“We have indeed lost a distinguished parliamentarian, easy going and courageous person who had worked tirelessly both in the Senate chamber and outside to defend the interest of his constituents, Bauchi State and the downtrodden members of the society in the country in general.”
According to the speaker, during his short but eventful stay in the National Assembly, Sen. Wakilii distinguished himself with his characteristic display of patriotism, forthrightness and logical skills during debates and other legislative duties.
“We in Bauchi State and, in particular, Bauchi South Senatorial District, have lost a worthy ambassador and a distinguished gentleman. But we’ll take solace in the fact that his humanitarian services and other accomplishments will continue to be a source of inspiration to us all,” Dogara said.
The immediate past president of the Senate, Senator David Mark, also expressed shock and sadness over Wakili’s sudden death.
Senator Mark, in a press statement signed by his media assistant, Mr Paul Mumeh, said, “I am shocked and saddened by the sudden demise of our colleague and friend. It is devastating.
“Senator Wakili was a peacemaker. He always craved for fairness, justice and national unity. He was a principled, focused and resourceful parliamentarian who identified with the ordinary people. He fought for the welfare of citizens without compromise. He practised inclusive politics that provided the greatest benefit to the largest number of his constituents.”
In his condolence message, Senator Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi North), said: “We have lost a true democrat, a great conversationalist, someone who always made reasonable contributions to debates in plenary. His input will always challenge us to rethink our ideas. “