Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 16 January 2018 | 1,712 times
Nigeria’s Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), has shunned the launching of a RAYUWA (meaning life in Hausa), a book launched in memory of late former Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, 54 years after his death in the 1966 coup.
Gowon was to serve as the Chairman of the launch on Monday at Arewa House, Kahuna, of the book written in Hausa by Danlami Baban Tanko.
Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalam Abubakar, Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice Presidents Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo, General Theophilus Danjumma (rtd.), Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Justice Mamman Nasir, Adamu Ciroma, Professor Ango Abdullahi, Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of Defence, and Lamido Turaki, former Minister of special duties, whose names were on the list invited dignitaries, were also conspicuously absent and did not send representatives.
Some of the dignitaries absent were attending a Conference on “The North and The Challenges of Leadership” at Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Center in Kaduna.
A former External Affairs Minister, Chief M.T Mbu, had in a Vanguard Newspaper publication of September 26, 2010, sparked off a controversy when he claimed that Tafawa Balewa died of asthma. The claim was disputed by those who held on to the view that Balewa had been shot dead by coup plotters who had abducted him, among other political leaders of the country, on January 15, 1966.
The Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, at the launch called for unity amongst Nigerians, especially northerners.
Represented by the Executive Director Service (EDS) of Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company (KRPC) Abdullahi Idris, the Baru described late Sir Tafawa Balewa as an embodiment of unity.
“I want to call on Nigerians especially the people of Northern Nigeria to emulate Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s peace efforts.
“This book has been launched the same day our great leader was assassinated. Let me appeal to all Nigerians especially Northerners to unite at these trying times,” Baru said.
The GMD added: “Abubakar Tafawa Balewa gave his blood to the service of this nation. He gave all for the unity of this country. I want to call on all Nigerians especially the youth to also give their all to the service of this nation.”
He commended the writer of the book and the family of Tafawa Balewa for reminding Nigerians about the peace efforts and achievement of the late sage, adding that with unity Nigeria will move forward.
“He is the first and the only Prime Minister of this nation. He is one of the most respected founding fathers of this great nation and it is not surprising that we witness the gathering of many establishments here,” Baru added.
On the activities of KRPC’s monitoring team on fuel stations, the GMD said it has been effective, adding that all the filling stations must adhere to the Federal Government’s approved price.
Speaking on behalf of the Tafawa Balewa’s family, one of his grand children, Hajara Yakubu Wanka, expressed dismay over the poor turnout of people, especially the dignitaries.
“What we were told about the legacy of Sir Abubakar was the legacy of friendship and peace. There is no where we go as a family that we don’t have a family friend in the whole Nigeria particularly in the North,” she said.
Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kahuna State and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, as well as former Bauchi State Governor Isah Yuguda were among those who sent representatives.
About N15 million was realised at the occasion, with NNPC GMD Kanti Baru as the highest launcher with N5 million.
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