Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was in Zaria on Wednesday for the 3rd day prayers of late Emir Shehu Idris who he described as a friend and confidant.
The former Nigerian President who looked sad, said he was in Zaria not to mourn but to celebrate his friend and adviser for many years.
“The reign of the former emir coincided with the period I started government in Nigeria as a military head of state and when I came back as president. He helped me.”
“I got from him all the help I needed in running the affairs of this country as best I can remember.”
” I remember a particular problem I had in plateau, I have nobody to help me in meditation and reconciliation, sorting out the age-long problem, then I called him. The emir was a reconciliatory and a man of peace; a man who showed no discrimination either ethnic, religious or socially,” he said.
Obasanjo admonished Nigerians to take a clue from the life of late Shehu Idris, saying “whether we like it or not, short or long; sooner or later, we have to depart. My prayer is that the life of peace he has lived and the peace that descended in Zazzau Emirate during his reign may continue to pervade the Emirate, Kaduna state and whole of Nigeria.”
Also at the 3rd day prayer were the Chairman Governors’ Forum and Ekiti state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Chairman Northern Governors Forum,Mr. Simon Lalong of Plateau state.
The prayers was held at the palace of the Emir of Zazzau. It was attended by the governors of Kaduna state, Nasir Elrufai; Abubakar Bello of Niger state and Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa state.
Many emirs were also in attendance. Governor of Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi said they were in Zaria as a delegation on behalf of Nigerian Governors to pay their respect and condolences to the citizens of Zazzau and Kaduna state.
According to him, the late emir spent meritorious years on the throne and the community witnessed significant development as Zaria was transformed into a citadal of learning and a respected centre of culture.
The late emir, he said, was a bridge. He prayed that God Almighty will grant him Aljanna Firdausi.
Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Governor of Plateau state Simon Lalong, said he was representing the Northern Governors who were supposed to be at the prayers.
“The late emir was a father to all in Nigeria and Africa and his loss was a great loss to all,” he said.
” He died at a time when our forum was talking to him on how to get sustainable peace in the north.”
“We had missed him for he has left a legacy of cultivation of peaceful cohabitation and unity in the region. It is a time to use his legacy to ensure that there is peace and unity in this region and Nigeria at large.”
“On behalf of the Northern Governors I commiserate with you and pray for God to give you fortitude to bear this loss,” he said.
Governor Nasiru El-Rufa’i of Kaduna state said the state government lost a confidant and adviser who had guided the government on many issues.
The state government, he said, benefited from the wealth of the emirs experience because he worked with over 20 past governors of Kaduna state. ” We pray to God to grant him highest grade of Paradise,” he said.
El-Rufa’i commended Obasanjo, governors, emirs and other dignitaries who attended the 3rd day prayers for the late emir.