As it is a feature of life, the cold hands of death gripped many prominent Nigerians, world leaders and others who lost their lives through Boko Haram insurgency, killer herdsmen and flooding
By Anayo Ezugwu
The year 2018 will be remembered for the death of many prominent personalities in Nigeria and across the globe. For instance, Tony Anenih, former minister of works and former chairman, Board of Trustees, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, died on October 28, at the age of 85. He was one of the founding fathers of the PDP and will be remembered as one of the most influential politicians of his era. He was nicknamed ‘Mr Fix It’ for his ability to manipulate process.
The country also lost Frederick Fasehun, founder of Odua People’s Congress, OPC, on December 1. He died at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, after a brief illness. He was 83 years old.
The cold hands of death also caught Dozie, Onyeanusi Ikedife, former president general, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, who died in Nnewi, Anambra State, on Tuesday December 11. He was aged 88. Likewise, on December 10, Salihu Ibrahim, former chief of army staff, died at the age of 83. He joined the army in 1956 and was trained at the Nigerian Military College.
Ibrahim rose to become the army’s chief from 1990 to 1993, during the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida. Upon retirement, he famously tagged the service as “an army of anything goes,” his response to the seeming lack of professionalism in the army. In 2013, he was appointed chairman of the board of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Abba Kyari, former military governor of north central state, also died on November 26, after a brief illness at the age of 80. He was the military governor of the defunct North Central State -now Kaduna and Kastina States during the regime of General Yakubu Gowon.
He held various appointments in the military, including Platoon Commander and then Transport Offices in the 1 Brigade Transport Company, Second-in-Command and then Commander in the Nigerian Army Artillery, commander of 1 Brigade, Kaduna and Commanding Officer 5th Battalion, Nigerian Army, Kano.
After his retirement, Kyari led the northern delegates to the 1994 National Constitutional Conference, and was appointed chairman of the National Defence Committee of the conference. He was later appointed to the board of directors of First Bank of Nigeria, Standard Alliance Insurance and Merchant Bank of Commerce.
On March 6, Aliyu Akwe-Doma, former governor of Nasarawa State, died at the age of 75. He died at an Israeli hospital after a brief illness. Akwe-Doma ran successfully for election as governor of Nasarawa State in April 2007, on the platform of the PDP. He contested for re-election in 2011, but lost to Governor Umar Tanko Al-Makura.
March 8, saw the death of Theodore Austin Mukoro, veteran actor and advertisement guru, at the age of 89. Mukoro hit fame as the first headmaster in the iconic television programme of the 80’s, ‘The Village Headmaster.’ He was one of the early faces and voices of television in Africa as a pioneer newscaster on Western Nigeria Television, WNTV, Ibadan.
The country also lost Bishop Joseph Danlami Bagobiri, Bishop of Kafanchan Catholic Diocese, who died at the age of 61 on February 27. Until his death, he was the pioneer Bishop of Kafanchan. Bishop Bagobiri was born on November 8, 1957, in Fadan Kagoma, in Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
On July 27, Abubakar Hashidu, a former governor of Gombe State, died at 74. Hashidu was the governor of the state from May 1999 to May 2003, having been elected under the platform of the defunct All Peoples’ Party, APP, which later changed its name to All Nigeria Peoples Party. He had also served as minister of water resources, as well as that of agriculture and rural development, under the regime of Ibrahim Babangida.
Likewise, on September 21, David Bamigboye, first military governor of Kwara State, died at the age of 78. He ruled Kwara from May 1967 to July 1975, after it had been divided from the old Northern Region during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon.
In 1968, Bamigboye created the Kwara State Ministry of Education, with a department to handle Scholarship/Bursary matters. In 1971 he announced a decision to establish the Kwara State Polytechnic, which came into existence in 1972.
The year under review also saw the death of many Nigerians as a result of Boko Haram, farmer/herders crises and flooding across the country. According to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, the country lost more than 100 lives and properties worth billions of Naira as a result of flooding across the nation.
On the farmers/herders and Boko Haram killings, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, said killer herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents killed 1,750 people in the first six months of 2018. The attack and killing of military personnel on Nigerian Army 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Borno State, was not part of these statistics.
On the international scene, Winnie Mandela, anti-apartheid campaigner and the former wife of South Africa’s most famous and first black leader, Nelson Mandela, died at 81 on April 2. She had been in and out of hospital since the beginning of the year following a long illness. She died peacefully surrounded by friends and loved ones, a family statement said.
Former US President, George H.W. Bush died on November 30 at the age of 94. His death came after his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush, passed away on April 17 at the age of 92. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, lived longer than any of his predecessors.
Also on August 25, US lost Senator John McCain, a senior member of the United States Senate and former presidential candidate at 81. He died after years of battling with brain cancer. McCain, a senator from Arizona, announced he had gioblastoma condition in July 2017, leading many to fear that he would not be around for much longer.
He was confined to a wheelchair for several months but his condition did not stop him from taking the political centre stage, especially by railing against what he saw as the excesses of President Donald Trump. McCain was the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in 2008. He, however, lost to Barrack Obama, in a defeat that many attributed to the growing unpopularity of then-incumbent George Bush and the collapse of the capital markets.
– Jan. 1, 2019 @ 00:25 GMT |