President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Ababakar and former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday paid glowing tributes to the late Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Shehu Abubakar.
The emir died on Tuesday in a London hospital where he was receiving treatment.
Jonathan, who said he received the news with sadness, extended his condolences to the family of the monarch, the state Governor, Ibrahim Dankwanbo and the people of the state on behalf of the federal government.
He added that he was particularly sad because the emir ruled with immense wisdom and dedication for many years.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan said: "Recalling with appreciation the warm reception and courtesies extended to him and his delegation by the late emir during his visit to Gombe for the North-east Economic Summit in December last year, the president joins the government and people of Gombe in mourning Alhaji Shehu who will be greatly missed by his people and all who knew him.
On his part, Atiku described the late emir as a great traditional ruler, who fully identified with the aspirations and development of his people during his 30-year eventful reign.
In his tribute to the deceased released by his media office in Abuja, the former vice-president recalled that throughout his remarkable reign, the late Abubakar took passionate interest in issues such as education, which are integral components of development.
He also recalled the late Abubakar’s contributions to Nigeria’s political and democratic developments. As a delegate to the 2005 National Political Reform Conference, Atiku said the late emir played a significant part in Nigeria’s political affairs.
While condoling with the family, the people and the government of the state, the former vice-president urged other leaders to follow the example of the deceased by identifying with their people and their aspirations.
Also, Kalu described the late emir as a nation builder whose death was a huge loss to the nation.
In a condolence message by his Special Adviser, Mr. ‘Kunle Oyewumi, Kalu said: “The late Emir was a detribalized Nigerian who built friendship across the length and breadth of the country.
“He dedicated his life to the upliftment of all and sundry in the society.
“He will be remembered for selfless and patriotic efforts in ensuring a fair society.”
Kalu said the emir worked assiduously to ensure that Gombe State was developed by the various governments that had ruled the state.
Kalu urged the family of the late Emir to take solace in the fact that the deceased contributed immensely to the growth and development of the nation and lived an accomplished life.
He commiserated with the people and government of Gombe State, the Gombe Emirate Council and members of the deceased's family.
He prayed to God to grant the late traditional ruler a blissful rest.