The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and Senator Abdullahi Adamu, yesterday joined other eminent Nigerians to express condolences to the people and government of Kaduna State on the passing away of an elder statesman and one time Minister of Transport, Alhaji Umaru Dikko.
In their various statements made available to THISDAY, they described the late politician as a nationalist, committed democrat and patriot.
On his part, Tambuwal described Dikko as a committed democrat, who rendered selfless service to his country when called upon to do so.
He said despite the seemingly negative public perception about him, Dikko remained committed to the ideals of good governance, peaceful coexistence and mutual respect for all persons.
“Until he died in London, Dikko believed in Nigeria and its ability to attain greatness. In his life, there are lessons for today’s politicians to learn from. He was a team player who promoted inclusiveness in decision making,” he said.
Uduaghan, in a statement signed by his Press Secretary, Mr. Felix Ofou, described the late minister as a nationalist who lived and was willing to sacrifice his life for the unity and survival of Nigeria.
“The late Alhaji Umaru Dikko will be remembered for his unusual candour and contributions in politics. Though sometimes controversial and misunderstood, you cannot take away the fact that he was a true nationalist, who was ready to put down his life for the unity and survival of the country,” he said.
Uduaghan also remarked that Dikko’s death signified the end of an era of colourful politics when politicians were noted for flamboyance and intelligent contribution to national discourse as against what obtains now where people pull down others irrespective of their potentials or quality of what they have to offer.
He therefore urged politicians to embrace the “live and let live” philosophy of the late elder of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and prayed God to give the Dikko family, as well as government and people of Kaduna State the fortitude to bear the loss.
Senator Adamu in his tribute, described Dikko’s demise as a sad loss to the nation, describing him as a patriot who meant well for the nation. He said Dikko “was more than a friend but was a guide”.
Adamu, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, said the former transport minister in the President Shehu Shagari administration was an upright person who did not corruptly enrich himself while in office as many thought. He said late Umaru Dikko was “a grossly misunderstood person who many out of ignorance often described as a multi millionaire.”
“There’s no doubt that he was very close to Shagari during the Second Republic. In fact, he was the closest minister to the then President, Shehu Shagari. But he (Dikko) was just a victim of bad press because he didn’t enrich himself as the impression was widely created then.
“I have known late Umaru Dikko since the 1970s when we worked together during the 1973 census exercise and we joined the then National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Contrary to widely held opinion, Umaru Dikko was an astute individual who gave his all in the service of the nation and was not a corrupt politician,” Adamu said.
The former Nasarawa state governor added that the late politician, who was last year appointed to chair the disciplinary committee of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), visited him at his Keffi residence about three weeks ago, during which they chatted about the polity.
Adamu said it was clear that despite his advanced age, the former minister was still deeply concerned about the turn of events in the country, particularly the schisms that have threatened the ruling PDP.
The lawmaker, while commiserating with the family of the deceased, the people of Kaduna State and the North in general over the loss, prayed Allah to forgive Dikko’s sins and reward his good deeds with paradise.