The remains of former Governor of Kaduna State Patrick Yakowa were buried at his country home at Fadan Kagoma on Thursday.
In a tribute at the burial service held at St Paul Catholic Church, President Jonathan eulogised Yakowa describing him as a “bridge builder’’ who loved his people irrespective of their religion and tribe.
He described December 15 as a “dark Saturday.’’
“Yakowa was a nationalist. He played his roles very well as a civil servant of the old not as a civil servant of today when a director has more houses than Dangote.”
`No ethnic or religious divide in his blood,” he said.
Jonathan condoles Amina Yakowa
The president pledged the continued support of the government to the immediate family of the deceased.
He also appealed to leaders to guard their utterance in public and in private against those things that could divide and destroy the nation.
He urged the senior citizens to emphasise those things that unite the nation instead of the issues that can divide the country.
“Utterances and words of elders are just like winds and waves that move, gather momentum and cause destructive effects of which the end results of such destruction cannot be predicted.
“Responses of our young men and women are reflections of what the elders talk in public and even in private,’’ he said..
Earlier in a message, Rev. Mathew Kukah, said no one could neither teach God knowledge nor question his decisions; therefore people should not feel despondent over the death of Yakowa.
He said the deceased died at his appointed time by God and urged the people to ignore those who are wielding suspicious story about his death.
He debunked the purported claim that a section of religious divide in the state was rejoicing over the death of Yakowa.
He noted that former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, a devout Muslim, cancelled his 70th birthday in honour of Yakowa.
He said the deceased made his marks as the first child from the Christian dominated southern part of Kaduna to attain the top position at various levels of government.
Kukah said Yakowa also broke the jinx by becoming the first Christian executive governor of Kaduna.
He said the feat had seemed unattainable in the state because of certain interests who were playing politics of exclusion based on religion.
Kukah said the achievements of Yakowa as governor, particularly in development and in building bridges of unity, were testimonies to the fact that governance was not an exclusive right of a group.
Kukah urged the youths from southern Kaduna to emulate the good traits of Yakowa and be confident in themselves that they could achieve lofty positions in the state and beyond. He urged them not to surrender to doubts and feelings of inferiority.
President Jonathan and Governor Yero at the event
He also called on Yakowa’s successor, Governor Ramalan Yero, to ignore the parochial opinion of some people who were still advocating politics of exclusion in the state.
“Do not be tempted by what the wicked people claimed: that the Muslims have taken back what belong to them.
“The politics of exclusion should be reversed for a creation of a just and even society.
“This is what South Africa and America had realised and done.
“We must seek men and women of integrity for position of authority as oppose to religious sentimentality.
“We must rise up to build a united Nigerian,” he said.
Cardinal John Onaiyekan, assisted by other Clergy conducted the Requiem and the Eucharist Mass.
Also in his address, Senate President Mark praised Yakowa for working hard to sustain peace in Kaduna He stated,” Yakowa emphasized peace and we are expected to do same if we have to live together as a people and country”
Mark, who said he had to excuse himself at the National Assembly today as it passed had the 2013 budget, pointed out that unless the people of Kaduna and the country at large emphasize on issues concerning peace and unity, the death of Yakowa would be in vain.
The new Kaduna Governor, Mukhtar Yero also in his speech described his predecessor as a man who exhibited “uncommon virtue for peaceful coexistence”.
According to him, Yakowa was not only a gentle and humble leader, he was also a man that believed that it’s only through peace that a meaningful development could be achieved.
He therefore promised to emulate his good sense of leadership in the course of carrying out his duties.
Yero also announced that the fourth Kaduna Bridge has been named after Yakowa.
The wife, Amina Yakowa , the only son Jatau Yakowa , Bishop Kukah and several other dignitaries also talked about the good leadership qualities and character of the late governor .
At exactly 4.06pm the casket of Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa was finally laid to rest in the home town residence.
It was an occasion of weeping and gnashing of teeth as members of Knight of Saint Mulumba helped to lay down the casket into the grave in the compound.