Mr Jerry Ossai, a former Delta Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, on Monday described the late Alhaji Maitama Sule, Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the UN, as a frontline nationalist.
Ossai was reacting to the news of Sule’s death in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba.
The former commissioner also described Maitama as an “impeccable, honest and down to earth politician”.
“Dan Masanin Kano was one of Nigeria’s prominent frontline nationalists who truly was Nigerian in totality.
He was “never given to unguarded partisan hate speeches, always impeccable sartorially, honest and down to earth.
“Kano emirate and indeed the nation will, sorely miss the humble prince, peace ambassador and nationalist.”
Ossai said that the country had lost a rear gem and prayed Allah to grant his family the fortitude to bear the great loss.
He also advised Nigerian politicians to emulate the late Sule.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the late Maitama died in the early hours of Monday in a hospital in Cairo aged 87.
A politician and diplomat, Sule was born in Kano in 1929. He started his career as a teacher and was later elected into the Federal House of Representatives in 1954.
In 1958, he was Chief Information Officer to the Kano Native Authority, and in 1959, he was appointed Federal Minister of Mines and Power.
He was a member of Nigeria’s delegation to the Addis Ababa Conference of Independent African States in 1960.
The deceased statesman became Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN in 1976 during the tenure of Kurt Waldheim as Secretary-General of the world body.
He was also Federal Commissioner of Public Complaints in 1979 and vied for the ticket of the defunct National Party of Nigeria for the 1979 presidential election, but lost to Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
Sule was also assigned as representative of Nigeria’s President to the Lancaster House Talks on Zimbabwe in London and was also counsel to African Leaders on Zimbabwe crisis.
Former President Shagari appointed him Minister for National Guidance in 1983, a portfolio designed to assist the president in tackling corruption.
When 12 states were created in 1967, Sule became Commissioner for Local Government in his native Kano State. He later moved to the Ministry of Forestry, Co-operatives and Community Development.
He also served the state as Commissioner for Information.
Sule’s hard political view was that without free, fair elections and peaceful environment for people to freely express their rights, the sustainability of democracy would be under threat in Africa.
He believed in a united Nigeria, always insisting that “everyone has a gift from God’’.
He had a wife and four children.