By Florence Onuegbu
The Lagos State Government has set up a four-member committee to ensure a befitting burial for former military governor of the state, retired Rear Adm. Ndubuisi Kanu.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said this on Friday, during a condolence visit to the family of Late Kanu, at the deceased’s residence in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Kanu, an elder statesman and leader of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), died on Wednesday, at the age of 77.
Sanwo-Olu said the state government would participate fully in all the programmes leading to the final burial of the former military governor.
He described the late elder statesman as a detribalised Nigerian.
“He (Ndubusi Kanu) was a man that I personally had come to respect. He was a man that had supported our government from day one.
“He was a man that I personally respect, not because he is no more with us but he had been to my office on two occasions and had attended all of our events as a pillar of support.
“He was completely detribalised. He was a builder and a brother from across the Niger. He was a true Nigerian that we all need to celebrate.
“So, that is why we are here humbly for and on behalf of the government and people of Lagos State to reassure you that the state is solidly beside you in this time of grief.
“We and other stakeholders are right beside you because he was not just a man for one part, he was a national figure.
“We will work with other stakeholders to ensure that we immortalise and give him a befitting passage of exit out of this world,´´ Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor was accompanied on the visit by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat; the Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG) Mrs Folasade Jaji; Chief of Staff, Mr Tayo Ayinde; and some members of the State Executive Council.
Delivering the Lagos State Government condolence message to the deceased’s family, Hamzat hailed Late Kanu’s contribution to the state and Nigeria, noting that the former military governor was irreplaceable.
The deputy governor said that Kanu was one of those that laid the pillar of what was being benefitted presently, when he became the military governor in 1976.
“And most importantly, his contribution to what we are now benefitting in the country, which is democracy; because if people like him were in short supply, this country will not be like this.
“People like him, even though they are not many, stood firm. They went through all sorts of terrible things but they were good men.
“So, for us in Lagos, we celebrate his life because we know that only God will live forever and that we, as human beings, will come and exit the world at some point.
“But what is important is, what do you do with your life? I think we can say it boldly that our father lived a good life,´´ Hamzat said.
Speaking on behalf of the deceased’s family, the widow of the late elder statesman, Mrs Gladys Ndubuisi Kanu, appreciated the Lagos State government for offering to finance the burial of her husband.
She praised the Sanwo-Olu administration for bringing a new face to governance in Lagos State.
“Since this current government came into power, we have seen a lot of changes between the previous government and this one.
“This current government has achieved a lot. I admire the young governor. He is full of ideas and very hard working, and also his deputy.
“Thanks for the visit and for offering to finance the burial of our husband, father, grandfather, cousin and uncle.
“On few occasions, I have been with him (late husband) when he makes a call to his Excellency (Gov. Sanwo-Olu) and he answered and they discussed. That is the way he has been participating with the young, very hardworking governor of Lagos State,´´ she said.
Also speaking at the event, the Secretary and spokesman of NADECO, Mr Ayo Opadokun, commended the positive contribution of the late Kanu to Lagos State and Nigeria.
Opadokun stressed the role Kanu played as a formidable force after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and return of Nigeria to democratic path on May 29, 1999.