By Wole Mosadomi, Henry Umoru, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Marie-Therese Nanlong & Ibrahim HassanWuyo
Chairman, Kaduna State Council of Chiefs and 18th Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, has died.
The Waziri of Zazzau, Mallam Ibrahim Muhammad, who confirmed the emir’s death, said he died at the 44 Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna in the early hours of yesterday at the age of 84.
Shehu Idris was crowned Emir of Zazzau on February 15, 1975, and had ruled Zazzau emirate for 45 years, before his death.
His remains had since been laid to rest at his palace in Zaria besides some past emirs of the emirate.
The funeral prayers were led by the Chief Imam of Zazzau Emirate, Alhaji Dalhatu Kasimu at about 5:35pm, attended by thousands of people.
Among those in attendance were Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El-Rufa’i, Secretary to the state government, Balarabe Lawal-Abbas, Speaker of the State Assembly, Yusuf Zailani and other top government functionaries.
The Chief of Staff to the President, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari led the federal government delegation, consisting of Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.
Also at the palace was the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, and heads of military and paramilitary formations in Kaduna State.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock over the Emir’s death.
President Buhari in a condolence message to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, the government and people of Kaduna State, said the state had lost one of its longest serving monarchs.
“With the passing of Alhaji Shehu Idris, Nigeria has lost one of its longest reigning traditional monarchs whose contributions to the promotion of unity and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians cannot be forgotten for years to come.
‘‘’The Emir of Zazzau who ascended the throne in 1975, had used his long reign to serve his people with dedication and identified with their aspirations at all times, he said.”
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President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, prayed God to forgive the late Emir and grant his family and subjects the fortitude to bear the loss.
Senate President mourns
On his part, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Ola Awoniyi, Lawan said: “During his long reign, the departed Emir applied his wisdom and prestige to enhance peace and transformational development in Zazzau Emirate.
“He will continue to be remembered for his dignity, integrity and boundless love for his people and commitment to their well-being and progress.”
Northern govs forum sad
In a condolence message, the Northern Governors’ Forum, NGF, through its chairman and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, described the death of the royal father as a big loss to the people of Zazzau Emirate, Kaduna State and the nation at large.
Lalong in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, among others, said: “The late Emir lived a very productive life and represented the virtues of truth, service and honesty in his 45 years on the throne. His leadership and goodwill attracted enormous development to the Emirate and also improved the living standards of his people.
On its part, the Arewa Consultative Forum ACF, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, while informing that he ruled his Emirate through a period of rapid political, economic, social changes, said he never lost his focus on his primary responsibility – the maintenance of peace and progress in his Emirate. The Arewa Consultative Forum Condoles with his immediate family, the Zauzau Emirate and the Kaduna State government over this tragic and untimely loss. The forum will miss his fatherly advice on all issues that were tabled before him.” the ACF stated.
Kaduna CAN commiserates
Similarly, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN ,Kaduna State, through its chairman Rev.John Joseph Hayab, commiserated with the family and entire people of the Zazzau Emirate over the death the Emir, saying the late Emir “left us at a very important time of rebuilding and restoration of peace ,love and friendship in our dear state ,a role he has been playing as Emir over many years. CAN is praying to God to comfort his family, the Emirate and Kaduna State as a whole.”
Kaduna govt condoles
Also, Kaduna State Government through a statement by Governor Nasir El Rufai Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, among others, said: “Throughout his long reign of 45 years, HRH Dr. Shehu Idris worked hard for the people of Zazzau Emirate. He offered wise counsel and was committed to the goals of improving health outcomes for all our people, raising school enrolment and peace and security in the state.”
In his condolence message, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State, in a statement by his Director-General Media and Publicity, Malam Abdu Labaran, said: “Dr Shehu is a man of compassion, but death has robbed the nation of his rich and wise counsel and that created a huge vacuum that would be difficult to fill. This is because he had listening ears to all manner of people and had made good use of his contacts to advance the nation’s interests.
His death, end of an era, says Tinubu
On his part, National leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described his the death as the end of an era in Zazzau Emirate and the North.
“A detribalised Nigerian, he was committed to Nigeria’s unity and progress. He was close to many Northern leaders as he was close to Southern leaders. I have lost a friend and a father. He would be deeply missed by all those who came in contact with him, he said.”
A pillar of traditional Institution —IBB
Reacting, former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida(retd), described the late Emir as a pillar of traditional institution and a bridge between people of various ethnic groups in the country.
In a condolence message he personally signed, General Babangida said: “For 45 years, Alhaji Shehu Idris had been a pillar of our traditional institution, a bridge between people of various ethnicities and religions and a powerful force for keeping Kaduna State so cosmopolitan.
A huge loss—Uba Sani
In his condolence message, the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Uba Sani, described the death as a huge loss.
“For decades he deployed his peace building skills in managing differences in his strategic and complex domain. Through the force of his personality and deft human management, he raised the Zazzau Emirate to one of the most influential Emirates in Nigeria. ‘‘