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NPAN, NUJ, NGE Pay Tributes


REACTIONS have continued to trail the death of President Umar Yar’Adua in Abuja on Wednesday after a protracted illness. In a statement by its President, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria said it mourned and sympathised with the Yar’Adua family on the transition of their illustrious son, President Umaru Yar’Adua.

“We recall that, during the early months of his presidency, he twice invited members of our association to dialogue with him on the problems of the nation and we came away with the impression that, had he not been handicapped by his illness, … he probably would have become a great president.”

The Deputy President, Tukur Abdulrahman and Secretary General, John Ndukauba, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) also expressed the guild’s condolence to President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigerians on the passing on.

The death of Yar’Adua, the guild said, “is a monumental loss to the country as it strives to consolidate on the gains of democratic governance after several years of debilitating years of military rule.”

The statement added: “Yar’Adua would be remembered for the strides the country made during his short tenure especially setting in motion the process for peace in the Niger Delta through the amnesty programme, the machinery for the electoral reforms and his unwavering commitment to combat the scourge of corruption.”

The guild noted that the late Yar’ Adua’s policy on corruption was exemplified by the fact that he declared his assets on assumption of office thus challenging other public office holders to follow.

“Yar’Adua’s enunciation of the 7-point agenda which sets out the major thrust of his administration was welcomed by all Nigerians,” the statement said.

While welcoming the smooth transition of power in the executive arm of government, which has shown that the country is firmly on the right track of democratic practice and due process, the guild said it hoped “President Goodluck Jonathan would build on the foundation laid by Yar’Adua by ensuring that the country has an electoral process in which the votes of Nigerians count and a credible leadership emerges for the country.”

It said: “The challenge before President Jonathan is also to confront the myriad of economic problems facing the country- the comatose power sector, creating jobs for the army of jobless youths, poor security in the country, the poor road network and the imperative of food security.”

According to a statement by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), which was signed by its National Secretary, Shu’aibu Usman Leman, the union said it would remember the late President for his principled stance on national issues, as an honest leader, simple but firm who had a well articulated progamme for Nigeria. “In his desire to end the embarrassing and costly problem of the Niger Delta, he extended an amnesty to all the militants who renounced violence. That singular act remains the most fundamental and credible attempt at resolving the Niger Delta conundrum,” the statement said.

It added that the late President’s honesty and humility were worthy of emulation, as it could be easily recalled that immediately after he assumed office he declared his assets publicly and promised to strictly adhere to the rule of law.

“He would also be credited for conceding to the fact that the elections that brought him to power did not meet the required standard of transparency, even as the then INEC Chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu was blatant in adjudging the exercise as free and fair,” Leman said in the statement.

“Although Yar’Adua did not live long enough to achieve what he had promised Nigerians, coupled with the fact that his brief spell as President was constantly interrupted by ill-health, he had succeeded in making his own veritable contributions to the nation’s development,” he added.

The union called on the new President to carry on from where Yar’Adua was unable to make any meaningful impact, especially in the power sector, and area of electoral reforms, which he initiated and the anti corruption campaign.

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