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Kinsmen remember Mantu after 40 days

By Leo Sobechi
30 September 2021   |   4:10 am
Covid-19 protocols compounded the sense of loss by relations and friends of former Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu.

Ibrahim Mantu

Covid-19 protocols compounded the sense of loss by relations and friends of former Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu. A large crowd of mourners was preparing to attend the 40th day fidau, Muslim ceremony to render special supplication for the repose of the politician, who died on August 17, 2021.
Mantu, who represented Plateau Central in the Senate from 1999 to 2007, died due to complications from COVID-19 infection and was buried according to Islamic rites.

Although the Fidau prayers fell through yesterday, the family in a statement signed by Alhaji Musa Mantu and Dr. Umar Ibrahim Mantu, sons of the late Senator said the congregational prayers would not hold due to existing COVID-19 protocols.

While stressing that they decided to cancel the congregational prayers, the Mantu family noted that “some family members, friends and former associates of our father, who had missed the opportunity to visit since the sad event occurred have been contacting us and making travelling plans to come and commiserate with us.

“We want to plead with our well-wishers to spend the day to pray for the repose of his soul and always put the family in their prayers. As you can see, the Covid-19 protocol is taking new dimension and changing the way the world is relating almost on a daily basis.

“The family wants to comply with all rules and regulations as stipulated by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) safety protocols.”

Despite the interruption of the fidau prayers, Mantu’s kinsmen, including Ayuba Yilgak’ha and Chief Jonathan Sunday Akuns, used the occasion to send their condolences.

In his letter, Akuns commiserated with the Government of Plateau State, Mangu Local Government, the Pyam Traditional Council/Chiefdom and the deceased immediate family.

Akuns said Mantu was a father figure, leader and elder statesman, remarking that the former Deputy Senate President “was a true definition of a detribalised Nigerian who stood and died pursuing the unity of our country.”

Akuns recalled that Mantu’s elderly disposition, simplicity, sterling qualities and positive characters will surely be missed, adding that he contributed positively in laying solid foundation for a strong democratic structures and the growth of Nigeria.

“His departure to eternity came at a very crucial time, when his experience and statesmanship was highly required,” he noted.

On what the deceased represented to Plateau people, Akuns disclosed that the former Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament was a team player, unifier and political colossus, noting that his death marked the exit of a political giant.  

Akuns stated: “I am not used to, or favourably disposed to writing on famous men whose legacies are in the public domain, but feel compelled to pen down some few things about late Distinguished Senator Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu, who passed on recently.

“He was a man who rose in his political adventure to become one of the most vibrant Senators ever produced in the history of Nigerian politics. Before his demise in the early hours of Tuesday, August 17, 2021, the late Senator was a rare breed African politician, who made a clear statement as a charismatic political influencer in Nigeria, especially, when he held sway as the Deputy Senate President from 2003 to 2007. 

“The deceased was a witty political giant with a unique capacity to decipher and wriggle his way out of any complex or dicey situation characteristic of Nigerian politics. At a point in the country, this pragmatist assumed the status of a larger-than-life political figure.”

Akuns recalled that the late Mantu’s journey to greatness began when he contested and won the Plateau Central Senatorial seat under the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP). He said the victory was short-lived following the sudden death of the then Head of State General Sani Abacha, which led to the consequential truncation of the democratic transition of that time.

He narrated: “Not tired, the Distinguished Senator joined the All Peoples Party (APP) at the resumption of another democratic transition under General Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1998, but later smartly left for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he contested for the same senatorial seat and again won convincingly.

“After four years in the Senate, the late Senator was re-elected in 2003 in a most dramatic fashion and consequently went to become the Deputy Senate President of the 5th Senate. He was saddled with that great responsibility under one of the most turbulent senate regimes in Nigeria’s political history. Late Sen. Mantu could best be described as a cat with nine lives, because he survived as Deputy Senate President under two Senate Presidents, namely, Senator Adolphus Wabara and Senator Ken Nnamani.

“During his two tenures, the Senator attracted several projects and appointments to his constituency and Plateau State in general. However, he was accused of facilitating the imposition of the controversial state of emergency in Plateau State, when all political structures were suspended during Governor Joshua Dariye’s second tenure. His role also led to the impeachment of the governor, which was later voided by the Supreme Court.”

Chief Akuns also recalled that Mantu was highly instrumental to the demystification of former governor Dariye’s grip on power, influence and the emergence of former governor Jonah David Jang as governor of Plateau state in 2007.

“This was how powerful this man was before his failed attempt to return to the Red Chamber for the third time. The defeat of Mantu by his successor, late Senator Satty Davies Gogwim was a huge blow and this marked the beginning of the political decline of this great man of influence.

“One of the things that cannot be taken away from the late political juggernaut is that he was on-top of his game and was a game-changer par excellence. He was a sound political wizard, who knew his onions in the game of politics very well,” Akuns declared.

On his part, Ayuba Yilgak’ha recalled that the late Senator was a tested political orator whose oration was a beauty to behold, adding that the man’s magic voice blended with a natural talent in social re-engineering.

Yilgak’ha declared: “Mantu died as an elder statesman full of grace in statecraft.   He was a towering political compendium. His knowledge of relevant political history was quite legendary.