…Tinubu devastated by passage of Emir who made him Jagaban
Tributes poured in yesterday for the late Emir of Borgu in Niger State, Alhaji Haliru Dantoro, Kitoro III, with President Muhammadu Buhari calling him “a great patriot, indefatigable unifier and bridge-builder who did his utmost best as a political leader and traditional ruler to strengthen the bonds that bind all Nigerians together in the interest of national peace, harmony and progress.”
Close friend of the deceased and former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, hailed him as “a major team player in the struggle for the new political dispensation we now enjoy in Nigeria today.”
Dantoro died in a German hospital on Friday, aged 77.
President Buhari expressed great sadness and a deep feeling of immense personal and national loss over the news of the passing away of the Emir and extended condolences to his family and the people of Borgu Emirate.
He said the deceased ruled over his people “for many years with commendable wisdom, benevolence and an uncommon dedication to duty.”
He also joined the government and people of Niger State in mourning Alhaji Haliru whom he referred to as “a friend and associate of many years” with whom he shared the vision of a peaceful, politically stable, united, progressive and prosperous Nigeria to which every citizen will be proud to belong.
Tinubu said he received news of the Emir’s death with shock, disbelief and great sadness, coming “less than 48 hours after I visited him and witnessed how close he was to full recovery.”
“He was full of life, jovial and eager to return to Nigeria over the weekend. I feel a profound sense of personal loss on the sudden passing away of my royal father, a friend, brother and above all a confidant and supporter,” he said of the man who conferred on him the title of Jagaban Borgu in 2006.
Tinubu added: “His death is most painful coming at such a critical time when Nigeria was in dire need of his forthrightness and wisdom. He was a man who loved Nigeria truly. His patriotism was never in question. His loyalty was never in doubt. Nigeria for him was a nation of promise with diverse people bound together in one fate.
“He did not just dream of a totally united nation in word and deed, he worked tirelessly, day and night to seek to build bridges where there was none and to unite friends and foes. He was a people’s person and everywhere in Nigeria for him was home. He was highly progressive in his orientation and practice.
“Whenever the history of this epoch is written, he will be reserved several pages for his sacrifice for Nigeria, his love for country and its people and his unmatchable contribution to building a better and just society. Through his career as a public servant, a Senator and later a prominent royal father, Alhaji Haliru Dantoro, Kittoro III, made sacrifices and contributed immensely to nation building. He will not be forgotten because his likes are rare.
“I came to know him very personally before he turbaned me the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom. But thereafter, we became brothers, just like family. He never left me alone and I never left him alone either. We shared a common bond. A common patriotic desire to see Nigeria rise up to her full potentials, we were fired up in our belief that though the journey to nation hood may be long and tortuous , Nigeria had what it takes to attain greatness. We both shared the responsibility of contributing our time, resources and intellect to this onerous task.”
He prayed for the repose of the late Emir’s soul.