Hundreds of mourners from within and outside Kano besieged the house of a former minister and senator, Bello Maitama Yusuf, to pay condolences to the family of “a philanthropist and teacher’’.
Daily Trust correspondent reports that people from all walks of life were seen trooping to the residence located in Tarauni, Kano metropolis. While some wore faces of sadness and sorrow, others, who could not control their emotions were seen openly weeping.
The former minister and Sardaunan Dutse, died in the early hours of Friday at the age of 76 and has since been buried in Kano in accordance with Islamic rites.
His funeral prayer was led by the Chief Imam of Kano, Professor Sani Zahraddeen immediately after the Juma’at prayer at the Kano Emir’s palace and was later buried in the popular Tarauni cemetery. He left behind two wives and nine children.
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Among top dignitaries who attended his funeral rites were Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido, incumbent governors of Kano and Jigawa states, and Senator Danladi Sankara among many others.
Bello Yusuf Maitama was born in Gwaram Local Government Area of Jigawa State in 1947.
The deceased was a politician and businessman. He was Minister for Internal Affairs in 1979 and Minister for Commerce in 1982; in the Third Republic.
He was educated at North Gate University, Washington.
Prior, to joining politics, he founded Quartz Integrated Services Nigeria Limited, a construction company, right after he finished university.
Furthermore, he was the chairman of the board of four other construction companies at the time.
He had earlier served as a registrar at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kano.
He was also a member of the Constituent Assembly.
Yusuf was elected to the Nigerian Senate for Jigawa South West constituency in April 1999, and reelected in April 2003.
He was given the title Sarduanan Dutse in his state of Jigawa. Bello Maitama later retired from politics and business, with his oldest son Yusuf continuing his legacy.
Speaking on the deceased, Baba Dahiru, who had spent nearly 60 years serving the deceased, described Maitama as an “honourable man’’. He said he was still finding it hard to come to terms with the death. However, he said given his good works while alive he was optimistic that the late Maitama would find grace in the hereafter.
Daily Trust observed that Baba Dahiru was the last man to depart the Tarauni cemetery on Friday after Sardauna was buried. He stayed there praying amidst tears.
“I spent about 60 years with him, precisely 58 years. I was always with him anywhere he was as his servant who ran all his errands. No one will tell the world about him better than me.
“The good he has done will surely meet him in the hereafter. He has spent his entire life in the service of God and educating and helping the common man with whatever was in his possession.
“Sardauna was a very dedicated man who stood for nothing but the truth. He led an exemplary and virtuous life. He was a simple, honest and caring personality.
“I am still finding it hard to believe his death despite its reality. He is gone and for good as he has retired finally from this world to rest. For me, I will be the number one person to miss him as already I am feeling empty, fully knowing that I will never see him again. We pray for his gentle soul to remain in eternal peace and forgive his shortcomings,” he said.
On his part, his first grandson, Muhammad Mustapha Aminu, described the deceased as a very peaceful person and a friendly grandfather whose caring will forever be felt not only among his loved ones but also the society.
“We have lost a dear one, a friendly person who was very caring and loving. I have never seen him angry. He was a very jovial and easygoing person. We will miss him. He was not just a grandfather to me and my siblings but a teacher and role model. We will surely miss him.
“He was someone who has set the ground for everyone in the family. I am one of those who whenever he was away for some days, I would get across to him through phone and spend some time. I personally go to him to seek advice.”
Also speaking, Senator Abdullahi Adamu Gumel said the deceased was the only minister left who served during the administration of former President Shehu Shagari.
“Sardauna was a completely gentle and honest man in all his endeavours. He lived a very fulfilling life that anybody would want to emulate. He was a devoted man who spent his life in the service of the nation and humanity. Only God can pay him for the abundant selfless service he rendered to the community.
President Bola Tinubu also expressed sadness over the passing of a former minister and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bello Maitama Yusuf.
The president, in a statement on Friday by his spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, extended sympathies and condolences to Senator Yusuf’s family and friends, as well as the government and people of Jigawa State.
“A true believer in Nigeria’s unity and stability, Senator Maitama Yusuf contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of this country.
“In the public service, he was selfless. He was dedicated to effective service delivery in order to improve the lives of Nigerians. He served Nigeria meritoriously as the Honourable Minister in the Federal Ministries of Interior and Commerce before being elected into the Nigerian Senate by his people.
“Nigerians will fondly remember and honour his memory, particularly for the courageous and pivotal role he played in countering attempts by anti-democratic forces to undermine the country’s democracy by seeking to extend the constitutional term limits of elected leaders,” the president affirmed.
Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf and his Jigawa counterpart, Umar Namadi, also joined in condoling with the family of the deceased.
Governor Yusuf, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Sunusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, described the death of Senator Bello Maitama Yusuf (Sardaunan Dutse) as a colossal loss not only to his family but also to the entire nation. He said his death has created a vacuum that would be difficult to fill considering his position in society.
The governor, while praying for the repose of the soul of late Sardauna of Dutse, also prayed for his family, Jigawa State and the nation to have the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
On his part, Governor Umar Namadi of Jigawa State in a statement signed by Hamisu Mohammed Gumel, his Chief Press Secretary, described Maitama as a respected figure in the community who has left an indelible mark on the lives of many through his dedicated service and firm commitment to the betterment of society.
“His passing represents a significant loss not only to his family but also to Jigawa State and Nigeria.
“Bello Maitama’s contributions to the development of this country and the lasting impact he has made through his philanthropy, community leadership and numerous initiatives were aimed at improving the lives of our citizens.
“He was a source of inspiration and an exemplary role model for many, embodying the virtues of compassion and dedication.
“Alhaji Bello Maitama’s passing is a profound loss for our state. We will remember him with great respect and admiration for the remarkable person he was – a dedicated religious scholar, politician, and philanthropist all rolled up in one. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”
The Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) also expressed deep sorrow over the death of an elder statesman and minister in the Second Republic.
The chairman of the forum and governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, in a statement by his spokesman, Ismaila Uba Misilli, described the late Sardaunan Dutse as a patriot, seasoned politician, distinguished parliamentarian and a respected northern leader.
He said the late elder statesman utilised his influence and wisdom in the best interest of the northern region and Nigeria as a whole.
The governor prayed to Almighty Allah to forgive the shortcomings of the deceased and reward his good deeds with Aljannat Firdaus.