Condolences to Atiku: Nwobodo, Omehia, Turaki, Ugochukwu, Oyinlola headline visits


The Asokoro, Abuja residence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has been streaming with high-profile visitors within the last 24 hours.

Atiku left Nigeria for the United Arab Emirates, (UAE), after meetings with the organised private sector and the top echelon of the Nigerian media in Lagos penultimate week, in furtherance of his presidential campaign.

He is the standard bearer of the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).

Atiku cut short his trip and returned on Saturday September 24, 2022.

This followed the unfortunate demise of his most trusted, longserving aide, Abdullahi Nyako, in the early hours of Thursday September 22, in Dubai.

Delegations and individual mourners across the spectrum of the nation’s politics and economy, have been paying condolence visits to Atiku who is the chief mourner in many respects. Second Republic Governor of old Anambra State, Jim Nwobodo led a delegation of South East leaders to Atiku’s residence evening Sunday September 25, 2022.

Third Republic Governor of Enugu State, John Nwodo and former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives who was also governor of Imo State Emeka Ihedioha, were on the visit.

Similarly, one-time presidential running mate to Atiku, Ben Obi and former governor of Abia, Theodore Ahamaefule Orji, were on the team.

Former Minister of Special Duties in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Saminu Turaki, SAN, led representatives of the Federal Executive Council of that era, on a visit to Atiku, earlier today.

Former Minister for Women Affairs, Inna Ciroma, and her colleagues in Sports, Ibrahim Isa-Bio, as well as the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide-Balogun, were in the group.

Celestine Omehia who served briefly as governor of Rivers State, led a high-powered delegation of leaders from the state to the residence of the erstwhile Vice President.

Former Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus; former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Austin Opara and Senator representing Rivers East, George Thompson Sekibo, were present. Similarly, former Senator Lee Maeba; former Transport Minister, Abiye Precious Sekibo, and House of Representatives Member, Chinyere Igwe, were on the visit.

Pioneer Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) and former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, (NGE), Onyema Ugochukwu; renowned journalist and former presidential aide, Tunde Olusunle, and former military administrator of Lagos State, and governor of Osun State, respectively, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, also visited.

Also around to support the grieving PDP flagbearer were former Minister of State for Works and Housing, Saleh Shehu, and former deputy governors of Sokoto and Zamfara states, Mukhtar Shagari and Mahdi Aliyu-Gusau; renowned Borno State politician, Gambo Lawan, and business moguls, Jide Omokore and Tunde Ayeni.

Abdullahi Nyako, who had been on the personal staff of Atiku Abubakar for the last two and half decades, died in his sleep in the before dawn on Thursday September 22, 2022.

Olusunle, his friend and colleague from the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency, had exchanged chats with him late into the evening the previous night and was thoroughly astounded when news of his exit filtered in.

A very well educated and experienced bureaucrat, he was deployed from the federal civil service to work with Atiku following his assumption of office May 29, 1999.

He was designated “Principal Secretary” to the Vice President, a job he executed with every commitment and distinction.

His relationship with Atiku had deepened at the expiration of Obasanjo/Atiku government in 2007, so much that Atiku retained his services thereafter.

Nyako who obtained a 1981 degree from the Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU), Zaria and a 1990 masters in public administration from the University of Jos, (Unijos), was called to the bar in 2007, after earning a degree in law from the University of Abuja, (UniAbuja).

He joined the federal civil service in 1982 and served in various sensitive positions, including the Political Affairs Department in the Office of the President, between 1982 and 1987.

He also served as Administrative Assistant on Special Duties, Office of the First Lady, (Maryam Babangida), from 1991 to 1993. He was also Executive Director, Local Organising Committee, (LOC), of the FIFA World Cup, the World Youth Championship, tagged Nigeria ’95, from December 1993 to December 1994.

He was born in Kojoli, Jada local government area, (LGA), Adamawa State. He would have been 64 on November 11, 2022.

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