By Adejoke Adeleye
Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has described as shocking the death of Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye, just as he recounted the time they worked together.
Martins-Kuye died on Sunday at the age of 78.
Obasanjo, in a condolence letter to Engr. Bolaji Martins-Kuye, for the Family of Late Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye, said it was with shock that he received the sad news of the passing of Martins-Kuye.
“This, no doubt, is a moment of great grief for you and the entire family, but it is also clear that the deep sense of loss over the demise of your father is shared by many like me. I hasten therefore to address this letter to commiserate with you all over this painful bereavement,” he said.
He said Martins-Kuye was, in fact, being mourned by countless others, as his transition was a huge loss not only to Ogun State but also to the country as a whole.
“He was a Distinguished Senator, a committed nationalist and an effective representative of his people. His thoughts, utterances and deeds were completely devoid of political partisanship. He was a detribalised Nigerian and had friends from all over the country.
“On a personal, as well as socio-political, level, I feel the burden of the irreparable loss of one of the senior and dedicated leaders in our great party then, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). As you know, apart from being my friend, confidant and political associate of many years, Senator Martins-Kuye worked closely with me in PDP and government, particularly as my Minister of State for Finance during my administration as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1999 and 2003 and I can attest unreservedly to his being a democrat to the core and a committed patriot who worked tirelessly for the unity of the nation. Of course, he was a seasoned politician noted for his tremendous organisational ability.
“He demonstrated wisdom, honesty and good leadership. He established friendship, harmony and accommodation among the people of Nigeria. As a community leader and a prominent patriot, Senator Martins-Kuye earned the respect of his people, who conferred on him the well deserved title of Asiwaju of Ago-Iwoye by His Royal Highness, Oba Abdul-Razaq Adesina Adenugba, the Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye, which was no doubt a testimony not only for his great commitment for the progress of Ago-Iwoye and the rest of Ogun State but also for his abiding faith in national unity.
“He exhibited very good leadership qualities, wisdom and wealth of experience which indeed he put to use in the discharge of his responsibility to the Ago-Iwoye Chiefs-in-Council as well as upholding the institution’s tradition of excellence,” he said.
Obasanjo said many would remember him for his life of struggle, his courage, his contributions to the public service, and for his political disposition which sought associates and comrades outside his geographical origin.
He said Martins-Kuye belonged to the rare group of Nigerian politicians who eschewed ethnic chauvinism even at the risk of incurring the displeasure of his kinsmen, saying that in death, he would be honoured for contributing to the legacy of national unity and integration by many friends across the nation.
“While words are hardly enough to express our sympathy at this time, you can definitely take justifiable pride in the fact that your late father was a statesman who gave of his best to his fatherland. He will be sorely missed by all of us.
“I hereby extend on behalf of my family and on my own behalf our sincere condolences on the transition of your dear father and pray that the Almighty Allah grant you and the family, including his wife, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace,” he said in the condolence letter.