President Muhammadu Buhari says he knew about the poor health condition of Maitama Sule, elder statesman, but his death took him unawares.
According to Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Buhari said this in a letter to Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state.
Sule, who is from Kano, died in Cairo, capital of Egypt, on Monday.
Shehu said the letter personally signed by Buhari will be delivered by the federal government delegation to the burial of Sule.
The deceased would be buried on Tuesday.
Below is the letter:
I have heard this morning, the death of the venerable Alhaji Maitama Sule, Dan Masanin Kano, and one of Nigeria’s famous sons. Although I knew he was in poor health for some time, his death nonetheless, came as a profound shock.
As a Minister in the First Republic, he was one of those who assisted our Founding Fathers, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to fashion Nigeria politically and lay the grounds of national co-existence.
Maitama Sule was blessed by God with a wonderful voice and outstanding eloquence. He served with distinction in the First Republic, the Second Military regime, as well as the Second Republic, without him being tainted with the remotest hint of scandal.
As a person, I found him personable with unceasing good humour. Nothing personified his faith more than the fact that on losing his sight, he did not retreat in himself sulking on account of his ill-fortune. Quite to the contrary, he honoured virtually all invitations extended to him and spoke as usual with singular eloquence and unparalleled wit.
In my discussions with him, I greatly valued his counsel, and I never ceased to be amazed by his concern for the well-being of his country rather than his personal interests.
Let me extend my sincere condolences to Your Excellency, family and friends, the Government and people of Kano, and Nigerians as a whole, for this most heavy loss. We shall not soon see the like of him. May God forgive his sins and admit him to Paradise, Amin.