By Ismaila Chafe, Ikenna Osuoha, Adeyemi Adeleye, Ikenna Uwadileke, Yemi Adeleye
Abuja, Lagos, Jan. 13, 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with family and friends of former military administrator of Lagos and Imo States, retired Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, aged 77.
Buhari prayed for God’s covering over all his loved ones.
The president, in a condolence message by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Wednesday condoled with professional colleagues of the gallant military officer.
He noted that late Kanu distinguished himself in all positions and responsibilities during service, taking up more daunting, but historically rewarding challenges like speaking up for the weak and vulnerable, and the struggle for the country’s return to democratic government.
According to him, Kanu’s credentials in serving the nation as a career military officer and as an activist with NADECO in actualising the June 12, 1993 mandate, remain commendable and will continue to inspire younger generations on patriotism.
The president prayed for the repose of the soul of the elder statesman.
The South East chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also said it received with deep sense of loss, sorrow and sadness the death of retired Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu.
Mr. Augustine Okeke, South East Publicity Secretary, PDP said this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
Okeke, who described the deceased as a nation builder, said that his death was a national tragedy.
“It is a national tragedy to lose this nation builder especially at this time when the nation is facing dire security challenges requiring all hands especially such knowledgeable and experienced hands on security as that of Kanu, to be on deck.
“Our hearts go out to his immediate and extended families, the people of South East and indeed to all Nigerians for the loss of this national iroko,” Okeke said.
The late Naval Officer who died on Jan. 13 was the first Military Administrator of old Imo State which was made up of present Imo, Abia and parts of Ebonyi states.
He championed the development of the old Imo with giant strides in all sectors like the establishment of Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) and others.
Chief Goddy Uwazuruike, former president of Aka Ikenga, in his reaction to the passage of the pro-democracy leader said, “Admiral Godwin Ndubuisi KANU was an enigma. He had a soft voice. Yet he became a Commander. Physically he didn’t look like a military man. But what he lacked in physique he gained in his brainpower. It is, therefore, not a surprise that he rose to the height of his profession.”
Barrister Uwazuruike who aspired to leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the last election, also noted that “as the Governor of both Imo and Lagos states he left his footprints in the sands of time. He was a complete Igbo man, very passionate, brooked no nonsense and never stood on ceremonies. He was the chairman of NADECO and was even manhandled by Abacha for his membership of NADECO. We have lost a great man.”
The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, described the death of retired Rear Adm. Kanu as a huge loss to Nigeria.
Kanu died on Wednesday in an undisclosed hospital.
In an interview with NAN, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said: “We have lost a very ebullient, vibrant and progressive someone.
“There is nothing we can do than to accept the will of God.
“He has lived a fulfilled life and dedicated his life to good causes for which we shall always remember him. May his soul rest in peace and may God protect all that he left behind.”
Kanu was appointed into the Supreme Military Council in 1975.
Retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo dissolved the Council when he became the Head of State in 1976.
Kanu fought on the Biafran side during the civil war but was reabsorbed into the Nigerian military at the end of the war in 1970.
As a naval chief, who occupied many command and political offices as part of his military postings, Kanu civilianised himself when he retired from service.
He was a member of the pro-democracy group, National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, which fought for the re-validation of the annulled June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.
Chief Ayo Adebanjo, elder statesman and a chieftain of NADECO, has described late Rear Adm. Kanu as a dedicated loyalist to the cause of a restructured Nigeria.
Adebanjo, a leader of the pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, made the remark in his reaction to the death of Kanu.
“This is a great loss. He will be greatly missed. He was a gallant soldier, great patriot, nationalist, progressive politician and a dedicated loyalist to the cause of a restructured Nigeria.
“He will be greatly missed. I have been in a shock at the news of his death. May his soul rest in peace,” Adebanjo, a staunch supporter of late nationalist, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, said.
The nonagenarian said that Kanu would be remembered for being a great nationalist who believed in the restructuring of the country as the only panacea to move Nigeria forward.
Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Kalu, described the death of retired Rear Adm. Kanu as `a big loss’ to Ndigbo and Nigeria as a whole.
Kalu, in a condolence message on Wednesday, commiserated with Ndigbo, the people and government of Abia in particular over Kanu’s demise.
While noting that the deceased was one of the few prominent Nigerians that fought for the enthronement of democracy, Kalu urged the political class to emulate the worthy legacies of the late statesman.
The lawmaker described the retired naval officer as humble, dogged, courageous and fair in his pursuits in public service.
“I received with pain the news of the passage of a leading light in Igboland and former Chairman of NADECO, retired Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kalu.
“The late statesman contributed immensely to the enthronement and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.
“The democracy Nigerians are enjoying today is attributed to efforts of the deceased and a few others. He lived a fulfilled life dedicated to national service and humanity.
“He has left indelible footprints in the annals of Nigeria’s democracy, owing to his remarkable, unbeatable and historic good deeds.
“The late statesman will surely be missed for his counsel at the community, sub-national and national levels,” he said.
The former governor prayed God to repose the soul of the deceased and urged his family to uphold the good legacies of its late patriarch.
Also mourning the demise of Kanu, Dr Adetokunbo Pearse, a lecturer in the University of Lagos and chieftain of the PDP, on Wednesday, described the late retired Rear Adm. Kanu as a de-tribalised Nigerian, who would be missed.
Pearse, who was the 2019 Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for Lagos State, told NAN that Kanu stood for a Nigeria based on merit and rule of law.
“Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu was a major player in the NADECO movement and he was a de-tribalised Nigerian.
“He always stood for one Nigeria and rehabilitation of the South East, and more importantly, a unified Nigeria based on merit and rule of law.
“He will be missed seriously.
“I knew Kanu to be a well-respected military officer uniquely respected and admired as a disciplined officer and a gentle man,” he said.