Minister, Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has described the death of one of the kingmakers of the Sokoto Caliphate, Alhaji Hassan Danbaba Marafa (Magajin Gari Sokoto), as a national loss.
He said this, today, when he paid a condolence visit to the Sultan of Sokoto, His Royal Majesty, Muhamadu Sa’ad Abubakar, over the death of the kingmaker.
The minister, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Jackson Udom, said: “The death of my brother and friend, Hazzan Danbaba, is not only a loss to the Caliphate and Sokoto State. It a loss to the whole nation.
“It is also not the Caliphate that is mourning the demise of Hassan Danbaba, the entire country is equally mourning the loss of this great son of Nigeria.”
The former Senate Minority Leader said he saw the late Hassan Danbaba as a link between the past and the present.
“I used to call him a chip off the old block of Sardauna Dynasty. When his mother passed on, he called me immediately, and I went to see him. He wept profusely over the mother’s death. Danbaba was a man who loved his mother passionately,” he said.
Akpabio, who is a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, said, “I was so close to Danbaba, not as a politician but as a brother. He was a bridge builder who built bridges across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“Many years ago, when I celebrated my 50th birthday, Danbaba came. He didn’t just come, he said ‘get me an aircraft and let me bring your royal fathers to come and bless you’. We had about 12 emirs and the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, in attendance at that event.
“Danbaba was instrumental to my presence at the 45th Coronation Anniversary of the late Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero. He personally came to pick me from Akwa Ibom State, and I was made the Special Guest of Honour.
“I stand to be corrected. I do know that there is no coronation ceremony in the North that you will not see Danbaba, not as a guest, but moving from one point to the other to ensure that things were going on fine.
“Hassan Danbaba was a workaholic, robust and jovial. Always smiling and making you laugh any time he came in contact with you.”
Senator Akpabio prayed to God to grant the Sultan, the Caliphate, the state and the family he left behind the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.