From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has expressed shock and disbelief over the death of the Turakin Katsina Emirate, Dr Suleiman Sani (Sani Stores).
In a condolence message to the Government and people of Katsina State and the immediate family of the deceased, Ngige said he was deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of Dr Sani, who according to him, exhibited exemplary leadership when they worked together at the Headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Health in Lagos between the period of 1992-1998.
The Minister described the late Sani as a selfless and committed public servant and community leader who would be sorely missed by Nigeria and Katsina State, the Katsina Emirate, his immediate community, former colleagues, friends and family.
Ngige said, “I received the news of the death of Dr Suleiman Sani (Sani Stores) with rude shock, disbelief and utmost sadness. This is because a few weeks ago, just before the last Sallah festivities, I called him on the phone to wish him happy Sallah celebrations and we discussed so many issues, reminiscing on our days in the Federal Ministry of Health together in the same Department of Hospital Services and Training.
“He was appointed as the Head of the Department of Hospital Services and Training at the Ministry after his stint as the Director General of the National Productivity Centre (NPC) where he came and met us as his colleagues and subordinates.
“We were in the Directorate Cadre of the Ministry-Dr Yomi Awe, Dr Yewande Thorpe, Dr F. Orubibi and myself. He headed us and gave us good and exemplary leadership and we found in him a very good administrator and captain. He also later got married to one of us, then Mrs. Ifeoma Ogbue.
“Before then he had his family with him in Lagos and exhibited all the signs of a good family man. We interchanged family visits. I used to visit his family in their house in Victoria Island and he also visited me in my house at 1004 Estate and Dr Awe, in his house in Ikoyi. There was no air of a boss around him and he related with us as colleagues and contemporaries.”
Ngige who described the death of Dr Sani as a personal loss, recalled that when he joined politics in 1998, all his colleagues in the Ministry missed his comradeship.
“And when I lost the primary election to the Senate seat of Anambra Central senatorial district in 1998, Dr Sani was quick to call me up, informing me that my letter of resignation in the Ministry has not been processed because they were still praying and waiting for me to tell them that I will leave the murky waters of politics to rejoin them in the Department. I of course declined the offer, having made up my mind to chart a new course or career for myself.
“Although Dr Sani was not a politician, he called me once in a while to encourage and thank me for my services to the country. Even though retired, he was still rendering service to his community and that earned him the title of Turaki of Katsina Emirate.”
Ngige condoled with the Government and people of Katsina State, the Katsina Emirate and the Sani family, especially the wives, for this irreplaceable loss.
He urged his family to take heart and not mourn like those who have no hope, saying they should remember that Allah brought him and has taken him back.
He further enjoined his family to pride themselves in the legacies of high integrity, hard work, good name and benevolence which late Dr Sani had bequeathed to them.
“We pray that the Lord Almighty will forgive him his sins and receive him in paradise.”