John Ameh and Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
A member of House of Representatives, Mr. Mohammed Sani-Abdu, on Tuesday gave the first vivid account of how Senator Ali Wakil died.
Wakil, who died on Saturday morning at the age of 58 years in his Abuja residence, represented Bauchi-South Senatorial District of Bauchi State.
Sani-Abdu, who is also from Bauchi State, recounted Wakil’s very last moments alive when the House paid tributes to the late retired Comptroller of Customs.
The session was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, who hails from the same district as Sani-Abdu and Wakil.
Sani-Abdu disclosed that Wakil slumped in the presence of the wife.
According to him, Wakil was dressed up and ready to travel to Yola, Adamawa State, to attend the wedding of the daughter of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha.
But, before leaving the house, Sani-Abdu stated that the late senator asked his wife to prepare a meal for him to eat.
He added, “This is why we have to continue to appreciate our wives. His wife received the first shock. She prepared porridge and brought it for him to eat. But, Wakil told her he wanted something light instead, like tea. She went back to get the tea only for her to return and find her husband slumped on the floor.”
Sani-Abdu recalled how he personally washed the late senator and prepared his body for burial, having been told what happened.
He added, “The wife is a very courageous woman. I asked her whether she would be strong enough so that I could remove the cloth from his face for her to see the husband for the last time.
“She agreed. You know people are somehow afraid of dead bodies. But, this woman did not only hold her husband, she prayed for him and tightly embraced the body.
“She did not want to let go of the body. It took some women, who had strength, to pull her away from Wakil.
“Immediately she was separated from him, she fainted and people had to bring water to pour on her. She took the first shock.”
Dogara had opened the session by recalling the good deeds of Wakil, including his courage as a politician to challenge the political class in the state for taking decisions that did not serve the interests of the majority.
The Speaker said, “He fought for good governance, especially in our dear state of Bauchi, and Nigeria at large.
“Merchants and profiteers of bad governance had the knives all out for him but never to be intimidated, he stood his ground and held the lines with rare courage until his death. He represented an idea that death cannot kill.”
A former customs officer, Mr. Jerry Alagbaso, who was Wakil’s contemporary in service, described the late senator as “a jolly good and resourceful officer while he was in the service.”
A member from Jigawa State, Mr. Mohammed Gudaji-Kazaure, said he learnt from Wakil the lesson that those fighting for political positions ahead of 2019 might not live to see the year.
“We were very close. He told me that people were fighting because of 2019 elections, but who would say with confidence that they would see 2019?
“He was not desperate for positions and this is a lesson for all of us.”
On his part, another retired customs officer, Mr. Albert Adeogun, said, “It is not possible in a moment to describe the person of late senator Wakil. I pray God to grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
The House observed a minute’s silence in his honour and later shut the plenary till Wednesday (today) after praying for Wakil’ soul.
Meanwhile, the Senate will on Wednesday (today) hold a valedictory session in honour of Wakil.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives adjourned plenary to Wednesday as it is the tradition whenever a member of either of the chambers dies.
After adopting the Votes and Proceedings of the last legislative day (Thursday), the Majority Leader, Ahmad Lawan raised a point of order to call for a minute silence and adjournment of the plenary in honour of Wakil.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, after the one-minute silence, urged senators to come in the “appropriate” dress for a valedictory session in honour of Wakil on Wednesday.
John Ameh and Leke Baiyewu, Abuja