Gov Samuel Ortom on Monday described Sen. Joseph Waku as a “mentor”, saying that his death had robbed Benue of “a committed defender”.
Ortom, in a message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Terver Akase, said that Maku’s death was “a monumental loss to the state and the entire Nigeria”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Waku, who represented Benue North-West Senatorial District at the oval chambers between 1999 and 2003, died at the National Hospital, Abuja on Sunday. He was aged 73.
Until his death, Waku was the Pro-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure.
The governor described Waku as “a defender of the common man,” saying that he was known for his forthrightness, courage and love for fellow human beings”.
Ortom said that Waku was one of his ardent supporters, who encouraged him to face the task of governance at very difficult moments.
He said that the deceased made numerous contributions to the growth of the nation and the welfare of all Benue people.
“He promoted unity, equity, peace and justice for all Nigerians, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and political leaning,” he said.
Ortom said that the death of Waku was quite painful to the government and people of Benue, because he was a father to all.
He prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and his family the strength to bear the loss.
Also reacting to Waku’s demise, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Emmanuel Jime, said that Waku was one of the greatest leaders Benue had ever produced.
“He was a key leader and had strong ideas on issues like governance and justice. He carried out all tasks assigned to him with diligence and brilliance,” he said.
Jime said that Waku’s demise was particularly painful to him because “he was my father”.