President Muhammadu Buhari; Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and many senators, on Saturday, expressed shock and deep sadness over the death of the lawmaker representing Bauchi South Senatorial District, Senator Ali Wakili.
The lawmaker was said to have slumped on Saturday morning at his Gwarimpa, Abuja residence after which he was taken to a hospital within the estate, but he died before getting emergency treatment.
Wakili, aged 58, was a member of the All Progressives Congress and a retired controller of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Saraki, who announced Wakili’s death through his social media accounts, said, “I was enroute to celebrate with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and family on their daughter’s wedding when I heard about the passing of my friend and colleague, Senator Ali Wakili. I am now on my way to the Wakilis house to pay my respect to his family.”
Saraki visited Wakili’s Gwarimpa, Abuja residence in company with Dogara; Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Ahmad Lawan; and Sen. Isa Hamma Misau, among others, to commiserate with his family members at about noon.
Wakili’s remains were buried at Gudu Cemetery Abuja at about 2pm according to Islamic rites.
Saraki was said to have betrayed emotion during the visit, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja.
The Senate President described the late senator as a vibrant lawmaker and public servant who was passionate about his assignments and engagements in the Senate, especially his chairmanship of the Committee on Poverty Alleviation and membership of other committees.
Saraki said, “Mallam Ali Wakili is one lawmaker you can never be in doubt where he stands on a particular issue. He spoke his mind fearlessly. His contributions at plenary were always very incisive and rich. I find it difficult to acknowledge that he will not resume plenary with us next Tuesday.”
Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, described the death of Wakili as “an incalculable loss to Nigeria’s democracy.”
The President noted that the late federal lawmaker’s dedication to duty was remarkable and worthy of emulation, adding that his death came as a great shock to him.
Dogara, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Turaki Hassan, said Wakili’s death was devastating and also broke his heart.
He said, “The death of Sen. Ali Wakili is a personal loss to me. I am short of words to describe how devastated and heartbroken I am over the passing away of this true friend, brother and confidant, with whom I had excellent brotherly relationship and association.
“We have indeed lost a distinguished parliamentarian, an easygoing and courageous person who worked tirelessly in the Senate chamber and outside to defend the interest of his constituents.”
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Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in a separate statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, expressed “shock and sadness” over Wakili’s death, describing him as a diligent and courageous lawmaker.
He said, “I received with rude shock the news of the passing on of my friend, brother, colleague and ally, distinguished Senator Wakili Ali.”
Senator David Mark, in a statement by his Media Assistant, Mr. Paul Mumeh, also expressed “shock and sadness” over the death, saying it was “devastating.”
Wakili was one of the 10 APC senators loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari, who walked out of the Senate chamber last week to protest against the controversial amendment of the Electoral Act 2010, which seeks to reorder the sequence of polls in a general election.
Wakili, also penultimate Thursday, protested against the removal of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum without the general knowledge of its members.
Wakili had, on February 22, raised a point of order at the plenary to protest Adamu’s removal.
The late senator had stated that there was no meeting by members of the forum where they collectively agreed to sack Adamu, who is leading the opposition to the amendment, as the caucus leader.