By Patrick Obia and Sunday Aborisade (Punch Newspaper)
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and a former President of the Red Chamber, Senator David Mark, have commiserate with the family of the defunct Second Republic Senate President, Joseph Wayas, who died on Thursday.
Lawan in a statement by his media office, commiserate with the government and people of Cross River State, friends and political associates of the late elder statesman.
He said, “Senator Joseph Wayas was a great lawmaker and political leader who served his country and people with dedication and integrity.
“As the Senate President in the Second Republic, Senator Wayas led the upper chamber with competence and passion. He was a great symbol of his political era.
“Senator Wayas continued to contribute to nation-building, democracy and socio-economic development of Nigeria even after he left public office in 1983.
“He played a significant role as Deputy Chairman of the 1994-95 National Constitutional Conference and took part in many other national assignments. Nigeria will surely miss his wealth of experience,” Lawan said.
The Senate President prayed to God to grant Senator Wayas’ “gentle soul a sweet repose and to his loved ones the fortitude to bear his loss.”
On his part, Governor of Cross River, Sen. Ben Ayade described his demise as a monumental loss to the State and Nigeria.
Sen. Ayade noted that the Obudu born Wayas has left indelible footprints.
“As a State, Cross River is in pain as we mourn the passing of our illustrious son. He was a rare gem. Dr. Wayas’ demise is indeed a monumental loss to our dear State and Nigeria,” Ayade said in a release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Christian Ita.
He added that, “as Senate President, Dr. Wayas contributed to the deepening of Nigeria’s democracy through his robust and vibrant leadership of the upper legislative chamber.
“And since his retirement from active politics, the former Senate President had been playing a fatherly and stabilising role in the politics and affairs of our State.”
He condoled with the deceased family, reiterating that his demise is a collective loss and the pain is shared.
A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, described Wayas as a veteran of the Nigerian legislature and key player in Nigeria’s constitutional development.
The Senator said, “I received with a deep sense of loss the passing on of the elder statesman and Nigeria’s former President of the Senate, Distinguished Senator Joseph Wayas.
“This is particularly a grievous loss to the Nigerian legislature and the Nation as a whole.
“He was a veteran and an institutional memory bank of the Nigerian legislature, and a key player in Nigeria’s constitutional development.”
Similarly, a former Governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, described the death of Wayas as a huge loss to the Nation, especially the political class.
Nnamani described Wayas as a pathfinder who believed in the sanctity of the ballot as a vehicle for electing leaders at all levels.
Dr. Wayas passed away in the wee hours of Thursday in a London hospital after a brief illness.
He was the 4th President of the Nigerian Senate under the defunct NPN.
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