Taraba State governor Darius Ishaku yesterday wept profusely as the remains of the late former governor, Pharmacist Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, arrived Jalingo.
Suntai will be committed to mother earth today in his hometown of Suntai in Bali local government area of the state.
This is even as the Taraba State government has concluded plans to immortalise the late former governor by renaming the Jalingo Airport after him.
According to the programme of events outlined by the state government, the final interment will take place at the late Suntai’s residence after a funeral service to be held at the Jolly Nyame Stadium in Jalingo, the state capital city.
The late Suntai passed on in the United States on June 28, 2017 after surviving a fatal plane crash in a private jet piloted by him on Thursday, October 25, 2012 within the precinct of Yola airport.
Earlier yesterday, his body had arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in company of his wife, Mrs. Hauwa Suntai, aboard a British Airways Flight 083 G-VIIN, Airbus 777, 600 Series at about 5.55am enroute Jalingo and was received by a waiting delegation of the Taraba State government.
The delegation included the Permanent Secretary, Abuja Liaison Office, Mr. Jeji williams; the chief press secretary to Governor Darius Ishaku, Hassan Mijinyawa; younger brother of the late Suntai, Hon. Danladi Suntai; Special Assistant to Governor on Transport, Aminu Babale; and Barry Ishaya Noah, an admin officer at Abuja Liaison Office of the state government.
The remains of the former governor was thereafter moved to the GTA section of the airport by pall bearers from Ebony Funeral Home for its last flight to Jalingo aboard a chattered plane with a registration number 5N-FCT.
Suntai’s wife, children, family members and friends were seen at the same time boarding another chartered aircraft belonging to West-Link Airlines for their journey to Jalingo at about 9.10am yesterday.
Prominent politicians and friends of the deceased, Alhaji Gambo Lawan, Barrister Damian Dodo (SAN), and a former chairman of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Engr Jide Adeniji, later joined the family at the GTA section of the airport before their departure to Jalingo.
Meanwhile, the chief press secretary to Governor Ishaku, Hassan Mijinyawa, in an interview with Journalists Weekend at the airport in Abuja yesterday, said the people of Taraba State were saddened and in mourning over the demise of Suntai.
He however said they will be consoled by reflecting on the late governor’s values and also appreciating his contributions to the development of the state.
He added that the state government has consequently decided to rename the state-owned airport in Jalingo after Suntai in order to immortalise his name, among other thing decisions to come.
He said, “First and foremost, we have discussed on wide ranging areas where we feel he should be immortalised. At the moment, the state government has deemed it necessary to rename the Jalingo Airport after him. So, it is now Danbaba Suntai Airport Jalingo. This is just the starting point; so many other things will follow”.
For his part, the younger brother of the late Suntai, Hon. Danladi Suntai, who is the chairman of Bali local government area in the state told journalists Weekend before boarding the Jalingo-bound aircraft that their extended family will miss a father figure in the late Suntai, whom he said was known as a man of integrity, generosity, humility and straightforwardness.
“There is a sad mood (in the family) because he was the bread winner of the family. For instance, I in particular, from my primary school to my Master’s level, he took care of me. In fact, he was the umbrella of the family. So, it’s a great looks to the family and we will miss him,” he added.
Justice Andrews Otutu Obaseki Buried in Benin amid Eulogies
Meanwhile, the late retired Supreme Court Justice, Andrews Otutu Obaseki, was yesterday laid to rest at his home in Benin City, as leaders from across the country extolled the virtues of the astute jurist.
The funeral service for the late Justice was held at St. Peters Anglican Church in Benin City.
The mass followed the Service of Songs also held in his honour on Thursday evening at his residence in Benin City where Venerable Osaro Igbinosa, the Vicar of St Peters Anglican Church, described late the Obaseki as an astute and seasoned Justice who was fair in his dealings.
“Papa was a compassionate man and the rallying point for the Obaseki family”, he stated.
Delivering his sermon at the funeral service yesterday, the Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Benin, Rev. Peter Imasuen, said everyone will one day give an account of their stewardship to the Almighty God.
He said death is no respecter of persons as both the rich and poor will die one day, just as he urged the people to live in a way that will affect the society positively.
Reading from the Bible Book of Psalms, Chapter 23, Verses 3 and 4, the Bishop said those who would make heaven are those with clean hearts and not those who swear deceitfully, adding that God will judge everyone according to their works on earth.
Governor of Edo State and nephew of the late Justice Andrews Otutu Obaseki, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said he was grateful to his late uncle for helping to preserve their family values like humility, fairness, hard work, honesty, uprightness, education and discipline.