By Uche Amunike
Nigerians woke up to the news of Second Republic Senator, Dr. Joseph Wayas‘ death, Tuesday in a London hospital, at the age of 80.
Speaking via a condolence message to the family of the 2nd Republic Statesman, the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade described Joseph Wayas’ death as a monumental loss to the state in particular and to the country, generally.
In a press statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, he maintained that Wayas left indelible footprints on the sands of time. He described the late Wayas as a rare gem, even as he reiterated that Cross River State was in pains as they mourned the passing of their illustrious son.
Part of the statement read: ‘As Senate President, Dr Wayas contributed to the deepening of Nigeria’s democratic ethos 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.’
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has also commiserated with the Wayas family. In his statement released by his Media office, Lawan described Joseph Wayas’ death as a great loss for Nigeria. He eulogized him as a great lawmaker and political leader who served the Nigerian nation with dedication and integrity, during his time, maintaining that Wayas, during his time as Senate President in the Second Republic, sat over the affairs of the Upper Chambers with passion, commitment and competence, even as he described him as a great symbol of his political era.
He further stated that Wayas did not stop contributing to the national building, democracy and social economic development of Nigeria even after he left public office in 1983. He played an important role as Deputy Chairman of the 1994 to ’95 National Constitutional Conference, just as he took part in so many other National assignments.
He prayed that God will grant him eternal rest and his family, the fortitude to handle their loss.
On his part, former Senate President David Mark noted that the major key players of the late Wayas’ era had gone to the great beyond, while noting that he was the 4th President of the Nigerian Senate.
He described the late statesman as a great nationalist who was diligent, honest and an excellent parliamentarian that brought dignity and respect to the legislature by sticking to the rule of law, separation of powers and collaboration with the executive arm of government without compromising the independence of the legislature.
Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremmadu also described Joseph Wayas’ death as a grievous loss to the Nigerian legislature and the entire nation, while describing him, not just as a veteran, but as an institutional memory bank of the Nigerian legislature and key player in Nigeria’s constitutional development.
He was of the opinion that Wayas will be solid missed amongst other things, for his giant political strides and contributions towards the building of Nigeria.