Umaru Dikko dies at 78

Second Republic Minister of Transport, Alhaji Umaru Dikko has died at the age of 78.

DikkoClose family members and associates confirmed he died on Tuesday morning in a London Hospital.

He has been ill for a while and reportedly suffered three strokes.

President Goodluck Jonathan has said he received with sadness, news of Dikko’s passing.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity the President extended “sincere commiserations to the family, friends and political associates of the former Minister of Transport during the Second Republic who also played a leading role in the National Party of Nigeria which controlled the Federal Government in that dispensation.

“He joins them in mourning the renowned political leader who, in spite of advanced age, continued to actively contribute to the nurturing and strengthening of democracy in Nigeria until the end of his life.

“President Jonathan firmly believes that Alhaji Umaru Dikko’s significant contributions, especially his life-long advocacy for stronger political parties, greater discipline within political parties and the supremacy of political parties have assured him of a place in the annals of Nigeria’s political development.”

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar described Dikko  as a courageous advocate of rule of law, constitutionality and democracy.

In a condolence statement issued by his media office in Abuja, the former Vice President said, despite the public hostility to the late Umaru Dikko, the man had other virtues that Nigerians didn’t seem to appreciate.

According to him, Dikko was a fierce opponent of unconstitutional seizure of power by soldiers.

He recalled that Dikko was the loudest critic of military rule, a role for which he said the former Minister was singled out for special punishment because he was a vocal critic of the new military rulers of December 1983.

The former Vice President said, although Dikko had his own shortcomings like every other person, he was a passionate democrat that vigorously opposed the take-over of government by unconstitutional means.

 He recalled that Dikko was a lawyer, mathematician and colourful politician whose sense of logic was outstanding.

Atiku Abubakar condoled with the people and government of Kaduna State, the Zazzau Emirate Council and the family of the deceased over the demise of the prominent Northern politician.