President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, have mourned the death of Senator Joseph Kennedy Waku.
Wake died at 72, in the United States of America.
In his tribute, the president urged the children, friends and political associates of the late Waku to “keep alive his commitment to the unity, peace and stability of not only Benue State, but also, the entire country.”
Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement, yesterday, said Buhari was sad over the death of the former parliamentarian who represented Benue North West senatorial district between 1999-2003.
Buhari commisserated with the family and the government and people of Benue State.
On his part, Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the late Waku as “a fearless and colourful politician who spent the most productive period of his life in the service of God, country and humanity.
“Senator Waku was a democrat and social activist. He cared so much about his people. He spoke truth to power, not minding political correctness. He worked assiduously for the upliftment of his state, in particular, and Nigeria, in general.
“His leadership role in the Arewa Consultative Forum marked him out as a consummate politician with the welfare of his country at heart.
“As a senator, he contributed immensely to the nation’s legislative development. His incisive interventions bear testimony to his rich experience, intellectual depth and urbane personality. He was a voice to the voiceless. We shall miss him dearly,” Saraki stated.
Also, former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, described Waku’s death as a sad loss to the country and acknowledged his contributions to nation-building in different capacities.
According to the front-line politician, the former legislator was forthright, bold and humble in his lifetime.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, Kalu commiserated with the government and people of Benue state on the demise of their illustrious son.
He said: “The passing of senator Joseph Waku is painful. He was a firm believer in a just and fair society. Senator Waku’s contributions to national discourse were always patriotic. He would be remembered for his invaluable input to national discourse. Our prayers and thoughts are with the Waku family at this difficult time”
Waku’s family, in Guma Local Government Area, confirmed his death, yesterday.
His wife, Rosemary, of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, wept profusely after she confirmed his death to Daily Sun, in Makurdi.
According to his daughter, Mary, Waku died on Sunday evening, at the Zenith Medical and Kidney Centre, Gudu, Abuja, of an heart-related illness.
Some of the early callers at the Gwarimpa, Abuja, residence of Waku included a former director general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Dr. Paul Orhi and a former senator, Yisa Braimoh.
Mary said her father was a man of the people.