From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has described the Second Republic Senate President, Dr. Joseph Wayas as a colossus and his death, a great loss to the nation.
In a tribute from his Media Office in Abuja, on Thursday, Ngige recalled Dr. Wayas as one of the young titans who moulded the building blocks for the presidential democracy which Nigeria adopted in 1979.
The Minister said, “In that Second Republic where he was elected the President of the Senate between 1979-1983, he led a vigorous, vibrant and issued-based assembly, which gingered stability and attenuated to a great length, the teething challenges posed by the then nascent presidential system of government.
“ My interaction with him dates back to 1977 as a young medical doctor and a unionist. He was also a young business man and a budding politician who would later make an effervescent presence at the Justice Udo Udoma led Constituent Assembly in 1978.
“ However, I started working closely with Dr. Wayas when I served as an NYSC Medical Officer in the National Assembly Clinic, Victoria Island, Lagos in 1980 and thereafter as Medical Officer ; later becoming the Physician to the Senate President between 1982 and 1983.
“ Watching Dr. Wayas conduct the affairs of the Senate, his deft control of the vibrant cross party debates in the chambers, had a sharp impression on my youthful mind, thus, my decision later in life to vie for the Senate. An ambition I realized when I won a hotly contested senatorial election in 2011 to represent Anambra Central in the Seventh Senate as the only opposition Senator from the old Eastern Nigeria.
“ Wayas I knew was a man who devoted his political career especially while leading the National Assembly to ensuring a just society, where Nigerians will be ruled by law rather than caprice. He was a man who did not for once, seek to harness his office or the opportunities therein for self-political gains.
Condoling with the Government and good people of Cross River State as well as the Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawan over this great loss, Senator Ngige further said , “as he therefore heads out of this fulfilled life into eternity, I pray God Almighty to grant him eternal rest and comfort the family he left behind.”