Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has described the death of Senator Joseph Kennedy Nyikwagh Waku as a monumental loss to the state and the country at large.
Governor Ortom, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Terver Akase, noted that Senator Waku was his mentor and uncle who was the defender of the common man and was also known for his forthrightness, courage, and love for fellow human beings.
He said Senator Waku was one of his ardent supporters who encouraged him to face the task of governance at very difficult moments. The Governor stated that Chief JKN Waku made numerous sacrificial contributions to Nigeria and Benue State in particular.
Ortom posited that Senator Waku was a man who promoted unity, equity, peace and justice for all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity, religion and political leaning.
He described the death of Senator Waku as quite painful to the government and people of Benue State who had lost one of the fathers of the state even as he prayed God to grant his gentle soul eternal rest and his family the strength to bear the loss.
When our correspondent visited the late Waku’s residence located at North Bank, Makurdi, on Monday afternoon, sympathisers, especially women and youths were seen trooping in and out weeping bitterly as they reminisced on the life and times of the late elder statesman.
A female member of the family who spoke with our correspondent disclosed that the elders left for Abuja on Monday morning and would make a formal announcement about the death and burial of Waku upon their return.
She regretted that the late Waku was hail and hearty until Saturday when he complained of mild illness and was taken to the National Hospital, Abuja but he died on Sunday evening.
Also, at the residence of his second wife, Rosemary, Waku’s only surviving sister was seen sorrowful; sitting on a mat, she was surrounded by sympathisers.
The visibly shaken woman said nobody ever thought that the brief illness could lead to the sudden death of the head of the Waku dynasty.