Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed shock at the news of the death of former deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu.
In a statement issued by his media office in Abuja on Tuesday, Atiku said his association with Mantu dates back to the era of the military-guided political transition programmes.
He said he (Atiku) was in the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), the deceased was a leading political light in the Nigeria Republican Convention (NRC).
The former vice president said until his death, Mantu was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party NEC, and “was a friendly soul who loved Nigeria and promoted national unity.”
Atiku noted that following the restoration of democratic rule, he worked together with Mantu, who was then the deputy Senate president, and others to stabilise the polity.
“Mantu was very central in the management of the frosty relationship between the executive and the legislature in those difficult years of learning the nuances of democratic practice,” he noted.
He spoke of Mantu’s dogged and tenacious spirit, which he said was instrumental in lifting him from humble beginnings to statesmanship.
According to him, as a senator representing Plateau Central and a deputy Senate president, the late Mantu saw his responsibility as going beyond the Plateau and the Senate chambers to the level of a nationalist who thought of Nigeria first.
Atiku prayed to Allah to forgive Mantu’s sins, console the family he left behind, the government and people of Plateau State and the Senate which he served with distinction.