Kind words have continue to flow from Nigerian leaders on Solomon Lar, the first civilian governor of Plateau State and the founding chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who died on Wednesday afternoon in an American hospital.
President Goodluck Jonathan described late Lar as a charismatic, inspirational political leader.
In a statement issued in Abuja by Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Jonathan said he received the news of the death of Lar with “immense sadness”.
“On behalf of himself and the Federal Government of Nigeria, Jonathan extends heartfelt condolences to the Lar Family, Gov. Jonah Jang, the people of Plateau State, the people of the Middle Belt, and all others for whom Lar was a much beloved.
“The president joins them in mourning the passage of a truly great leader, whose eventful and highly successful political career predated Nigeria‚Äôs independence,” Abati said.
He said the president recalled that the deceased, having started with his election as a councillor in the Langtang Native Authority in January 1959, continued with his election to the Federal Parliament in December, 1959.
He said the president urged the family to take solace in the knowledge that Lar lived a long and most fulfilled life.
Abati said the president noted that Lar’s immense contributions to communal, state and national development, had assured him of a place amongst the eternal heroes of the Nigerian nation.
“The president believes that Lar will always be remembered for the exemplary humility, great vision, wisdom and maturity, which he brought to political leadership in Nigeria for over 50 years as a legislator, executive governor, party leader and highly revered elder statesman.
He also trusts that present and future generations of Nigerians will always acknowledge and honour Lar‚Äôs role as one of the founders and architects of the country‚Äôs current democratic dispensation which he helped to establish and stabilise,” Abati said.
Abati said the president prays that God who blessed the Nigerian nation with the gift of Lar‚Äôs acclaimed leadership abilities for so many decades, would receive his soul, and grant him a well deserved rest from his earthly labours.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also expressed deep sadness over the death of its pioneer National Chairman and former Governor of Plateau, Chief Solomon Lar.
The statement, signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the death of the politician has left a big vacuum not only in the party, but in Plateau state and the nation at large.
The party described its pioneer chairman as a quintessential politician and patriot who sacrificed the greater part of his life for the entrenchment of true democracy.
“Our hearts reach out to the Government and people of Plateau state, the millions of PDP family nationwide, but most importantly to his loved ones and immediate family.
“Chief Solomon Lar will be remembered for his insistence on the emancipation of the masses and his white handkerchief. That is why he was fondly called the Emancipator.
“PDP members will not forget the image of Chief Solomon Lar on the podium with his white handkerchief singing and dancing to the PDP song.‚Äù
The statement said the “PDP at the national level will participate fully in ensuring that Chief Solomon Lar is given a national burial.‚Äô‚Äô
Also, the President of the Senate, David Mark, described Lar as a builder per excellence, saying Nigeria had lost one of her shining stars.
Mark described the foremost political leader as rare Nigerian who propagated the tenet of democracy.
He said Lar would be remembered for fighting for democracy and enthronement of the people’s mandate against all odds.
“It was Chief Lar who led the group of G-34, which later metamorphosed into today’s PDP that has sustained the democratic rule all Nigerians now enjoy.
“We owe him a great deal of gratitude. He surely has a place of pride in the political history of Nigeria. Lar was a different kind of leader. He put the people and the nation first before self.
“He was an easy going man. He was calculated, gentle and result-oriented leader. Regrettably, the nation has lost one of her shining stars.
“We shall miss his robust contributions to national issues. We shall miss his humour”, Mark said.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, described Lar‚Äôs demise as “a great national loss‚Äô‚Äô, and said he would always be remembered as a man of integrity whose forthrightness and wisdom stood him out among his peers.
Tambuwal said Lar, a former Plateau governor, lived a fulfilled life, full of accomplishments and notable contributions to national unity.
The speaker urged his family, friends, associates and admirers to be comforted by the knowledge that he would always be remembered as a visionary and a universally acclaimed pacesetter.