Former presidential aspirant of the National Republican Convention (NRC) and Marafan Sokoto, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi is dead.
He died on Wednesday, at a London hospital at about 4.07 p.m. at 79.
A family source disclosed that the late politician, who had been battling his health for several years, left behind three wives, among whom is the daughter of the late premier of the North region, Sir Ahmadu Bello and five children.
One of his daughters is Zainab, wife of Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and another is Hadiza, wife of Zamfara State governor, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Yari.
Alhaji Shinkafi, who held the traditional title was a native of Zamfara State.
He was the vice-presidential candidate of Olu Falae in the APP/AD alliance in 1999, although they lost to the Olusegun Obasanjo/Atiku Abubakar on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket.
He was also head of the secret police, the Nigeria Security Organisation (NSO), which was rebranded Department of State Services (DSS) from 1979 to 1983.
He was running neck-in-neck with Adamu Ciroma in the race for the presidential ticket of the NRC in 1992, before the military government cancelled the primaries.
“The body will be flown back to Nigeria on Friday, for burial, at Abubakar III burial ground in Sokoto according to Islamic injunctions,” our source said.
Meanwhile, sympathisers have started trooping to his residence at the Government Reserve Area (GRA) in Gusau, Zamfara State, when the news of his death was aired on the state radio.
The state governor, Alhaji Yari, who is his son in-law, described the late Marafan as a fine gentleman and a loving father.
In a statement, the governor also said the country had lost a giant, whose counsel have helped in tackling the crisis in the Niger Delta.
Also, in a telephone interview, the former governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Mamuda Shinkafi, who is one of his siblings, described the death of his brother as a colossal loss to the family.
He said last week, “I was in London to see him and was told that he would be alright, not knowing that would be the last time I would set my eyes on him.”
Shinkafi noted that the deceased had been a pillar of support and an astute adviser when he was the governor of Zamfara State, saying “we will definitely miss him.”
Another title holder in Shinkafi Emirate, Alhaji Mamuda Isa, Sardauna Shinkafi, said “we have lost a father and a dependable son, whose vacuum will be difficult to fill.”
Buhari, Dogara mourn Shinkafi
President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the government and people of Sokoto State on the passing away of one of their illustrious sons, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi.
According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in Abuja, on Wednesday, Buhari described the departed politician, administrator and technocrat as an expert, whose contributions to the development of the security architecture of Nigeria remained indelible, adding that others should carry on where he left off.
The president recalled that the former Federal Commissioner of Internal Affairs and boss of the National Security Organisation (NSO), played frontline roles in the activities leading to the eventual return and enthronement of democracy in the country.
He called on family members, friends and associates of the departed community leader to take solace in the fact that the late Shinkafi played the parts assigned to him diligently , conscientiously and patriotically.
He enjoined them to emulate the good virtues that he left behind.
Also, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, commiserated with the government and people of Zamfara State and all Nigerians over the death of Alhaji Shinkafi.
Dogara, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan, Wednesday, described the death of the elder statesman as a huge loss to the nation.
He said Shinkafi was a true democrat who contributed immensely towards the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in 1999.
The President prayed that Almighty Allah will grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.