One of the founders of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Commodore Dan Suleiman is dead.
Suleiman, a former military governor of Plateau State and member of the General Murtala Mohammed’s Supreme Military Council, died on Wednesday, aged 81 years.
Suleiman served as federal commissioner for Special Duties in the General Yakubu Gowon government and was regarded as being instrumental in the founding of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
General Secretary, NADECO, Ayo Opadokun disclosed Suleiman’s death in a press statement on Wednesday.
Opadokun said he was informed of Suleiman’s death by the current President of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr Bitrus Porgu.
Opadokun, in the statement, described the late Suleiman as “consistently courageous, nationalistic, genuinely patriotic, whose life and times was rich for good purposes and services to God and humanity.”
The statement further read: “The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) wishes to formally announce the painful and most unexpected death of one of our Founders and Titans, Commodore Dan Suleiman.
“Dan was a reliable, amiable and diligent leader whose vacuum will be difficult to fill. Where shall we find another Dan Suleiman?
“After the overthrow of Gen. Gowon’s
government by General Murtala Mohammed, Dan Suleiman was again appointed Federal Commissioner for Health.
“Third, when Gen. Babangida annulled the victory of Bashorun MKO Abiola at the 1993 presidential election and General Abacha eventually also established his military dictatorship,
Suleiman opposed and resisted the annulment and its new strongman.
Four, as a leading light of the Middle Belt Forum Leadership, when the Forum decided at a meeting held in Chief D.B. Zang home in Jos to attend the preliminary meetings and consultations that birthed NADECO in Lagos, DS was one of the founders and Titans of NADECO.
“He was a leading member of its Apex body, Steering Committee, which was the Policy Decision Making body. Five, as a consequence of his leading role, Gen. Abacha was extremely pained at Dan Suleiman membership of NADECO and tried severally to win back Suleiman but failed.
“In fact, at a number of critical meetings held in DS’ Lagos home in Victoria Island, Gen. Abacha exploited the friendship between the late founder of the Guardian Newspapers, Chief Alex Ibru who was his Minister of Internal Affairs to always reach NADECO through Suleiman.
“But NADECO rejected any formal meeting
with the goggled Gen. Abacha, insisting on having an agenda and each side notifying the other side of its position on the agenda. Even when NADECO suggested an agenda and stated its positions on each agenda, General Abacha only sent a Government Presidential jet to ferry us to Abuja and we rejected the offer.
“Six, DS had to be forced to go on exile in August 1994 when we had a reliable intelligence information that General Abacha had spread his dragnet to arrest and or capture Dan. It was a
painful decision that we had to decide that Dan must depart Nigeria that night. That decision was taken in my hide-out office which was Chief Olu Falae’s Osborne Office, Victoria Island.
“Seven, Dan became the first Chairman of NADECO ABROAD, then based in London. He only returned home on October 7, 1998 after the death of Gen. Abacha and the amnesty pronounced for all those in exile by Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar’s government. “On his return he joined the group that formed the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and held different posts including that of
Nigerian Ambassador to the Soviet Union and President of the Middle Belt Forum.”