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Delay In Burial Of Former Senate President, Wayas Is A National Embarrassment, Senate

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Andy Esiet, Calabar 

Late Dr. Joseph Wayas

The National Assembly has described the continuous delay in the burial of the former President of the 2nd Republic, Dr. Joseph Wayas as a national embarrassment. 

Dr Wayas died 16 months ago in London and the Cross River state government set up a committee for the burial but up till now nothing has happened and his family led by his first son, Mr. Joseph Wayas jnr has had some disagreement with the state government over funds and handling of the burial leading to current delay. 

As a result of this, Senator Kanu Agabi, SAN and Mr. Fidelis Ugbo who were chairman and secretary of the committee set up by the state government to handle the burial arrangements had to pull out.

However, the Senator representing Cross River South Senatorial in the Senator Gershom Bassey in a statement issued to some newsmen in Calabar today, said he raised a motion on the floor of the Senate which was co-sponsored by Senators Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe and Sandy Onor of Cross River North and Central respectively calling on the Federal Government to urgently take over the burial plans of Wayas. 

He said the Senate accordingly adopted the motion asking the Federal Government to take over the burial plans and also approved that it should name a national monument after him (Wayas).

He said that for the remains of the late Senate President Dr. Wayas yet to be buried 16 months after is “an embarrassment to the National Assembly that he headed between 1979 — 1983 and the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

Bassey expressed worry that further delay in the burial of Nigeria’s 2nd Republic Senate President will put the Senate and even the federal government in bad light.

He said the Senate through its President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, noted that this delay “is not a good commentary on us as a  country . Unfortunately to stop this type of embarrassment , attempt made last year for Presiding officers of the National Assembly be given medical supports for life by Nigeria was rejected by us during voting on constitution amendments” and this kind of situation at hand now “calls for reflection and i hope the 10th Assembly will do the needful “

Wayas who was born on 21st May, 1941 and died on 30th November, 2021 was Nigeria’s Senate President during Nigeria’s Second Republic ( 1 979 — 1983) and was a strong believer in true Federalism as the only solution to Nigeria’s democratic problems;

He was also a member of the 1994/1995 National Constitutional Conference and founding member of the All Peoples Party (APP) and brought a high degree of knowledge, style, pomp and grandeur to the leadership of the Second Republic Senate;

Similarly the Paramount Ruler of Obanliku LGA of Cross River State, HRM Ernest Item,  has said that he and his council have been embarrassed over the delay and issues surrounding the burial of the former Senate President.

Consequently, the paramount ruler summoned the first son of the former Senate President, Mr. Wayas jr, and the Basang community were Wayas held from and leaders of the community to explain the reason for the continued delay.

However, Wayas jnr could not attend the meeting which was postponed indefinitely.

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