Andy Esiet , Calabar
Cross River state governor, Professor Ben Ayade has announced the death of the flamboyant second Republic Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas.
The state government said Dr Wayas died in the early hours of Tuesday in a London hospital after falling ill.
Ayade lamented the demise of Wayas, describing his death as “a monumental loss to Cross River State in particular and Nigeria as a whole”.
In a press statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, made available to some newsmen today, December 2, Ayade said Dr Wayas left indelible footprints on the sands of time.
He said, “as a state, Cross River is in pains as we mourn the passing of our illustrious son. He was a rare gem. Dr Wayas’ demise is indeed a monumental loss to our dear state and Nigeria”.
According to the governor, “as Senate President, Dr Wayas contributed to the deepening of Nigeria’s democratic ethos through his robust and vibrant leadership of the upper legislative chamber.
“And since his retirement from active politics, the former Senate President had been playing a fatherly and stabilising role in the politics and affairs of our state.”
He condoled with Dr Wayas’ family, assuring them that his demise is a collective loss and the pains a shared one, adding, “we are with you in this moment of grief. We have you in our hearts and prayers” .
Wayas was born in Basang, Obudu, Cross River State on May 21, 1941.
He had his secondary school education at Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha before he went to the United Kingdom where he studied at the Higher Tottenham Technical College, London.
The former senate president also attended the West Bromwich College of Commerce, Science and Technology, Birmingham and Aston University, Birmingham.
Wayas served as third Senate President of Nigeria under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1979 to 1983 before the regime was truncated by the then military junta government of General Mohammadu Buhari that emerged as the head state.
Wayas was also a founding member of the now-defunct All People’s Party (APP). He later joined the now opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2002.