The nearest thing to immortality as they say is to stay alive in the memory of those who knew and loved you.
It was a debilitating moment for many senators that were present around 12:34pm at plenary held at the Upper Chamber last week.
At that moment, a unique dirge of a one minute silence preceded the heavy words that poured and blended with tears of sorrow and joy in the hearts of those who listened to encomiums in the hallow chamber.
It all started when Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita (APC, Katsina North), the successor of late Senator Mustapha Bukar, sponsored a bill that seeks for an act to amend the name of the Federal Polytechnic Daura, Katsina State, to Mustapha Bukar Polytechnic, Daura.
Senator Bukar Mustapha died on April 4, 2018, days after he sponsored a bill for the establishment of the Federal Polytechnic, Daura. The bill was quickly passed due to his health condition.
The former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekwaremadu, under whose leadership Senator Bukar served, recalled how he presided over the session that expeditiously passed the bill.
Senator Ekweremadu described Bukar as a man that was detribalized and full of humility.
“By that time he was very ill, I remembered, he was sitting there. We had to ensure that we stood down some of the items on the order paper. We had to bring it forward to pass that bill so that he can exit.
“I’m happy today that a very responsible senate is now looking back to honour a man that deserves honour. He was not just a senator from Katsina, he is the senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Senator Bukar was detribalised, he is full of humility and I’m happy today that his own people have recognised the need to promote those virtues by naming the polytechnic after him. I do hope that other sectors, other parts of the country will also remember that when people served them, they should find a way to honour them.
“I supported this bill because I was the one who presided over the passage of this particular bill. I recall the last outing of debate by Mustapha Bukar. The Senate President may recall that the Senate Leader had to fast track the passage of that bill in order to accommodate him.
Senator Ekweremadu concluded that renaming the institution after the tate Senator Bukar is not about the amendment but a tribute to a man who worked for his people and died in active service.
The Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, described the late Senator as a fine gentleman, humble and very honest.
“When he was alive, we sat very close at that corner of the chamber and I recall vividly that most times when the chamber is tense, he is one of those elders who step in to give some words of wisdom and at the end of the day we will not only get closure on the issue but get a very solid direction.
“And, of course, along the line of tradition of encouraging those who serve to be recognised, this bill needs to be passed as a source of encouragement,” he said.
Another Senator, Muhammad Adamu Aliero, said: “I rise to lean my voice on this very important bill. Senator Bukar had left us to the other world. May his soul rest in peace.
“Senator Bukar is an embodiment of honesty, integrity and humility. He served this country very well. He started his career in Katsina and ended up in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources where he did milestone projects, particularly urban water supply projects in various states of the federation.
“Again, when he joined us here in the senate, he sponsored so many bills and motions that have to do with the downtrodden in this country. He played a very important role in promoting educational development in his immediate community and for that reason, we need to immortalise that character that departed us,” he said.
Senator Theodore Orji, who concurred with all the good qualities mentioned by other senators, added, “The late Bukar had no political animosity and he saw everyone as his brother.”
Orji sang a gospel song that says: “What shall we remember when you die? Will you be remembered for good or bad ….?”, adding that the Senate had remembered Bukar’s good and the impact he had made in bills and motions that he carried to his constituency.
He commended Babba Kaita for the courage, believing that he spoke the minds of people in his constituency.
“Your Excellency, we have a tradition here, when a distinguish senator has a favour, like being Ministers, when they come here, we tell them to take a bow and go.
“With this motion, I will suggest that his (the late Bukar’s) spirit comes here and take a bow and go,” he said.
Senator Gershom Bassey (PDP, Cross River South) also described the late Bukar as a man with so much respect for people.
“In fact, for the little interaction I had with him, he was aware of why he was placed on the high esteem and his contributions were first class. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.
Also, Senator Godfrey Chukwuka Utazi, observed that the late Bukar had written his tribute even before he died. “He (Bukar) wrote his tribute, he was doing it quietly and everyone here envisioned what he has done.
“So, our late colleague is reminding us that those of us who are still breathing here, we have an opportunity to write our tribute once we do that, we are not only immortalizing the late Bukar Mustapha, we will be immortalizing ourselves.
“It’s what you do down there meaningfully in support of the downtrodden, in support of the progress of your community and development of the society that matters.
“Senator Bukar was an early bed to this senate. he always came early, signed and quietly sat with his red cap and white lace.
“I curiously asked one day: Why is this man dressing like that? And they told me that he was a prince and a titled man from Daura. Since then we continued relating very well. I am happy that Senator Kaita immortalized him today,” he added.
The Senate, President Ahmad Lawan, for his part, said all people who interacted with the late Mr Bukar know how deep he was, how committed and dedicated he was to a good cause and to the Senate as an institution.
“One thing to take away here is the renaming of Federal Polytechnic, Daura to Mustapha Bukar Polytechnic, Daura and like all our colleagues have said, this is a good example of what a good thing can bring,” he said.
He thanked Senator Kaita for sponsoring the bill, adding that “It is a very good example of the kind of attitude politicians should have.”
“We are normally seen as bad people because people hardly understand us even though they trust us as we are always elected. This time around we will go further in giving a positive impression that we should give Nigerians and people we represent,” he added.
Leading his debate, Senator Kaita said that the bill was motivated by the need to immortalise his predecessor for the legacy he left behind and especially his contribution to education.
He said Senator Bukar, an Engineer by profession was an educationist who was passionate about quality education and improving access to education for the less privileged.
“Upon his election into the Senate, the late Mustapha Bukar further demonstrated his commitment to education by sponsoring a bill to establish Federal Polytechnic, Daura which was passed by the 8th Senate and graciously assented to by the President.
“As successor to the late Mustapha Bukar, I did my best and with the cooperation of the Senate to ensure that the Federal Polytechnic, Daura as envisioned and conceived by the late Senator becomes a reality,” he said.
Other Senators took turns to eulogize him, expressing memorable time they had with the late Madawakin Daura and how exceptionally modest he was.