Written by By Chika Otuchikere:

His Life And Times  ||   Atiku Weeps  ||  The oldest serving traditional ruler in the country, HRM Alhaji Aliyu Musdafa, the Lamido of Adamawa, has passed on to the great beyond. He died yesterday in his country home at the ripe age of 90 years.

The Adamawa State government, which made this known in a release made available to the media, said the Emir  would be buried today 2.30pm.

Reacting to news of the death, an aide to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, an Adamawa indigene, in a text message sent to LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, said the former vice president broke down when he heard the sad news. His words: “Atiku lost his composure and cried uncontrollably when he received the news of Lamido’s death. He could only say that he was breaking his foreign engagement. He will return to Yola on Sunday. Atiku has lost a father and mentor who loved him unconditionally. The late Lamido stood by Atiku when the notable Adamawa politician was embattled.”Aliyu Mustapha, the 11th Lamido of Adamawa, ascended the throne in 1953, 147 years after the founding of the emirate by Modibbo Adama in 1806. A direct descendant of Modibbo Adama, Aliyu Musdafa has now ruled for 56 years. Modibbo Adama’s reign lasted 42 years, which until now was the longest in the Fombina dynasty. He was survived by over 50 children.In the over five decades of his leadership, Lamido Aliyu Musdafa charted a course that spanned colonial rule, through seven civilian administrations and thirteen military regimes at the regional or state levels (from Sir Ahmadu Bello to Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako). He has served under 13 heads of state since independence (from Rt. Hon. Nnamdi Azikwe to President Umaru Yar’ Adua.) Within his tenure, the Lamido has witnessed several constitutional changes and political reforms. Most of all, his tenure has witnessed an era of peace and stability in the emirate.Lamido Aliyu Musdafa is on record to have made tremendous contributions to the Northern House of Chiefs where he served as a member of the Public Accounts Committee. He was also a member of the Northern Nigeria Development Corporation. Aliyu Musdafa was also a member of the Council of Chiefs in North-Eastern State, 1967-1976. When Gongola State was created in 1976, he was made President of the Council of Chiefs. In 1979, in accordance with the provisions of the new constitution, he was appointed to the National Council of State by virtue of his position as President of the State Council of Chiefs. Following the upgrading of second-class traditional rulers to first-class status by the Boni Haruna Administration in 2005, Lamido Adamawa was designated the Premier Ruler of Adamawa State.The Lamido was held in high esteem, and maintains the political, religious and ethnic values of his emirate. His sense of liberalism and social equity was highly noted and emulated by his subjects. Mindful of the significant role of traditional rulers in modern Nigeria as the custodians of culture, Lamido Aliyu Musdafa has consistently been non-partisan even in the heat of party politics.As the longest-reigning emir in Nigeria, he maintained the most cordial relationship with past heads of state and state chief executives. Similarly, the Lamido is highly respected by fellow traditional rulers across the country for his leadership qualities. In 1976, he visited Sokoto where his great great-grand father, Modibbo Adama, had received a flag for Jihad. Equally, the Lamido has played host to three Sultans of Sokoto, Sir Abubakar III, Ibrahim Dasuki and Muhammadu Maccido, in Yola. Apart from visiting other emirates on friendship tours, the Lamido visited the Cameroun Republic in December 1965 together with the Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello. He has gone to Saudi Arabia on Hajj thrice, first in the company of the premier in 1966, privately in 1982 and thirdly as Amir ul Hajj, or Leader of Hajj Delegation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in 1996One of the yearly routines the Lamido enjoyed was the convocation ceremony of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, which he has been heading as Chancellor since 1979. On December 7, that year, the university awarded him the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD). At the convocation, the Lamido was described as “a man who is an embodiment of royalty, dedication and selfless service to his people and humanity at large, a man who has distinguished himself in transparent honesty and purposeful leadership, a man who has strived for all that is good for the pursuit of national unity, progress and stability.” A man of honour and esteem, Aliyu Musdafa, Lamido Adamawa, was honoured as Commander of British Empire (CBE) in 1959 and Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFR) in 1964.Nigerians from all walks of life have continued to send condolences to the emir’s family and the people of Adamawa State.

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