by Akan Ido

Minister of Information, Labaran Maku yesterday revealed how he narrowly escaped being involved in the helicopter crash which killed Kaduna Governor, Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser, Andrew Azazi and four others.

Maku who was speaking at the special Federal Executive Council meeting in honour of the dead which held inside the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, said he was supposed to travel with them but decided against it at the last minute.

He said, “When we met in Bayelsa, it was a twist of fate that we did not board the same helicopter because on that day, the Special Adviser to the Vice President, Sani Umar; myself and (a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission) Timi Alaibe, were supposed to travel together with the two of them (Yakowa and Azazi) back to Port Harcourt.

“Somehow, just before we could take off from the funeral arena, Sani backed out and decided to travel alone. I stood up and was going together with them (Yakowa and Azazi) but by some involuntary actions, I returned to my seat.

“I said I would wait for a moment. That was simply the twist of fate that kept us alive, we must give glory to God.”

Most of  the ministers were clad black attire, depicting the mood of the solemn session presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

A minute silence was observed in honour of the deceased while all FEC members led by Jonathan also signed a condolence register in honour of the victims of the crash.

In is tribute, President Goodluck Jonathan described Patrick Yakowa as a different breed of politician who never attracted negative publicity to himself.

He said, “Yakowa was a different class of politician. Most of us who are politicians exploit religious sentiments to divide Nigerians for our own selfish gains. We exploit the North/South divide to divide Nigerians for our selfish gains.

“But Yakowa was very different. He was a gentleman who believed in the unity of this country,” the President said.

On Azazi, he said, “The Honourable Minister (Godsday Orubebe)  just told us that Azazi has a 90-year-old mother. Can you imagine how a 90-year-old mother will mourn a son who did very well and rose to become a four-star General in the Nigerian Army?”

Most of the ministers were reportedly clad black attire, depicting the mood of the solemn session presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.