Senate President Wayas Dies at 80, Mark, Ekweremadu, Nnamani Mourn

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Second Republic Senate President, Joseph Wayas, is dead. He died in a London hospital on Tuesday. He was aged 80.

Former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark; ex-Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and former governor of Enugu state, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, described him as an accomplished veteran federal legislator.   In  separate tributes, the trio eulogised the Fourth President of Nigerian Senate, who died on Thursday morning in London, United Kingdom after a brief illness.

Mark, who served as President of the 6th and 7th Senate, in a statement on Thursday, described the demise of one of his predecessors; Dr. Joseph Wayas as a sad end of an era.
Dr. Wayas was the Second Republic President of the Senate during the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari between October 1, 1979 and December 31, 1983. Dr. Alex Ekwueme was the Vice President while Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke was the Speaker, House of Representatives.
In his tribute on the transition of Dr Wayas, Senator Mark described him as a flamboyant, vibrant and distinguished parliamentarian who left his positive footprints in the sand of time.
He paid glowing tribute to Dr Wayas for his invaluable contributions especially his solid foundation for democracy and the legislature in Nigeria.

According to him: “Senator Wayas was a great nationalist. He was a parliamentarian per excellence. His diligence, honesty and uncommon dedication to the ideals of nationhood remains reference points.
“He brought dignity and respect to the legislature by adhering to the rule of law, separation of power and collaborating with the executive arm of government without compromising the independence of the legislature”.

Mark recalled the wise counsel he received from Dr Wayas while in office as the President of the Senate, adding, “Wayas was always handy anytime we had some knotty issues in the Senate. He called and visited regularly to see how we were fairing.”
His death at this time is a loss to the nation especially the legislature because “We shall miss his wise counsel and honest contributions to the issues and welfare of Nigerians.

Mark canvassed that the federal government immortalizes Wayas in recognition of his contributions to national development.
On his part, former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, expressed sadness over the passing on of Senator Wayas, describing him as a veteran of the Nigerian legislature and key player in Nigeria’s constitutional development.
Reacting to the announcement of the demise of the former lawmaker by the Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, the ranking Senator said: “I received with a deep sense of loss the passing on of elder statesman and Nigeria’s former President of the Senate, Distinguished Senator Joseph Wayas.

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“This is particularly a grievous loss to the Nigerian legislature and the nation as a whole. He was a veteran and an institutional memory bank of the Nigerian legislature, and a key player in Nigeria’s constitutional development, having Deputy Chairman of the National Constitutional Conference Commission, which midwifed the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference.

“Senator Wayas gave his all to the nation, had a tempering effect on the polity and acquitted himself most creditable as a patriot, pan-Nigerian, and people-vested political icon and leader.
Also reacting to Wayas demise, the former Governor of Enugu state, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani described his death as a huge loss to the nation especially the political class.
Nnamani who represents Enugu East in the Senate noted that Dr. Wayas was a pathfinder who believed in the sanctity of the ballot as a vehicle for electing leaders at all levels.
The former Governor recalled that as President of the Senate, Dr Wayas demonstrated competence, character and discipline in running the affairs of the upper legislative chamber and by extension the National Assembly.

He noted the honest and robust contributions of Dr. Wayas not just to the legislature but in the overall development of the nation.
Nnamani added that Dr. Wayas was one of the best and fertile minds that presided over the Nigerian Senate, saying “ We have lost a patriot and committed democrat who took the entire country as his constituency”.

He stated that Dr Wayas believed in a fair and just society where no citizen is impeded or inhibited from pursuing his or her legitimate ambition on account of religion, ethnic or tribal leaning.
Nnamani expressed hope that the slogan of one Nigeria, one destiny and brotherhood no matter the differences in tongue which Dr Wayas espoused during his lifetime would be the guiding light for the present and future generation of Nigerians.

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