By Victor Young
Labor and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige described the death of Senator Payo Ayo Fasanmi as the fall of a large iroko tree in Yorubaland, and the departure of a nationalist and patriot from the Nigerian political firmament.
The minister also sympathized with the Momah clan, the government and the people of Anambra state over the death of the former Minister of Science and Technology in the Babangida military regime, Major General Sam Momah (retired).
Ngige, in a statement, recalled his first meeting with the then Nigerian Unity Party, UPN, Senator at 1004 Victoria Island National Assembly Clinics, where he (Ngige) served as a NYSC physician in 1980.
According to Ngige, “I never knew that Fasanmi was a pharmacist and, after the consultation, he wanted to know the content of some of the drugs, the pharmacokinetics and possible side effects.
“After that discussion, the senator usually called to book an appointment to see me, regardless of the fact that he was a very young doctor.”
Pa Fasanmi was soft-spoken, not boisterous like many other senators, but he was a top scorer.
“No wonder Afenifere handled it with skill. He was an unrepentant awoist and he loved his people very much. ”
After General Momah’s disappearance, the minister expressed sadness and described him “as a mild military officer, scientist, and educator.”
Ngige noted that the “General will be remembered as one of the few Ibo men who joined us in the crusade to make the Muhammadu Buhari presidency a reality, especially in 2015, when it was taboo for any Ibo man to support a Buhari against his ‘brother’ Azikiwe Ebele Jonathan.
“Retiring from the military, Sam Momah also distinguished himself as an author and a cunning businessman with his burgeoning hotel chain and other real estate companies.
“This is the time when Nigeria needs nationalists like him, who have built bridges of friendship across all divisions as the country nears 2023.
“May the good Lord grant the soul of these two patriots an eternal and peaceful rest.”