• Obasanjo, Opadokun, others pay tributes to ex-Lagos Milad
GLADYS, widow of former military administrator of Lagos and Imo states, Real Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, on Thursday blamed her husband’s death on a private hospital that was treating him.
Mrs. Kanu told The Nation that the family had concluded plans to fly the former naval officer abroad when the hospital’s medical personnel said he had recovered.
She did not name the hospital.
According to her, the late Kanu had not been sick for so many years, prior to the last illness.
Asked about the former Milad’s last moment, Mrs. Kanu said: “He didn’t really have any last moment because he has never been sick all the years I’ve known him; never been in any hospital.
“We used to go for check-ups near our home in London, like twice in a year, but not for him to be admitted to the hospital. He was only sick for about 11 days. At the time I was trying to fly him abroad with an air ambulance, the hospital where he was, was telling me there was nothing serious, that he has recovered. They kept giving false hopes and deceiving us.
“We got admission for him in a London hospital. We were arranging the air ambulance before they (medical personnel) said there was no need for that, that he’d recovered, only for them to send me a message yesterday (Wednesday) that he had passed on.
“It wasn’t long enough. He was in the hospital for only 11 days.”
She said her last conversation with her husband was on Monday.
She described him as an intelligent man.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday said the late Kanu was among Nigerians who served the nation in various capacities.
In a letter of condolence to Mrs. Ndubuisi-Kanu, Chief Obasanjo said: “Admiral Kanu’s inspiring career traversed soldiering, public administration, pro-democracy activism and business.
“It is noteworthy that in the course of his military service, which straddled more than two decades, he acquitted himself as a dedicated officer, a gentleman and a real patriot.
“From the thick of the Nigerian Civil War, where he commanded various regiments and corps, to the post-war re-organisation of the military, he distinguished himself as a seasoned military officer to which I could bear witness.
“Admiral Kanu was acknowledged as a disciplined, detribalised, transparent and humane public officer with an enviable track record. He left behind an impeccable record of leadership, a legacy of forthrightness, thoroughness and unwavering commitment to public good.”
Also, a National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) stalwart, Chief Ayo Opadokun, described the late NADECO Chairman’s death as “extremely painful and unexpected”.
Opadokun said the late Kanu, despite his towering figure in the military and political offices, endured the humiliation and disrespect for his person due to his position in the organisation.
He recalled how security operatives during Gen. Sani Abacha days violated Kanu’s privacy severally.
Opadokun said: “Admiral Kanu would ever remain a public officer with a human conscience. He did his possible best to ensure that the Nigerian state changed course in order for us to build a just, equitable, politically stable, and prosperous nation.
“But the power brokers remain resistant to the most compelling and necessary change. That is, restoring Nigeria to Federal Constitution to save the country. Rather, they always imagined and composed conspiracy theory around any criticism of their misrule as designed to remove them from office.
“NADECO is proud to state without any reservation that Admiral Kanu’s career in the military was not exploited as most others do to satisfy their personal aggrandisement, crude accumulation of stolen public funds. Let it be known that Admiral Kanu, as a former Governor of Lagos State, owned just one building till his death.”
He commiserated with the widow, his children, the Lagos and Imo State governments and all members of NADECO.
The NADECO chieftain noted that it would be “very difficult to replace the National Chairman who has left his positive footsteps on the footprints of time”.
Opadokun added: “In NADECO, we remain committed to the pursuit of ensuring that Nigeria returns to Federal Constitutional governance upon which Nigeria secured her independence in 1960.”
Other dignitaries who paid condolence visits to the Kanus yesterday included Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Dr. Amos Akingba, Dr. Fred Agbeyegbe, Col. Tony Nyiam (retd.), Emma Ejiofor, Dr. Goodwill Ihetu, Dr. Bala Yesufu and Linus Okoroji.
Durojaiye described the late Kanu as a “dedicated Nigerian patriot in whose house we of the NADECO group used to meet to press for the ouster of military rule and restoration of democracy”.
Akingba said: “Farewell to a decent human being. He came, saw evil and conquered.”
Agbeyegbe recalled that for some 50 years, “we did everything together. Why did you have to do this alone? You cheated, worst still, it is wicked to leave me behind, especially since I am older. Adieu, my twin brother”.
Nyiam described the late military administrator as an example of a true officer and gentleman.
“He was an epitome of courage and defender of good conscience against a military junta. Transit peacefully,” he said.
Okoroji described him as his greatest leader and best friend.
Ejiofor called him a rare gem and a seasoned administrator.
Yesufu said Kanu’s death was shocking, devastating. “This is unbelievable, yet it is true. Daddy was a good man,” he said.
Dr. Ihetu said the Ndigbo had lost an icon.
Also, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday mourned Kanu.
At the creation of Imo State in 1976, Kanu was appointed the military administrator of Imo State where he made indelible footprints.
In a statement yesterday in Awka, by its Publicity Secretary, Chiedozie Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze said: “As a robust thinker, he engaged the services of town planners to prepare a master plan for Owerri metropolis; built durable roads and was instrumental to increasing the number of local government areas in Imo State to 21.”
Former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi said the late Kanu was a great patriot who served the nation in different capacities in public service, military service and political leadership.
He prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and comfort his family and all those mourning.
Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu described Kanu’s death as a huge loss to the people of Abia State and Nigeria.
“From his military career, where he served meritoriously in the Navy, to his appointment as member of the Supreme Military Council in 1975, to his appointment as the first Military Governor of the old Imo State in March 1976, Military Governor of Lagos State in 1977, amongst others, the Admiral’s life exemplified the best ideals of public service,” he said.
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Yinka Oyebode, described Kanu’s death as a monumental loss to Nigeria, given the late activist’s commitment to the stability of the country.