Nigeria’s Second Republic senate president, the Rt. Hon. Dr Joseph Wayas has died in London at the age of 80.
Wayas, according to dependable sources, died in a London hospital after ill health virtually kept him out of public life for much of the last few years. By his death, Nigeria has obviously lost one of her most colourful, vibrant and intelligent politicians and elder statesmen.
News about his death was disclosed by the government of Cross River State, his home state. According to Christian Ita, Special Adviser to the Cross River Governor on Media and Publicity, Dr Wayas died in the early hours of Tuesday.
Prof. Ben Ayade, the Cross River governor was quoted as saying that Wayas’ death is a monumental loss to the state and Nigeria. He said his
demise has left his “indelible footprints on the sands of time”.
“As a state, Cross River is in pains as we mourn the passing of our illustrious son. He was a rare gem. Dr Wayas’ demise is indeed a monumental loss to our dear state and Nigeria,” Ayade was quoted as saying.
“As Senate President, Dr Wayas contributed to the deepening of Nigeria’s democratic ethos through his robust and vibrant leadership of the upper legislative chamber.
“And since his retirement from active politics, the former Senate President had been playing a fatherly and stabilising role in the politics and affairs of our state.”
One of his associates who is also the publisher of People&Power, Chief Victor Omuabor described the death of Dr Wayas as an irreplaceable loss . According to him:
“The Rt. Hon. Dr Joseph Wayas was a unique Nigerian. He was one of the most intelligent and erudite politicians to come out of this country. He was a committed patriot who promoted the unity of Nigeria to the last. He was the Life Patron of the PSR National Awards hosted annually by our publication, People&Power, We will miss him dearly.”
Dr Joseph Wayas was born in Basang, Obudu in Cross River State on May 21, 1941.
He had his secondary school education at Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha before he went to the United Kingdom where he studied at the Higher Tottenham Technical College, London.
The former senate president also attended the West Bromwich College of Commerce, Science and Technology, Birmingham and Aston University, Birmingham.
Dr Joseph Wayas served as Nigeria’s third Senate President from 1979 to 1983 before the government led by President Shehu Shagari was toppled in a military coup led by the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari who became Nigeria’s head of state.
Wayas was a founding member of the now-defunct All People’s Party. He later joined the People’s Democratic Party in 2002.