A former Senator Representing Katsina East Senatorial Zone, Alhaji Kanti Bello, who vowed over two months to campaign against President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, is dead.
Bello died in a hospital in Abuja early morning of Tuesday at the age of 72 in a brief illness.
And in a show of magnanimity, President Muhammadu Buhari, just like Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, sent his heartfelt condolences to the Kanti-Bello family as well as the government and people of Katsina State on the death of Senator Mahmud Kanti-Bello.
A statement from the President’s spolesman, Mr. Femi Adesins, said he also commiserated with the Senate over the passage of their colleague and former Senate Chief Whip, who served two-terms in the upper legislative chamber.
The presidential statement reads further: “As Senator representing Katsina Central Constituency/Daura Senatorial zone from 2003-2011, President Buhari recalls that the late Senator Bello was a very outspoken and courageous patriot, who worked hard to ensure that all levels of government in the country were responsible and accountable.
“The President believes that Senator Bello’s effective representation of his people at the national level and commitment to the unity of Nigeria will be long remembered and honoured; and will continue to serve as inspiration to many others.
“President Buhari urges Senator Kanti-Bello’s family, friends and associates to honour his memory by continually upholding the values of honesty and accountability, which served as his reference point throughout his public service.
The President prays that Almighty Allah will comfort all who mourn him and grant his soul eternal rest.”
Media reports say that Senator Bello would be buried in the evening in Katsina Town according to Islamic rites.
The Senator was the former General Manager of Katsina Steel Rolling Mills and Served as the manager for over 10 years.
Senator Kanti Bello is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a two- term senator representing Katsina East at the National Assembly.
The Senator graduated from faculty of Engineering at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The Senator was several times a gubernatorial candidate under the Defunct SDP, ANPP and APC
He is survived by a wife, several children and many grandchildren.
Among his children is the Katsina State Commissioner for Resource Development, Alhaji Mustafa Kanti Bello.
In an interview two months ago, Late Bello granted an interview in which he expressed regret drafting President Muhammadu Buhari into politics.
The Senator had said, ”Let me be frank with you, in Katsina, where I come from, people are finding it difficult to eat three times a day, not even two times.
“Things are difficult. The economy is so bad, whatever you are buying, and inflation has tripled. A bag of maize that used to sell at N4,000 when Buhari took over is now selling at N16,000 and at that price, people aren’t getting it to buy.
“I am a practical person. Do we look at all these and continue to praise the government? No! Yes, we praise the government when it comes to Boko Haram, it has reduced its activities in the North-East and there is some stability in parts of the North with regards to the bombings—it has reduced drastically or virtually gone.
“Yes, there is something good there but then after it has gone, there is kidnapping. People are being kidnapped and murdered. We aren’t safe, you cannot even travel from here to Kaduna without feeling that something can happen to you. You see, we have got rid of one evil and another has come in.
“So, all we are saying is that Buhari and his APC government hasn’t solved our problems. I am part of that government and I apologize to the masses that our economic policy is a failure.
“We have scored 50 per cent on security but certainly the economic policy of the government has failed the masses because I am part of the masses. People aren’t living well in this country. That’s the truth.
“Up till now, our factories, our industries are dead, our people are poorer. Look at our economy, it has been so bad; the exchange rate, they say it has been improving.
“Improving? From N160 to a dollar, now it is N368 to a dollar. Is that an improvement? Two years ago, it was N160 to the dollar. Is that something to be proud of? It reached almost N500.”
Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has expressed grief over the death of former Senate Chief Whip, Muhammad Kanti Bello, who passed away on Tuesday.
The deceased who served in the Senate for two terms represented Katsina North Senatorial District between 2003 and 2011 under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki described late Bello as an outspoken and courageous legislator, who was always guided by national interest and that of his community in discharging his legislative responsibilities.
“With the death of Senator Kanti Bello, the Senate and indeed the National Assembly has lost a reliable adviser whose wise counsel on national issues was always being sought by both the leadership and individual Senators.
“During his stay in the Senate, late Kanti Bello was known for his outspokenness, forthrightness and courage in telling truth to those in power without attaching any partisan, religious or tribal sentiments”, Saraki stated.
The President of the Senate, according to the statement believes that Senator Bello’s wise counsel, insight and forthrightness would be sorely missed by the Senate, his community and the entire country.
While sympathizing with the immediate family of the late Senator, his friends, constituents and the government and people of Katsina State, Saraki prayed that the Almighty Allah will grant him aljannah firdaus.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has also expressed sadness over the loss, a statement by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan says.
The Speaker, who described the loss of the elder statesman as painful, said that he lived a life of service to the country and embodied patriotic and democratic ideals.
“Alhaji Kanti Bello was a grassroots politician who served the country meritoriously in many capacities including that of distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He left behind a legacy of patriotism and service.
“I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to his immediate family, the people and government of Katsina State, and indeed the entire country over the loss of such a great Nigerian”, he said.
Additional reports by www.nan.ng