Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State on Thursday narrated how he made a last minute decision not to board the aircraft that claimed the life of the late military administrator of the state, Col. Abdullahi Wase, and some other state government officials.
The governor narrated his experience when he received on a courtesy visit, the newly appointed Nigerian Ambassador to Romania, Barr. Safiya Nuhu, a Kano indigene, whose father also died in the plane crash.
According to Ganduje, “myself, as the then Commissioner of Works, Housing and Transport, was to visit the Wase Juma’at Mosque which was under construction.
“And I was the coordinator for the appeal fund to build that mosque. The governor was to travel to inspect the project and also pay a condolence visit over a relation that died. So, I coordinated the journey.
“I secured the aircraft that was used for that journey, the aircraft was owned by Alhaji Aminu Dantata. I was the one who wrote all the names of those that were to travel with the administrator.
“And your father was not among, as I was going out from the government house, the late Wase was climbing the stairs through the family wing and your dad came to me asking why his name was not there.
“Then the late Wase after climbing one step, stopped and asked your dad: “you are Permanent Secretary Government house, when there is communication from the villa, who will receive that communication?” It is just like a chief of staff.
“Then late Wase asked what was happening, I then told him that the DG was insisting that he wants to follow us, he then said he should be included, then I included him,” Ganduje told Nuhu.
He added that two of them, in their separate vehicles, drove home because they were staying along the same route in Sharada, and her dad waved and said good night to him and he responded.
According to him, “But on reaching my house, I called my permanent Secretary and told him that we were scheduled to be in Wase through Jos, so I will not be in the office.
“He said that there was an important message. The memo you were asked by the governor to write to the Head of state, they sent the money requested for the rehabilitation of metropolitan roads.
Ganduje explained that after that interaction with his permanent secretary, he decided not to travel with the governor to Wase.
He said that in the morning the technical people came, and as they were holding a meeting then I was told that I was being requested to be at the government house, and I asked who would ask me to be at the Government house when the administrator was not around.
“The messenger said that it was a message, then I left for the government house and went to the council chamber where we were holding our meetings, that was 1996, about 25 years ago.
“Immediately I entered, I saw the brigade commander, who had taken over immediately and some commissioners were crying, then I asked if it was not an air crash. How can commissioners be crying in government house? I asked.
Ganduje quoted the brigade commander, “well, my colleagues, the administrator left here in the morning, there was a crash in Jos, and no survivors. I am giving you one hour, to go and get ready so that we go to Jos and sort out the dead bodies”.
“That was the end of it. Your father was my friend, since secondary school, to the university, and we later started working at the Gumel Advance Teacher’s College” Ganduje told the envoy.