Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Tribute: Chief G.Y. Aduku…A Cypress Among Pliant Shrubs Has Gone Home To Rest

By Linus Akor, PhD

It will amount to attempting the impossible, to fittingly and adequately capture whom Arc. Chief G.Y, Aduku was during his remarkable sojourn on planet earth. This is because describing him precisely will mean leaving out some of his unique and uncommon attributes. Like the proverbial elephant, one can only say the much he knew and felt of him from the perspective they have encountered the quintessential architect. For want of time and space, I will only chronicle for posterity, a few of the numerous and didactic life –transforming experiences I had and shared with Arc. Gabriel Yakubu Aduku.
I recall with nostalgia my first meeting with him in 1995 at the N0. 2 Ali Akilu Road Corporate Headquarters office of Archon, Nigeria, the professional architectural firm which he co-founded and nurtured to greatness. I, in company of Messrs. John Aduku and Joseph Edegbo had visited him to share some thoughts on sundry political issues. In the course of the visit, Mr. John Aduku introduced me to Arc. Aduku as his cousin, who had graduated with a First Class Honours Sociology degree from the Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto. There and then, he told the duo of John Aduku and Joseph Edegbo that he was engaging me as his Media Assistant!
I was lost for words as to what an Architect would need a Media Assistant for. It was later, that he confided in me that having reached the peak of the architecture profession, he desired to give back to humanity by venturing into politics. Then began the journey with Arc. G.Y. Aduku, into the murky waters of Nigerian politics. I traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria with Arc. Aduku to attend numerous political party engagements either in the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Even though he did not realize his ambition to fly the flag of the PDP as its Kogi State gubernatorial candidate in 1999, Arc. Aduku, a loyal party member, remained with the party, at a time that it was easily convenient for others to cross carpet to other political parties in pursuit of stomach infrastructure! He remained a committed and active member of the PDP till the end.
As one of his close aides, I recall that Arc. Aduku’s political career literally reached a crescendo in July 2007 when he was appointed Minister of State, Health, by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Upon assumption of office, Arc. Aduku immediately hit the ground running with private sector driven innovative ideas on how to move the health sector to its desired level within the shortest possible time. Unknown to him, his speed and vision were not in synch with that of the senior minister who never hid her disdain for the junior minister. In fact, shortly after the swearing in ceremony, the senior minister openly wondered “what an architect is doing in the ministry of health”. That negative mindset marked the beginning of what turned out to be a very frosty relationship between the two ministers. It is on record that several strategic meetings in which Arc. Aduku would have made valuable inputs were held without his knowledge. In fact, it took a presidential intervention for the senior minister to purge herself of such pettiness. Despite the toxic working environment, Arc. Aduku, forged ahead with an unyielding determination to make a success of his assignment. One of such opportunities to show case his exceptional acumen came when the then President, appointed him to Chair a presidential committee with a mandate to carry out a forensic audit of abandoned projects in all primary health centres across the country. He and his team not only completed the assignment in record time, but also received presidential applause during the report presentation ceremony.

Shortly after that assignment, events literally took a turn for the worst for the minister as detractors peddled unfounded allegations against him, all in a bid to smear his hard earned reputation. Part of the allegation that was sold to the EFCC and embraced by the anti-corruption agency was that the Senior Minister and Arc. Aduku, had in December of 2007, misappropriated unspent funds of the Federal Ministry of Health, instead of retuning same to the government coffers, in violation a presidential directive. To make way for thorough investigation, Arc. Aduku, in a rare display of integrity and patriotism, resigned his appointment and challenged the trumped up charges against him, from the High Court through the Appeal Court up to the Supreme Court where he was eventually given a clean bill of health.

I am deeply touched and amazed by the fact that despite the enormity of the conspiratorial setbacks, tribulation, humiliation, gang ups and injustice that he suffered in the course of his service to the fatherland, Arc. Aduku as an exemplary man of peace and faith, never begrudged his traducers but forgave them in the true spirit of a devout and devoted Christian. His life is a big lesson in humility. He was simply a cypress among pliant shrubs!

Even though death has physically separated the Amana-Ogohi 1 Ata-Igala from us, we are none-the-less, consoled by the fact that he lived a fulfilled and exemplary Christian life. His children – Uneku, Adaji, Ibe, Achi and Ibro, should be proud to have had him as a worthy and accomplished father.

In summary, I wish to say without any equivocation that Arc, Chief Gabriel Yakubu Aduku was the best gift to humanity because nobody who encountered him while he lived, has ever remained the same.

Abooo, like St. Paul in his letter to Timothy 4:7, you have fought the good fight to the end; you have run the race to the finish line and have kept the faith. Good night!
Dr. Linus Akor
(Former Media Aide to Chief G.Y. Aduku)

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