ABUJA (Sundiata Port) – Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has paid tribute to elder statesman and veteran lawyer, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, who died on Monday morning at 82.
In a statement sent to Sundiata Post by the Atiku Media Office, Abuja, the former Vice President said Braithwaite’s death has robbed Nigeria of one of its greatest giants not only in the field of law, but also in politics.
Atiku said he particularly admired the late Braithwaite because of his unwavering commitment to constitutional reforms, especially his agitation for restructuring of the country.
The former Vice President explained that he shared in Braithwaite’s passion for creating a fairer federal system that would reduce the fear of too much power and resources at the centre at the expense of the federating units.
Atiku said he was keenly following Braithwaite’s contributions on the issue when he was a delegate at the 2014 National Conference, adding that the late elder statesman’s consistency in the pursuit of his convictions was remarkable.
According to him, the late veteran lawyer and politician was not “your typical Nigerian politician that opportunistically changes his opinions to ingratiate himself with the new powers that be.”
“These are extraordinary virtues for which I admire him deeply and regard him as a role model. May his soul rest in peace,” the statement concluded.
Braithwaite died at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos after a brief illness.
He was founder of the defunct Nigerian Advance Party (NAP) in the second republic and was a delegate to the 2014 National Conference where he canvassed for a Confederal Constitution to replace the 1999 Constitution.
In making his proposition then, Braithwaite had said: “Let the word go forth that there are a number of brave, honest nationalistic persons in this Conference that, hopefully would be able to reconstruct Nigeria in a way that the blessings, peace and prosperity rightly deserved by the peoples of this country would be guaranteed by a New Confederal Constitution. Development conference.
”The existing six geopolitical zones are uniquely different developmental problems for which a single ‘’one-size-fits-all ‘solution can never work in the reality of Nigeria’s diversity. The present 1999 Constitution or Decree 24 is enforcing a country that is destroying its own people, and should be rejected outright.
”This Conference must therefore be as much a development conference as a constitutional one. It is our firm conviction that only a Confederal Constitution or a very loose federation is best suited for Nigeria. I say this because I know that no part of Nigeria is desert.”