Former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has expressed sadness and shock over the death of his predecessor, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, noting that Nigeria had lost a legislative icon.

Ekweremadu, while reacting to Mantu’s death through a statement by his Media Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, said the deceased who he succeeded as the Deputy Senate President in June 2007, helped to shape the legislature in the current republic and also laid the foundation for the eventual successful amendments to the 1999 Constitution.

He said: “I received with a deep sense of loss the passing on of my predecessor, the late Distinguished Senator Ibrahim Mantu. This is a heavy loss to the nation, particularly the legislature where his impact was greatly felt.

“He played critical roles in reinventing the legislature with the advent of the current democratic era.

“In particular, as Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman of the Joint National Assembly Committee on Constitution Amendment, Senator Mantu will be remembered for pioneering the constitution amendment process in the current democratic dispensation in response to agitations over the many inadequacies and contradictions of the 1999 Constitution.

“Although no successful amendment was recorded in the Fifth National Assembly under him, obviously due to lack of template of procedure and experience by a National Assembly that was just truly re-emerging after decades of military rule, the challenges encountered by that attempt ably chaired by Distinguished Senator Mantu helped us to chart a procedure, avoid some pitfalls, and ultimately break the jinx in the Sixth National Assembly.

“Since then, we have gone on to record many critical amendments especially in the areas of electoral reform and institutions building to deepen and strengthen our democracy.”

Ekweremadu described Mantu as an institution builder, recalling that the deceased lawmaker was the pioneer Chairman of the Policy Analysis and Research Project, PARP, a capacity building project for the National Assembly, which he later inherited as his successor in 2007 and helped to transform into the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS.

He added that the deceased was a cosmopolitan and deft politician, who while in the legislature, saw the entire nation as his constituency.

“Senator Mantu was deeply embedded in the politics of not only the nation and our great party, the People’s Democratic Party, but also in the politics of the apex legislature.

“Give it to him also; he was a man who spoke his mind, a dynamic, detribalised, flamboyant, and an engaging politician. There was never a dull moment with him. He will be highly missed,” the lawmaker further stressed.

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