President Muhammadu Buhari has described the death of former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Gidado Idris, as a big loss to the nation, while the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufa’i described the late Gidado as ‘distinguished elder statesman’.

The former SGF died on Friday night in Abuja at the age of 82 after a brief illness, and was buried at Gudu Cemetery in FCT on Saturday amid tears and prayers from families and the Muslim community.

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Mr. Idris, who hailed from Zaria in Kaduna State, was appointed SGF in 1993 and retired in 1999 after a civil service career that started before Nigeria’s independence.

The president, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Saturday, expressed sadness at the passing on of Mr. Idris.

He said “being a highly experienced and quintessential technocrat who traversed the different stages of the political evolution of the country, Gidado’s wise counsel will surely be missed.”

The president added that the deceased, in addition to rising to the pinnacle of his public career as SGF, served several civilian and military administrations meritoriously as Federal Permanent Secretary, adding that Mr. Gidado left inspiring imprints.

He, therefore, enjoined current and upcoming civil and public servants to emulate the cherished values of hard work, discipline, professionalism and integrity which the late distinguished nationalist embodied. He commiserated with the family and associates of the deceased and prayed that God would comfort them.

Likewise, in a message of condolence to the family of the former SGF,  Governor el-Rufa’i said that Mr. Idris served Nigeria well.

“Alhaji Idris was a dedicated public servant who provided decades of distinguished service to this country. He was a father to us, widely admired for his humility and discipline.

“I personally benefitted from his humility, wisdom and foresight, when I served as a presidential advisor in the Programme Implementation and Monitoring Committee from 1998 to 1999.

“May Almighty Allah grant his soul Aljannah Firdausi, and his family the fortitude to bear this loss.”

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El-Rufai’s condolence message was signed by Samuel Aruwan, the Governor’s Senior Special Assistant Media and Publicity.

The burial of Mr. Idris was concluded at around 3 p.m. on Saturday and was attended by the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, among others.

Other dignitaries included the former Deputy President of Senate, Ibrahim Mantu, former FCT Minister, Aliyu Modibbo, former SGF, Babagana Kingibe, the Executive Secretary, Abuja National Mosque, Ibrahim Jega.

Also at the burial were Hamza Al-Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to late Military Head of State, Sani Abacha and former Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger.

SGF Boss Mustapha said the deceased was among the brilliant technocrats produced by the country over the years.

He described him as “an embodiment of generous spirit, hard work and an experienced public servant.”

He said the late former SGF was endowed with institutional memory of the things that happened in the course of Nigeria’s journey to nationhood.

He also described late Gidado as humble, thorough and simple man who was very accessible to whomever stepped into his office as SGF.

“I believe he was endowed with institutional memory of the things that happened in the course of Nigeria’s growth as nation.

“The death was a huge lose to the family and the nation at large.”

Former Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UK, Sarki Tafida, who expressed shock over the sudden death of Gidado, also said it was a huge lose to the nation.

He said “when I got the news earlier today, I was shocked but I know that life is in the hands of God and Allah can take one’s life at anytime.”

The eldest son of the deceased, Alhaji Ali Gidado, described his father as a devoted family man and principled civil servant who taught his children to fear Allah wherever they found themselves.