By Tunde Rahman

He was 58 years old. Many would attest to the fact that he lived a good life. He was one of the finest pilots the country has ever produced. He trained and made many other pilots. He had previously worked with the Nigeria Airways and the Presidential Air Fleet in Abuja. Even after leaving the Presidential Air Fleet to train pilots, he was often called upon to fly planes in the presidential fleet to convey important dignitaries. Before he died, Inspector-General of Police MD Abubakar had commandeered him to be his pilot, often calling on him to fly him. Captain Yusuf Sabo Sambo, younger brother of Vice President Namadi Sambo, died last Sunday in a car crash on his way to the airport in Abuja to ply his trade-fly a plane-. His car suddenly lost a tyre and the car headed for a tree. It immediately burst into flames, which consumed Sabo Sambo.

Captain Sabo
Late Captain Sabo

Sambo, Away in Tanzania Then

Vice President Sambo was away in Dares Salam, Tanzania, representing President Goodluck Jonathan at that country’s golden jubilee anniversary. On arrival, he was immediately driven to the National Mosque, Abuja for the brief Muslim funeral service in honour of his late brother. Late Captain Sabo’s remains were later interred at Abuja Cemetery. President Jonathan and his wife, First Lady Dame Jonathan, led some top government functionaries to condole with Sambo later that Sunday over the death of his brother. Jonathan described the circumstances of the deceased’s death as saddening. He said last Sunday was one of the saddest days in Nigeria. “We are all mere mortals. All of us are from the earth; we must all go back to the earth. We do not know the timing of this journey all of us must make. This world is a place where we come to play our different roles. He left too early. Maybe he left when the ovation is loudest. He left at a time we needed him most. But there is nothing we can do,” the president said.

Akinola Aguda House, Mecca of Sorts

Since that Sunday, the vice president’s residence, Akinola Aguda House, at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, has been a Mecca of sorts to Nigerians of all walks of life. Senate President David Mark, governors, National Assembly members, captains of industry and other notable Nigerians had all visited the place. Among those this writer sighted last Tuesday when he also called to condole with the vice president were Governors of Delta, Akwa Ibom, Kogi and Kaduna states- Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Obong Godswill Akpabio, Captain Idris Wada and Alhaji Ramalan Yero respectively. Also there at the time was the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, Mr. Bala Nigilari.

The Scene of the accident
The Scene of the accident

Speaking during his visit, Governor Uduaghan said maybe Captain Sabo left too early, but ”Who are we to question God but to accept His Will”. He urged the vice president to be strong to be able to withstand the loss.

Sambo said the deceased, who was his immediate younger brother, was one of the most experienced pilots in the country. What he did not say is that the late Sabo was one of his closest companions. “They were very close. Captain Sabo was the vice President’s confidant, a close confidant indeed,” one aide of the Vee Pee said.  Within hours of loosing his brother, the vice president had dipped; he had lost weight because Sabo’s death was a big blow to him. The late Sabo is survived by his wife, three daughters and some siblings. May his soul rest in peace.


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