The Bauchi State government on Friday revealed plans to rehabilitate the tomb of Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, in Bauchi.
The plans were revealed by the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Asma’u Ahmed Giade, at the annual memorial lecture and prayers for the late First Republic Head of Government, organised by the state government held at the tomb.
The mausoleum housing the tomb, according to Dr Giade, had been neglected for decades by successive administrations in the state.
She informed that the Governor Bala Mohammed-led administration had set a plan in motion to renovate the place with a view to making it attractive to tourists from within and outside the country.
The commissioner acknowledged contributions of some corporate bodies and individuals towards the renovation of the late political icon.
“I will not forget to also acknowledge First Bank of Nigeria Plc who had declared interest to contribute towards the renovation of the tomb.
“Also, I will not round off my speech without mentioning the efforts of National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) and particularly Shehu Baba Azare, in doing his ultimate best to see that Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa remembrance day becomes a reality in Bauchi state.
“Before I round off, I want to acknowledge the effort of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation for their numerous contributions to the upgrading of the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa tomb,” she said.
Dr Giade informed that Governor Mohammed last year declared every 15th January as a day of prayers for the late Sir Tafawa Balewa, adding that the Bauchi State House of Assembly had made legislation to make the day official.
In his remarks, the eldest son of the late Prime Minister, Malam Yakubu Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, lamented that the children of the late icon are not being carried along in the scheme of things in the nation.
Highlights of the occasion were special prayers offered for the repose of the soul of the late Sir Tafawa Balewa by the Chief Imam of Bauchi, Sheikh Bala Baban Inna, renowned cleric, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi and Reverend Abraham Dimas.
Governor Mohammed was represented at the occasion by his Deputy Senator Baba Tela.