Akin Akande, Abuja
Daughter of the late former Governor of Plateau State and founding National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Chief Solomon Lar, who passed away last week, Honourable Benny Lar, at the weekend said if not for the intervention of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, her father would have been eliminated by the military administration in 1998.
Lar, 80, died in a United States hospital las week, after a protracted illness. According to the statement from the Plateau State government, Lar died at about 3.00 a.m. American time (about 9.00 a.m. Nigerian time).
“The late Chief Lar was a member of the G34 that had the like of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, late Chief Bola Ige among other democratic activists who were campaigning for the return of democracy into the country after long years of military rule,” she said.
“He took a letter written by the group to the then Military Head of States, late General Sani Abacha, demanding the vacation of power by the military and release of all political detainees,” she explained.
“Chief Lar was to be eliminated after delivering the letter but it was Major Al-Mustapha who leaked the plot and allowed him to escape unhurt,” she stated.
Honourable Benny Lar who represents Langtang North and South federal constituency at the House Representatives said her late father had always told her to be thankful to Major Al-Mustapha anytime any day they meet.
She spoke when Major Al-Mustapha paid a condolence visit to the Lar’s family at their Abuja residence.
According to her, it was God that used the former Chief Security Officer to the late General Sani Abacha to play that great role which resulted in the termination of military rule in the country and emergence of democracy.
Her words: “To my brother whom I have not met but have heard many about him from Baba. Like I said, Baba spoke glowingly about you and Baba called me many years ago that have I heard about one Major Al-Mustapha, I was in America during that period. I didn’t really know what was going on but Baba asked me if I had known and he wanted me to know you, to meet you and he said ‘any day and any time you meet that man tell him thank you for what he did for your father’.
“He said had it not been for you he would not have been alive then because the former military government when he delivered the letter and fought for democracy had planned to eliminate him even on that day. But you were the one that came and said, ‘Baba, you are my father and the father of democracy,’ and because you too you are a believer in democracy and I would call you a true democrat, you decided to save Baba and by so doing you saved democracy.
“So we thank you so much for the role you played. The God almighty is the one that used you to play this great role because had you not done so may be it would have been a different story today military rule may have prolonged. But with that and God’s intervention military rule came to end and we are able to have a good civilian era, which I believe by God’s grace you are contributing to and you will continue to contribute to more effectively by the special grace of God.”
Speaking earlier, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha who had earlier gone to Gwagwalada Emirate on appreciation tour to thank the people of the place for their prayers during his years in prison said he learned a lot of lessons from late Chief Solomon Lar.
Said Al-Mustapha: “I received so much from him. At a point lastly, I would say in October 18, 19,20 and 21, 1998 I was arrested I was in touch with him on the same Cell phone 090 he was talking about. I was talking to him every blessed day on that cell phone. It was difficult to get him from Enugu that time because of connectivity problem.
“I used to go outside towards the hill behind the GOC’s residence to be able to get signal. I always run around to discuss issues with him and up to the time I was arrested that was the last time I had discussion with him on the 20th. On the 21st was a Saturday, 21st October 1998, I was arrested on that day and that was the last I communicating with him with 090.
“But then when I was brought to Kuje prison in 2001, I sent a note to him. I received threats, my father was attacked because certain parties wanted me not to speak at Oputa Panel and I decided to send a short note to him, seeking for his advice. He said he was not to reply but he was coming to see me face-to-face, at least we lost touch and that was an opportunity.
“I saw him last in 1998 at the situation he narrated and physically I thought 2001 was to be, yet from advice note I had was what stopped him from coming. I was actually full of anxiety, looking forward to meeting him soon after my release, then I was also involved in some other things. I thought we were going to meet here in Abuja but God has designed that that was not to be.
“But all these gaps notwithstanding, tomorrow God almighty will see and propel in us the zeal in us and the spirit with which he served Nigeria, with which he stood as a distinguished statesman and every young promising soul in this country shall be seeing to see the mirror in him and I will continue to spur talks believing that his spirit would ignite our activities in service to humanity and God almighty.
“With this, I tell you that we are all mourning and we pray that God almighty will accept him to his bosom and will bless him.
“He will give all of us the fortitude to bear this huge loss. It is a loss to this country, it is a loss to many communities outside Nigeria that he touched. I pray God almighty condole all of us, I pray for his soul to rest in perfect peace. Please accept our condolences,” he said.