Both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mourned the passage of the late deputy governor. While the APC described his demise as a huge loss to his family, his party, his state and indeed to Nigeria, the PDP expressed shock over the incidence.
Meanwhile, a pall of gloom shrouded the state when the news of the deputy governor’s death filtered in. Many wept profusely at his funeral and interment. The governor, whom he had gone to Yola to represent at the Modibbo Adama University of Science and Technology convocation ceremony, could barely hold back tears when he saw his lifeless body.
The deputy governor was found dead in the early hours of yesterday by his aides when they sought the help of the staff of the Yola-based hotel to open his room. This was after it had become apparent that he was yet to rise from his bed.
Mustapha, according to some of his aides who spoke anonymously to journalists, had retired to bed at about 11pm on Friday. This was after instructing them to congregate for Saturday’s activities at 7:30am, insisting that they would be leaving the hotel by 8 am.
The late deputy governor was also expected to attend the early morning Islamic prayers at about 5am yesterday. But when he failed to turn up for the prayers, many had thought that he had decided to pray alone in his hotel room. They (the aides), however, became suspicious when he did not come out even minutes after the planned arrangement.
The deputy governor was confirmed dead at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola. Sources at the Federal Medical Centre confirmed to newsmen that the deputy governor was brought in dead. His body was subsequently deposited temporarily at the hospital mortuary from where it was later taken to the Yola airport en route the Borno State capital for burial.
His body was conveyed to his official residence in preparation for his funeral soon after its arrival at the Maiduguri International Airport at 4:10pm. With the conclusion of the funeral rites by the Imam Idaini of Borno, Imam Adam Ibn Elsunusiya, it was interred at the Maiduguri cemetery, Gwange.
Among the dignitaries at the event were the Borno State governor, the Yobe State Deputy Governor, Abubakar Aliyu, his Adamawa State counterpart, the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno and other service chiefs, who were in Borno and Yobe State to assess the security situation.
The late deputy governor would be remembered for his passion for the welfare of the IDPs as well as for his forthrightness and candour. Seen in many circles in the state as instrumental to the success of the Shettima administration, he had served as chair to many important committees, among which is the Amir-ul- Hajj for the past three years, the committee in charge of the Legacy Estate and the committee on IDPs, among others.
Born in Biu in 1966, the late Mustapha had a brief stint at the Nigerian Navy, from which he resigned in 1993 to establish a clearing and forwarding business in Lagos.
He later joined politics with the return of democracy in 1999 and contested for the chairmanship of Biu Local Government Council under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but lost the election.
After losing his bid to become the deputy governor of the state in 2007, he was compensated with the appointment of the Chairman of the National Library Board.
He also attempted running for the same post with Alhaji Kashim Imam on the platform of PDP in 2011. When they both lost at the primaries, he decamped from the PDP and formed an alliance with the then All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and was immediately adopted as Shettima’s running mate. They won the elections and were sworn in on May 29, 2011. The duo clinched a second-term ticket this year.
His last engagement in the state was the inauguration of the 2015 Amir-ul-Hajj committee in his office on Wednesday before travelling to Yola.
The first serving state deputy governor to die in office, he is survived by his wife and three children.
Flags were flown at half mask across the state even as many were seen in mournful mood.