Elder Statesman and former Nigerian Ambassador Extraordinary with concurrent accreditation to Russia and Belarus, Retired Air Commodore Dan Suleiman has passed on to glory in Abuja at the age of 80. This was disclosed by his daughter Aisha on Wednesday. “According to the daughter Aisha, the Senior Officer (Suleiman) died at approximately 1100 hrs at his home in Wuse II Abuja”. “His remains have been deposited at the morgue of NAF Hospital Abuja pending family decision on next line of action”.
Late Ambassador Dan Suleiman was a member of General Murtala Muhammed’s Supreme Military Council between July 1975 and March 1976. He was the military governor of Plateau State from March 1976 to July 1978 after it had been created from part of the old Benue Plateau State.
After the return to democracy in 1999 in the Nigerian Fourth Republic, Ambassador Suleiman became Chairman of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), a socio-political group representing the people of the Middle Belt of Nigeria. Ambassador Suleiman played a leading role during the Nigerian Civil War (1966–1970). He was appointed to the cabinet of General Gowon in January 1975.
As Federal Commissioner for Special Duties, he was instrumental in founding the ECOWAS. He assisted in the military coup of 29 July 29 1975, when Gowon was deposed, and replaced by General Murtala Muhammed. Following the coup, he was appointed a member of the Supreme Military Council. Late General Murtala Mohammed appointed him Commissioner for Health. The Elder Statesman was appointed the first military governor of Plateau State from March 1976 to July 1978, after Benue-Plateau State was divided into Benue State and Plateau State.
As governor, he made the progressive proposal that anyone born in Plateau State or anyone who had lived in the state for 20 years should enjoy all the rights and privileges of a native regardless of ethnic origin. Suleiman was Chairman of Allied Bank of Nigeria Plc between 1984 and 1986. He resisted the leadership after the elections of 12 June 1993 were annulled. As a result of being one of the founders of NADECO, he went into exile only to return on 7 October 1998.
He became a leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa State. The party went on to win the national elections in 1999. He later became chairman of the Middle Belt Forum in September 2001, as chairman of the MBF. In the 2003 PDP primaries in Delta State, he was head of the electoral panel. He joined the board of directors of Trans Nationwide Express.
By 2006, he was the Nigerian Ambassador Extraordinary with concurrent accreditation to Russia and Belarus. In June 2007, he was summoned to Russia’s Foreign Ministry to discuss the kidnapping of six Russian employees of RUSAL, the world’s largest aluminium producer. The workers were snatched from the company’s residential compound in the Niger Delta. In June 2009, President Yar’adua appointed him chairman of the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria. The Elder statesman celebrated his 80th Birthday on 30th June 2022.
While serving as Nigerian Ambassador Extraordinary with concurrent accreditation to Russia and Belarus, he was a sincere and God-fearing man. Ambassador Dan Suleiman remains the only ambassador who truly deserves to be called “Your Excellency” because he lived an excellent and decent life. He was financially prudent when he served as an Ambassador here in Russia during Obasanjo’s presidency.
His financial prudence was displayed when he genuinely used the Four Million United States Dollars allocated for the purchase of the first and only Nigerian mission (Embassy) in Moscow, Russia, without adding extra cost as is commonly practised by most public servants in Nigeria. The beautiful and clean building which formally belonged to an American missionary and religious organisation was located at No 4 Frezernaya street, Moscow.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian Mission that Ambassador Suleiman bought was re-sold for Five million Dollars by the then Charge D’ Affairs and his gang of rogues who took office after him citing false excuses to justify their actions and the money was shared. This was a Federal Government of Nigeria’s property located in the centre of Moscow and sold for a paltry sum of Five Million Dollars without an authorisation order from the Federal government of Nigeria. Currently, the market price of that building is now valued at over Fifty Million Dollars. This has deprived us of the opportunity of owning a Nigerian mission in Moscow, and to date, we never had our own mission building.
As I write this, Nigeria continues to rent property in the centre of Moscow at an exorbitant cost per annum, which is almost the same cost Ambassador Dan Suleiman bought the one that was sold.
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