The remains of Sen. Isaiah Balat was on Wednesday laid to rest at his village, Gora-Bafai in Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Balat was a Minister of Works and Housing during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Until his death last Tuesday, he was a Special Adviser on Special Duties in the Office of the Vice President.
Speaking at the funeral service, Vice President Namadi Sambo described late Balat as “a true democrat who personified hard work and dedication to service.
“He was a rare gem who served the society and achieved greatness in life,” he said.
He said that Balat had a knack for turning challenges into opportunities, saying that it was his very optimistic view of life that made him a successful entrepreneur and great politician.
“We worked together and I found in him a good and reliable friend, a brother, a confidante and a bold adviser, who told me the truth about every situation.
“He was very democratic and very principled; no doubt I shall personally miss his wise counsel, his diction and oratory skills,’’ he said.
Sambo said Balat had created a vacuum in the political sphere which would be difficult to fill, adding that his selfless service to humanity would ever be remembered.
He urged Nigerians, especially politicians, to emulate his exemplary lifestyle which he demonstrated in his endeavour.
Gov. Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State said in his speech that late Balat was a detribalised politician who contributed to national development.
“Late Balat was a true leader and a rallying point for his people.’’
The Paramount Ruler of the Atyap community, Dr Harrison Bungon, described late Balat as “a self-made achiever who rose from the dust to prominence’’.
Bungon expressed gratitude to the Federal and Kaduna State Government for according the deceased a befitting burial.
He said the gesture gave the Atyap community a sense of belonging.
Prof. Jerry Gana, a former minister of Information, said the deceased was a bridge builder and a principled politician who stood for social justice.
In a sermon delivered by the Minister in charge of ECWA, Wuse II, Rev. Barje Maigadi, who took text from Rev. 20:1, described physical death for those who believed in Christ as a transition to a new life.
The clergy challenged Christians to stand firm as evil was in the increase globally.
Among dignitaries at the burial ceremony were Senate President David Mark, Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Governors of Kaduna, Bauchi and Plateau States, Messrs Muktar Yero, Isa Yuguda and Jonah Jang.
Also in Gora were many senators, among them Solomon Ewuga and Nenadi Usman, former information minister Jerry Gana, as well as PDP national Chairman, Adamu Muazu, among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Balat died in Abuja, on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2014, after a brief illness. (NAN)