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Monday, July 9, 2012

Memoir: Senator Daylop Dantong (1957-2012)

A major tragedy struck the tobacco control community this Sunday July 8th, 2012 with the killing of Senator Daylop Dantong, the Chair of the Senate Committee of Health. Senator Dantong it was learnt was killed during the burial of people killed during the July 7th, 2012 violence in Jos.

I have worked with Senator Dangtong for over eight years since his days as a member of the House of Representative.
He was Deputy to Senator Iyabo and was a key champion of the National Tobacco Control Bill which was was later passed by the Sixth National Assembly.
With the endless wait for Presidential assent of the National Tobacco Control Bill, Senator Dantong had initiated consultation with ERA/FoEN about how to fast track the re-passage of the Bill.
I always recall how Senator Dantong held my hands after the Public Hearing battle, saying “this was a good battle, Bode keep fighting., keep fighting.”
During our last meeting (attended by Zanelle) Senator Dantong spoke with me about the spate of insecurity in his home state and how prominent citizens can no longer visit.
I believe his last visit must have been to sympatise with the families of those killed during the violence and to again seek solution to crisis on the Plateau.
On friday, two of our staff. Seun Akioye and Philip Jakpor were at the national assembly to attend a meeting initiated by him to discuss the re-passage of the bill. Though he was not at the meeting because he had to rush home for this funeral, he spoke with them on phone again pledging his commitment to the bill. As a matter of fact, we just sent a letter to his office to request a meeting with the team coming to discuss the bill next week.

Senator Dantong has been our strong pillar and one of the few we could count on.

This is a great loss to Nigeria and the tobacco control community.  - Akinbode Oluwafemi

Senator Gyang Dalyop Dantong was born March 2, 1957. He attended the University of Jos where he bagged the MBBS degree to become a medical practitioner and also got the MPH from the University of Ghana, Legon.
Prior to his foray into politics, he was the Medical Director, Vom Christian Hospital. The late Senator Dantong was elected member, House of Representatives in the 5th Assembly (2003-2007). He was elected into the Senate in 2007 to represent Plateau North Senatorial District during the 6th Assembly (2007-2011). He was returned to the Senate in 2011.
Senator Dantong was made the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health.
He was also a member of the Senate Committees on Aviation and Solid Minerals as well as the newly created Committee on Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.
Late Senator Dantong was  calm and easy going, just as he was so passionate about how to improve the health situation in Nigeria.