Captain Idris Wada playing golf
Kogi State Governor, Captain Idris Wada, a professional pilot-turned politician excuses himself from the stress of work by playing golf, Shola Oyeyipo writes
At the onset of the administration of Governor Idris Wada and his deputy, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, it was obvious that the duo were faced with the daunting task of improving the fortunes of the state regarded as one of the most backward in Nigeria, in terms of Infrastructure development.
Having secured the support of the people, expectation was high. The people wanted the governor who came into office about a year ago to take aggressive measures in putting Kogi State on the right track. This would mean rapid infrastructure development, tackling youth unemployment, providing adequate security in the midst of violent attacks that greeted the administration at the onset and other critical but basic needs of the people, all at once.
This no doubt was a Herculean task for Wada who some politicians in the state had thought was a political neophyte at the beginning, albeit an accomplished pilot and businessman-turned politician.
He became a first class flying instructor at the record age of twenty-three and has been credited for training the best set of pilots ever produced in Nigeria in his generation. At the age of 29, Wada joined the then national carrier, Nigerian Airways as a line pilot where he ascended to the rank of “Captain of Command”.
In 1983, he joined the United Air Service (UAS) where he rose to the position of Chief Pilot and General Manager, within a very short period.
Wada is one of the pioneer indigenous airline operators in Nigeria, and he founded the Executive Aviation Service EAS in 1985 with some prominent Kogi indigenes.
While faced with the overwhelming responsibility of facilitating rapid development with the inadequate funding coming from the federal allocation and the paltry Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, the governor who ranked as the most litigated governor after his emergence as successor to former governor Ibrahim Idris, also had to contend with intense rivalry from the politicians both within and outside his party.
And worse still, there was also the flood crisis, which ravaged state shortly after the government took off last year.
But despite the challenges of workload, the Governor who is well known for his passion for the game of golf still makes out time, once in a while to ease off tension.
This much, his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Mr. Jacob Edi, said describing Wada as an unapologetic sports lover. “The governor opts for golf and lawn tennis whenever he is privileged to excuse himself from the stress of office.
“Right from the word go, the governor is a sport loving personality. He is a professional golfer. He plays tennis as well as a way of relaxation,” Edi said.
According to him, since there may not be enough time to participate in sports, the governor also engages meditation. “One of his major relaxation tools is meditation. When he's not busy, and he's always busy, he meditates.”
However, outside all these, Wada still flies aircraft anytime any day. His deepest passion and profession career is flying. He also prides himself as making progress in the administration of the state.