· Former NAN chairman buried
Omololu Ogunmade, Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja and Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
President Muhammadu Buhari; Osun State Governor, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola; and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) have expressed shock at the death of former Chairman of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Malam Wada Maida.
The remains of Maida, who died on Monday, were yesterday interred at the Gudu Cemetery in Abuja.
Buhari said he received with deep sorrow, the news of the passing of Maida, his former chief press secretary when he was a military leader.
He said the loyalty and stewardship of Maida for many years had been with great distinction.
Buhari, in a condolence message by a presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said: “I am profoundly shocked by the sudden death of Malam Wada Maida, my former press secretary, a man who possessed one of the highest qualities of professional integrity throughout the course of his journalistic career.
“Wada Maida was a very dedicated, hardworking and loyal professional for whom I have the deepest respect and admiration.
“The passion with which Maida did his job accounted for his professional success in life, making it possible for him to attain the pinnacle of excellence in his career.”
The statement said the president joined Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State, members of his cabinet and the family of the deceased in mourning the sad loss, and called for prayers for the state.
Buhari commiserated with the staff and management of NAN where Maida served as chairman of the board until his demise.
According to the statement, Maida served NAN extensively as European Bureau Chief, based in London, before his appointment as Buhari’s press secretary when he was head of state in 1984, after which he returned to the agency to continue as editor-in-chief and managing director.
“The president also sends condolences to Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigerian Guild of Editors, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, International Press Institute, Peoples Daily Newspapers, which Malam Wada established and chaired, and Pan African News Agency (PANA), where he played a pioneering role in founding and remained an inspiration for many years.
“While sympathising with friends and family of the former managing director of NAN, the president undoubtedly believes Malam Wada left a legacy of modesty, loyalty and commitment to the goals of national unity and development that will continue to resonate with everyone who crossed his path.
Oyetola in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Ismail Omipidan, said Nigeria had lost one of its finest, credible and veteran journalists, noting that the late Maida contributed to the growth of journalism in the country.
He added that his demise was a collective loss to the media industry and Nigeria at large, as he would be remembered for his humility, dedication to work and passionate service to the nation.
In its condolence message, NGE said it was shocked at the death of Maida, who was one of its former presidents.
The statement issued by the President of NGE, Mr. Mustapha Isah, and the Secretary-General, Mr. Mary Atolagbe, described Maida as a thorough-bred professional, who contributed immensely to the development of the Nigerian journalism profession.
“His achievements as president of the guild will never be forgotten. The death of this veteran journalist has robbed African journalism of the services of a man who was fully committed to the development of the profession. He was a shining role model for those behind him in the journalism profession, where he stood out as a defender of free speech, promoter of the finest ethics of journalism and successful media entrepreneur,” NGE stated.
Meanwhile, the remains of Maida were yesterday interred in Abuja. He was buried at about 2.20 p.m. after a Muslim funeral rite, including prayer at the Shehu Shagari Mosque, Area One, Garki, Abuja by the Chief Imam, Rabiu Shehu Suleiman.
Some of the personalities at the funeral included Katsina State Governor, Hon. Aminu Bello Masari; Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; Chairman of Editorial Board, THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi; and the senator representing Katsina Central, Senator Kabir Barkiya.
Others were the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Aliyu Modibbo; former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Malam Nuhu Ribadu; a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Yayale Ahmed; presidential spokesman, Shehu; and Chairman, Board of Directors of Media Trust Limited, Malam Kabiru Yusuf.
Masari described the death of Maida as a personal loss to him and the people of Katsina State.
He said the deceased was a patriotic citizen of the country who dedicated his life to the service of the country.
“When we lose somebody in Islam, we say to Allah we all come from, and to Him we shall return. Apart from being a personal friend, late Wada was a patriotic citizen of the country. He spent his life in the service to humanity. He was my age mate, we had so many associations together and we normally give assistance to the needy,” Masari said.
Adeniyi said the deceased was not only an elder in the media profession, but also a fantastic gentleman.
He said: “Most of us looked up to him for guidance because he was a very good man. I pray that may the hereafter be a better place for him.”