In his life, the late Malam Wada Maida was synonymous with brilliance, humility, patience, kindness and courage. His thoughts, ideals, views on journalism and in life motivated many of us who came close to him and will continue to inspire us.
Here are my remarks as the tributes flow in praise of a good man that he was.
In my early days as an Editor at the Triumph Publishing Company in Kano, the late Chairman of the Peoples Daily and the News Agency of Nigeria, Malam Wada was in the forefront, along with a handful of other senior journalists in the country to revive the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE that had been moribund for 20 years.
He found me a worthy foot soldier in the mobilization of the younger generation of editors to support the aspiration of a ticket on which he and the then editor of the Daily Times, Onyeama Ugochukwu ran as Deputy President and President. They were supported by the more conservative and older membership. Running against them was a band of radicals led by the enterprising, younger, louder even if brash and calculating owner/publisher of ThisDay Newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena.
Having myself been listed as candidate for an ex-officio post in the “National List,” I won along Onyeama, Wada and all the names on that list.
Mr. Obaigbena embraced the new team and offered his full support which he gave. Today, Mr Obaigbena presides over one of the largest media empires and as President of the Nigerian Press Organization, NPO, he is the official head of the country’s media establishment.
From then until his death, Malam Wada did to me what the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello charged leaders “on top of the ladder” to do: extend your hand to those at the bottom and pull them up.
From that innocuous position in the Guild executive, I rose to become Vice President (North), Deputy President and eventually, President with a gentle push by the late Malam Wada.