By Dada Ahmed.
The first Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Alhaji Wada Maida, who died more than one year ago, has been described as a colossus in Journalism practise whose immense contributions to the development journalism was not restricted to NAN but the national and international stage.
Late Wada Maida.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, stated this when he inaugurated during the NAN Headquarters building as Wada Maida House in Abuja on Thursday.
Going memory lane, the minister recalled that Maida was President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, a distinguished member of the Newspaper Proprietors’
Association of Nigeria and a one-time Executive Director,
International Press Institute.
Mohammed said:”A man who was
everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to
Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who
built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be
immortalized by the organization he served so well in his lifetime.
“Indeed, Alhaji Wada was a colossus of journalism and a national icon. He deserves the honour being bestowed on him today.
” This is not a surprise,
considering that the News Agency of Nigeria, where he served out most
of his years as a journalist is not just the apex news organization
in Nigeria but one committed to countering negative information
about our country.
“Alhaji Wada’s brand of journalism was developmental, he believed
that journalism serves a higher purpose, which includes ensuring the
development, peace and unity of a nation.”
He congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Alhaji Wada Maida for the
great and much-deserved honour done to him by renaming NAN building after him.
The Managing Director of NAN, Mr Buki Ponle, in his remark, described Maida as one of the best journalists Nigeria had ever produced.
According to Ponle, the story of NAN is incomplete without Wada Maida whose contributions to the growth, survival and development of the Agency,he notes remain immeasurable, adding, “that is why today, his name is being mentioned in dignified style.”
The NAN boss also said that the naming of an edifice after Maida, an illustrious son who lived, stuck to and died for the development of news agency journalism in Nigeria, as well as promoted responsible journalism dripping in positive reportage.
“Indeed, it is rare to find a man or a woman who stood tenaciously by a cause spanning more than four decades, as our dear Wada Maida, an iconic and visionary journalist of character.
“Wada joined the agency in 1978 when NAN began operation, making him one of the pioneers.
“Traversing from Kaduna as Zonal Editor to London as Western Europe Correspondent, from Editor-In-Chief to the headship of the Agency as its Managing Director, Wada kept trudging through.
” Even when he succumbed to death on August 17, 2020, Wada was still with NAN as Chairman of its Board of Directors.
” Wada’s name is being etched in gold because he actually earns it. Man’s existentialism is noteworthy, not only by the acquisition of material wealth or by his political conquest, but by tbe depth of reach-out to his fellow human beings.
” Wada positively changed the course of destinies of many of his colleagues in and outside the agency, and to the glory of the Almighty, I am a living example.
“Here comes a big lesson for all of us! Whatever goes round comes around. You must reap what you sow!
“The Agency reached its apogee during his tenure as the Managing Director, flourishing locally and globally, with about 10 stations outside Nigeria.
“Thanks also to other founding fathers who we can never forget; the likes of the late Onuora Nzekwu, our first General Manager, and Prof. Victor Adefela, our first Editor-In-Chief.
“Their sense of direction, discipline and patriotism benefited elegantly the Agency as well as its members of staff. We shall continue to acknowledge their roles as we are working out means of immortalising them too.”
According to him, 43 years after, NAN is waxing stronger, transformed the media landscape with the times from text message which relied heavily on despatch riders, courier service, as well as obsolete posts and telegraph service in the late 70s,and now to multimedia, dynamic departments among other accomplishments.
Our Correspondent reports that an array of personality, cutting 3 the strata of the society, within and outside of Abuja,attended the event.
Meanwhile, the eldest daughter of the deceased, Farida, has commended the President, Muhammadu Buhari, for naming NAN headquarters after her father.
Farida, who spoke on the sideline of the event said, “It is a great honour that the Federal Government decided to do this for our father after he passed on.
“I can say that growing up, NAN was baba and baba was NAN, he lived most of his working life in NAN and I think he helped the agency to grow to where it is today.
“So we are very proud and very appreciative that the Federal Government will do him this honor after his death,’’ she said.
Farida described her father as an exceptional person,who was very approachable.
“He was open, kind to every person around him and unbiased, he was not tribalistic, he carried every person along.
“He was very friendly and humble, despite who he knew and where he was coming from and where he had been.
“He was always grounded to his root, because he was such a family man and always taking care of us, and even his extended family members,’’ she said.
Speaking on life without her father, Farida said though it had not been easy, God had been working things out for the family.
“ You know when the head of the house passes on, , it is never easy, but we just thank God that he left us as adults.
“He didn’t leave anybody that need total attention and care, he left us as grownups, we are all working and doing our own things, we thank God for everything,’’ she said.
Farida, however, said what she missed most about her father was his jokes and stories, adding that he told a lot of funny stories and jokes.
“He just makes you laugh, even before he starts the story, you are already laughing,’’ she added.
Farida said the number of people from Kastina, Maida`s home state, who attended the event speaks volumes and showed that he had good relationship with his people back home.
Also speaking, Mrs Ngozi Amah, a member of staff of NAN who worked with Maida as secretary when he was the agency`s Managing Director, described him as a man with distinguished character.
Recalling her working days with Maida, Amah said the late Maida worked for NAN and impacted the life of many and therefore deserved to be honoured.
Maida, also known as “Muntari or Mukhtar“ by close family members and some friends, was born into the family of Alhaji Abdullahi Maida and Hajiya Binta Maida of Unguwar Alkali in Katsina on March 5, 1950.
He attended the London School of Journalism, Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Aberdeen College of Technology and University of Salford, Manchester for his studies in journalism.
Among other positions, Maida held in NAN, were Political Editor, Western Europe Correspondent, Editor-in-Chief, Managing Director and Chairman, Board of Directors.
The Reporters/agency report.