Heads of agencies, experts in the media industry, colleagues and well-wishers on Friday gathered at the headquarters of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) in Abuja to celebrate its Head of Public Relations Unit, Sa’adu Salahu, who retired from service on that day.
Born on September 21, 1959, Mr Salahu is a journalist and public relations practitioner with over three decades of working experience.
His service at the agency spanned 19 years.
He began his career at the Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Kwara) in the 80s, where he worked as Government House political correspondent and rose to the post of an editor.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, paid a glowing tribute to the retired spokesperson of the agency.
“Mr Salahu has been the pillar of strength to the agency and like all pillars that hold any structure, the absence of such a pillar from the structure will mean that the structure cannot be whole.
“So, I’m sure for everyone who has observed the work of Mr Salawu, he will leave us with a weakness in the system that will be very difficult to strengthen.
“We have to try and live without him being the foremost voice of this agency. In the last two and half years, he has not only been the Head of the PR unit, but he has also been a personal friend, he has been a strong voice for a lot of innovative ideas for the agency.
“If anything makes sense to Mr Salahu, then it means sense to the whole of Nigerians. He is one person who does not shy away from the truth, he will say it as it is no matter how bitter it is.
“No matter what life throws at you, no matter what you do when you leave here, we have no doubt that you will continue to be a string that binds people together. May God bless you,” the NPHCDA boss said.
The Director of Administration and Human Resource at the agency, Lami Abubakar, described Mr Salahu as a “big brother, mentor and confidant.
“I will really miss his guidance because he has always been a good counsel to me. He helped me through a major interview I had with a top personality immediately after my Master’s programme.
“Thank God, because not all our colleagues get to see this day. I wish you the best in everything and may Allah bless you for putting in your best into this organisation,” she said.
The Managing Editor, Northern Operation of the Nation newspaper, Yusuf Alli, also spoke about his relationship with the retiree.
“As a journalist, I met Alhaji Salahudeen 30 years ago, in 1989. He is a truthful man and no matter who you are, he will tell you the truth. He has so much energy to do many things. He is a multi-task civil servant. He is honest, straightforward in whatever he does.
“In the beginning, the world is uncertain for all of us, but consistency is key. We believed in Allah that we will make it in life.
“Allah says you should continue to serve unto He comes to thee. So that means there is no retirement. So take advantage and continue to serve humanity and God will be there for you,” Mr Alli said.
Godwin Odemije, a broadcaster, said: “Salahuu is resilent and he knows his job thoroughly. He is a jounalist’s delight. When you are looking for information and go to Salahudeen, as long as NPHCDA is concerned, you are sure to get all you want. He is my brother and he is my friend,” he said.
The Director, Advocacy and Communications, NPHCDA, Remi Joseph, also praised Mr Salahu.
“I know Alhaji Salahu as a gentleman. He is a father to many, he is a brother to all. If you are in any situation, you will find the best answer from Alhaji Salahu.
In his remarks, Mr Salahu said he was overwhelmed by the testimonies.
“The compliments from directors, my friends and everybody here pouring out their hearts, I am grateful. I thank God for sparing my life, for keeping me healthy at a such at time.
“I want to thank all my colleagues, the directors, all members of the management, the retired staff of the agency, at the senior level and state. It has been wonderful for me for about 19 years that I joined the agency.
“When I joined this agency, I defined my philosophy to my staff that you will find it difficult to find a boss in me but you will find a family man.
“I’m grateful to all of you who have put this together for me. I thank all my colleagues who have always been there.
“I also acknowledge the support of all the past Chief Executives of the agency. I also acknowledge and tribute to the icon of Primary HealthCare of Nigeria, Professor Olukoye Ransome-Kuti. He gave me the privilege. He took me out from the Federal Ministry of Health and gave me the privilege to join the agency and I have no regrets.
“I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be part of the leadership of this agency,” he said.