Prominent Nigerians have continued to pay tribute to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the News Agency of Nigeria, Wada Maida, who died on Monday.
Mr Maida, 70, was buried according to Islamic rites at Gudu Cemetery in Apo District of Abuja on Tuesday.
The funeral prayer was led by Imam Rabiu Suleiman amidst tears by his family members, friends, associates and Muslim Ummah.
In attendance were the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Presidential Media Aide, Garba Shehu, Acting Managing Director of NAN, Dele Ojo, and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Yayale Ahmed.
Others are the senator representing representing Katsina Central, Kabir Barkiya, former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu and Abba Musa Rimi, former FCT Minister, Aliyu Modibbo, former Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Kabir Mashi.
Mr Maida was the Chief Press Secretary to President Muhammadu Buhari when he emerged as a military Head of State in December 1983.
Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State described the death of Mr Maida as a personal loss to him and the great people of Katsina State.
Mr Masari stated this shortly after attending the funeral prayer of the deceased held at the Shagari Jumma’at Mosque in Area I Garki on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the deceased was a patriotic citizen of the country who dedicated the whole of his life in the service of the country.
“Whenever 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.
“Recently, we gave a donation together with him to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Katsina.
“So for me, it is a personal loss and to Katsina State, it is a big one based on his services to the nation, he really represented Katsina well,” Masari said.
On his part, a former senator, Ibrahim Ida, who represented Katsina Emirate Council at the burial, described the death of Maida as a colossal loss to the country.
Mr Ida added that the deceased would be remembered for his uprightness, honesty and integrity.
Also speaking, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the deceased would be remembered by his friends because he was a great and true friend to many people.
Mr Adamu said Mr Maida would be remembered for his accomplishments in the journalism profession and the media house that he established.
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State said the demise of the media guru had created a vacuum in the media sector of the country which will be hard to fill.
Mr Mohammed, who had a stint as a reporter with NAN in the early 1980s, spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Muktar Gidado, describing the death of Mr Maida as a great loss to the people of Katsina state and the country at large.
The governor said Mr Maida was a great and patriotic journalist who had made a lot of sacrifice for the upliftment of the profession.
He therefore commiserated with the family of the deceased, professional colleagues and entire Nigerians, praying God for the repose of the soul of the late former Managing Director.
On his part, the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, said the death of Mr Maida has created a vacuum in the journalism profession.
In a statement issued in Yola through his Press Secretary, Humwashi Wonosikou, the governor stated that Mr Maida’s death was a great loss to the profession.
“Late Wada Maida was a man who, during his lifetime, gave direction to the journalism profession in Nigeria, and northern Nigeria in particular.
“He stood as a pillar in protecting the rights of every Nigerian journalist and the media across the country.
“For us, his death is a great loss. He died at a time Nigeria needed his service and experience, as well as his dedication to nation building,” the governor said.
The governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, described Mr Maida’s death as “devastating and a huge loss to his immediate family, NAN family and journalism in Nigeria.’’
Mr Oyetola, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan and made available to NAN in Osogbo on Tuesday, said Nigeria had lost one of its finest, credible and veteran journalists.
The governor said the late Mr Maida contributed immensely to the growth of journalism in the country.
Mr Oyetola added that his demise was a collective loss to the media industry and Nigeria at large, saying that he would be remembered for his humility, dedication to work and passionate service to the nation.
The governor commiserated with the family of the deceased, his friends and associates, management and staff of NAN, the media industry in Nigeria and the government and people of Katsina State.
Mr Oyetola prayed Almighty Allah to forgive the misdeeds of Mr Maida and grant him a place in Aljanah Firdaus while also paying Allah to comfort his family at this trying moment.
The Commissioner for Information in Anambra State, C-Don Adinuba said “Wada and I have known each other for decades; we even did business together.”
“When I was in broadcasting as the head of foreign news desk, I filed his reports when he was in London as a correspondent.
“So, when he became President Buhari’s Chief Press Secretary, we became closer in Lagos and he was a decent and good Nigerian.
The commissioner, who described the former NAN MD as a “progressive, forward looking and team player,” said the late media icon was the kind of Nigerian that the Anambra government would associate with.
“He was eager to learn. He believed in continuous learning which is what Nigerian journalists can learn from his life.
“We must not be parochial, but have a universal vision of reality to succeed in today’s world and as well develop liberal consciousness, which was what Wada Maida believed in,” he added.
A former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Bayo Onanuga, said that the news of Wada Maida’s death came as “a shattering piece of news” to him.
“His death came to me as a shattering piece of news on Monday night. I will miss him. NAN will miss him sorely. He is another great loss to our profession,” Mr Onanuga said in a tribute.
He said that Mr Maida was a “quintessential gentleman, who was never ruffled by anything.
“He was a man of few words who was always calm and would always charm you with his smiles.
“I first met him in 1986, in Lagos, when I brought a message for him from Uganda.
“We met again in Malta in 1994, at a Commonwealth event, where we disagreed about the situation of things in Nigeria under Gen Abacha (former military head of state), but we continued to maintain some professional contact thereafter.
“He was one of the people who brought me to NAN. As Board Chairman, he was very cooperative to our management and ever ready to offer suggestions.
“I saw him as one of the people who built NAN to the level it is today, having been a pioneer staff and a leader for much longer than everyone else.”
Mr Onanuga prayed to God to forgive Mr Maida’s sins as a mortal, and accept his soul into Paradise.
Another former Managing Director of NAN, Akin Osuntokun, described Mr Maida as a leading light of journalism in the country.
He said Mr Osuntokun said Nigeria and indeed Africa had lost a major contributor to the media industry and nation building.
He said the renowned media manager and Publisher of People’s Daily, displayed uncommon commitment to journalistic excellence and human capital development by providing jobs for young professionals in the media outfits he helped to establish.
He said Mr Maida was a thoroughbred professional who, through good character, hard work and sound morals, built a global reputation for himself as well as set a high standard in developmental journalism.
He said his records as former Chief Press Secretary to General Muhammadu Buhari and as Managing Director of NAN between 1994-2003, remained points of reference till date.
The appointments, he said, must have been responsible for his last appointment as Chairman of the Board of Directors of NAN.
Mr Osuntokun said his uncommon project of mentoring a younger crop of journalists and his positive attitude to developmental journalism could not be easily forgotten, especially by those who benefitted from his spirit of benevolence.
While urging others to emulate the deceased, the former presidential aide said Maida had over the years deployed journalism as a tool for development and constructive criticism.
“The late Maida, according to his records, was a stickler for business ethics and due process.
“He lived up to expectations as MD of NAN during his time and left good legacies for others to follow. He also demonstrated an uncanny insight into Nigeria’s media environment
“While we mourn this man of honour, the challenge before those he left behind now is to keep his spirit of selflessness alive.
“I share this moment of grief with his family, NAN management and his other well-wishers across the globe and pray that his kind soul finds solace with the Creator,” Mr Osuntokun said.