By Salisu Na’inna Dambatta
Everyone who knew him will have only positive things, based on their experiences, after working with him, or for him, to say. Even a casual encounter with Malam Wada Abdullahi Maida, in whatever way or manner, will make one go home saying “what a good man.” That is what he was while alive, and that is how those of us yet to die see him as.
All the encounters I ever had with him, an ordinary reporter as I am, were enrichingly memorable. Constructive, helpful. And the sort anyone will continue to cherish until one joins him in the hereafter.
“Whenever you want to change jobs, or want to work for the News Agency of Nigeria, there is a room for you there,” he told me. I was working for a media outlet at the time, while he was the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria.
The very senior person he was, you will always find him welcoming, considerate and smiling. He was a good listener, you never feel intimidated in his presence. His kindly and self-effacing disposition ensured that.
During the leadership of the ticket of Chief Onyema Ugochukwu and Wada Maida of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the Guild’s mystique and prestige were such that its views on national issues were given full attention by the Government. I learnt this while working as an Information Officer in the “engine room or fulcrum” of the Federal government.
Malam Wada Maida’s self-effacing nature and humility were manifested during the nikah of my daughter in Dambatta. In addition to honoring the invitation and attending the event, he along with another media icon and former Presidential spokesman, Malam Abba Dabo, were receiving and ushering guests into the Dambatta Central Mosque. The gathering was so much that the duo decided to kindly help out. That demonstration of humility and solidarity with their younger brother, is still fresh in my mind’s eyes, unforgettable.
The encouragement Malam Wada Maida extended to me included occasional positive remarks regarding the articles I contribute to newspapers. Additionally, editors at the People’s Daily, where he was a leading promoter, specifically Malam Ahmed Shekarau and Ali M. Ali, never rejected any articles I contributed which in their judgement merited publication. It was a morale booster in my professional career.
The same generous space-giving was extended to me in the Daily Trust newspapers. The linkage here is that Malam Wada Maida died a major stakeholder in that blooming media organisation. Malam Kabiru Yusuf, Malam Mannir DanAli and late Alhaji Ibrahim Auduson, were so supportive. Indeed, Malam Kabiru Yusuf and Mannir DanAli even gave me the opportunity to be a writer of the scrapped Pension Watch Column for nearly two years.
With the demise of Malam Wada Abdullahi Maida, Alhaji Ismaila Isa Funtua, Malam Abba Kyari and Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf among top media personalities in this country, I can say that the rank of the best media hands Northern Nigeria contributed to the world, is depleting. But given its inherent resilience and the sustainance of the culture of nurturing and mentoring which benefitted many younger media operatives, hope is not lost.
However, there is some consolation because we still have top media personalities of great repute around, all of them willing to continue mentoring younger talents in one way or the other. They include Malam Abba Dabo, Malam Mohammed Haruna, Malam Kabiru Yusuf, Alhaji Halilu Ahmed Getso, Chief Dan Agbese, Malam Garba Shehu, Malam Mamman Daura, Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed, Hajiya Zainab Okino, Mr. Emmanuel Yawe, Mr. Labaran Maku, Alhaji Abdulhamid Babatunde, Malam Umar Farouk Mohammed, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Ibrahim Lawal Damisa, Alhaji Ahmed Aminu, Malam Abba Gwadabe and a few more that are continously in one way or the other helping, shaping and shepherding the media in the country.
Rest in eternal peace, Malam Wada Maida.
Salisu Na’inna Dambatta is a senior journalist