Condolence messages poured in on Tuesday to the family, friends and professional colleagues of the late Chairman of the Board of Directors of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Alhaji Wada Maida.
The frontline journalist, who was the Chief Press Secretary to President Muhammadu Buhari when he was Head of State between 1983 and 1985, died on Monday in Abuja at the age of 70.
After a funeral, led by the Chief Imam of Sheu Shegari Mosque at Area I in Abuja, Imam Rabiu Sheu Suleiman, his remains were buried on Tuesday around 2:10 p.m at the Muslim section of the Gudu Cemetery in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The burial was attended by Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari; Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika; Education Minister Adamu Adamu; Senator Kabir Barkiya (Katsina Central) and former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Nuhu Ribadu.
Others are: a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Yayale Ahmed; presidential spokesman Garba Shehu; a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Aliyu Modibbo and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Media Trust Limited, Malam Kabiru Yusuf.
The late Maida was also a member of the Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI) and a shareholder in Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust titles.
President Buhari, ministers, governors and other eminent Nigerians paid glowing tributes to the late media guru.
In a statement in Abuja by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said: “Wada Maida was a very dedicated, hardworking and loyal professional for whom I have the deepest respect and admiration.
“The passion with which Maida did his job accounted for his professional success in life, making it possible for him to attain the pinnacle of excellence in his career.”
He commiserated with NAN, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), IPI, People’s Daily, which he established and chaired, and Pan African News Agency (PANA), which he founded and where remained an inspiration for many years.
Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed described the late Wada as a great journalist, a good administrator and a successful publisher who contributed immensely to the growth and development of the media.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this moment of sadness. May God forgive his shortcomings and grant him eternal rest,” he said.
Governors Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe) paid tributes to the late media guru.
Oyetola described Maida’s death a huge loss to his family, Journalism and Nigeria.
In a statement in Osogbo, the state capital by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, the governor said Nigeria had lost one of its finest, credible and veteran journalists who contributed to the growth of Journalism in the country.
In a condolence message to NAN through Kano State Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, Governor Ganduje said: “Maida’s contribution to the development of the media in the country remains laudable, particularly his venture into publishing.
“Also, I believe that his commitment to peace and unity of the country, through his chosen profession, would always be remembered.”
In his tribute, Buni said: “Nigerian media industry has lost a media colossus who contributed immeasurably to the development of journalism.
“The likes of the late Maida gave the industry a huge support through his belief, practice and investments in the Media sector.”
Masari said: “By Alhaji Wada’s death, Katsina State has lost one of its most illustrious sons who had served not only Katsina but Nigeria meritoriously in various capacities, including holding forth as spokesman for General Muhammadu Buhari when he was military Head of State.”
NAN’s Acting Managing Director Dele Ojo said Maida’s death was a great loss to the national news agency, adding: “Wada Maida lived and died for NAN.”
A former NAN Managing Director, Chief Akin Osuntokun, said: “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.”
Others who also paid tributes to the media guru include the Chairman of the Editorial Board of ThisDay , Mr Olusegun Adeniyi and the Nigeria chapter of IPI.
In a statement by its Chairman and Secretary, Kabiru Yusuf and Raheem Adedoyin, IPI said the late Maida was one of the pillars of the international institute.