Ahmed Joda 1930 —2021 | Dailytrust

Ahmed Joda 1930 —2021

Late Ahmed Joda
Late Ahmed Joda

The death of Alhaji Ahmed Joda, on Friday, August 13, is indeed a huge loss to his family and Nigeria.  This is because of who and what he was in his family, immediate community and the nation as a whole. Ahmed Joda’s passing away at the age of 91, however, provides an opportunity to reminisce on the many contributions of one of Nigeria’s foremost and finest civil servants, administrators and elder statesmen, who in the 1970s earned the nickname “Super Perm-Sec” due to his overwhelming influence in the day-to-day administration of the country.

Born in 1930 to a Fulani family in Yola, Ahmed Joda was educated at the Yola Elementary and Middle School before proceeding to the famous Barewa College between 1945 and 1948. After a brief stint in the employ of Moor Plantation and as Agricultural Officer in Yola, he studied journalism at Pitman College, London, between 1954 and 1956. His foray into journalism started with Gaskiya Corporation before transferring his services to the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation. He then joined the Northern Nigeria Civil Service as Chief Information Officer and began the most remarkable period of his life in the public service.

So influential was he in public service that in 1965, at the age of 35, he was conferred with the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR). Over the years, he would go on to be conferred with the honours of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).

By 1967, when he transferred his services to the Federal Civil Service, he was already operating on a high pedestal and played a significant role during and in the aftermath of the civil war. After the war, he was entrusted with the task of rebuilding the education architecture in the old war-torn eastern region as the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Education.

He threw himself into this task selflessly, as he had with all other national assignments he was handled and by the time of his retirement in 1978, his reputation as a ‘super perm-sec’ had been firmly cemented across three ministries: information, education and industries respectively. He was also credited as one of the principal authors of the rule book on the Nigerian Civil Service. Even in retirement, he served the country in various capacities with distinction.  Notably were his roles in the transition to civil rule in 1979, the 1988 Constituent Assembly, and in 1999 as a member of the committee to advice on poverty alleviation. His most recent public service was in 2015, when he led the Muhammadu Buhari transition committee.

No doubt his death is a monumental loss to his family members, who have benefited from his kindness, generosity, good nature and wise counsel, but also to the several companies on whose boards he sat over the years. For Nigeria, a man of true grit, integrity, humility, selflessness, and a recipient of three national merit awards, has passed on.

The government needs to ensure that the attributes the late Alhaji Ahmed Joda personified are recognized and immortalized by naming a public institution, like the Public Service Institute, after him. This will not only commemorate his services and patriotism to his country but also serve as an indicator for others that hard work, dedication and service to the fatherland, which Ahmed Joda lived for, will always be appreciated.

It is true that Alhaji Ahmed has gone to be with his Creator, but he lives with us through his good works.

May Allah rest his soul and grant his family and the country the fortitude to bear his loss.

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