The headquarters of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has been named after its former Managing Director, Alhaji Wada Maida.
Speaking during the occasion when NAN headquarters in Abuja was renamed, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, hailed Maida for landmark contribution to the agency.
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Mohammed, who commended the management and staff of the News Agency of Nigeria for coming up with the idea to immortalise the deceased, said the federal government did not hesitate to accept the proposal.
He said this is because of the role played Wada played in making NAN a respectable agency.
Mohammed said, “The federal government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today.
“A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalized by the organization he served so well in his lifetime.”
He said Wada’s immense contribution to the development of journalism was not restricted to NAN alone.
He added, “He also made his impact on the national and international stage. He was President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, a distinguished member of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria and a one-time Executive Director of the International Press Institute.
“Indeed, Alhaji Wada was a colossus of journalism and a national icon. He deserves the honour being bestowed on him today.”
Garba Shehu pays tribute
Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, described Maida as a mentor, a facilitator, and a caring Godfather to him.
“I think that those who are coming behind them are too much in a hurry. So if you ask me what is the important thing they should learn from him, it is to be patient in everything, in our lives, good things will come when you wait.”
“In terms of professional conduct, be patient, don’t rush the story, get all your facts and be thorough and present it as factually as can possibly be done,’’ he said.
According to Shehu, these were the things the late Maida stood for.
He added that at a personal level, Maida brought him close to NAN at the National Theater in Iganmu, Lagos, where the agency started long before its Abuja headquarters was built.
“I spent quality time in this building with him, at his home and in his business place.
“I have known NAN as a user of their product, I had edited newspapers, I had worked in television station before.
“And I know that the newspaper will never go to bed until the bulletin from had come because had everything.
“In fact, with NAN, you don’t have to have a reporter in every state of the country, because newsmen brought the news and the pictures to you in the newsroom,’’ he said.
The event was attended by the Governor Bello Masari of Katsina State, Director-General and Chief Executive officers of various media organisations and state government representatives, among others
Maida, also known as “Muntari or Mukhtar“ by close family members and some friends, was born into the family of Alhaji Abdullahi Maida and Hajiya Binta Maida of Unguwar Alkali in Katsina on March 5, 1950.
He attended the London School of Journalism, Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Aberdeen College of Technology, and the University of Salford, Manchester for his studies in journalism.
Maida died on August 17, 2020.