Nigeria, once again, lost one of its illustrious sons on Monday, August 17, 2020, Malam Wada Maida, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Wada, as he was popularly called among colleagues and acquaintances, was also the Chairman of the Board of the People’s Daily newspaper.
Born on March 5, 1950 in Katsina, the deceased attended the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Indiana School of Mass Communication and Aberdeen College of Commerce for his training in journalism.
He had a successful career in journalism after a stint as Information Officer at Kaduna State Ministry of Information. He was a pioneer staff of NAN where he was employed as one of its first crop of journalists and posted to Kaduna as Zonal Editor. He was later posted to its London Bureau as correspondent covering Western Europe. The late Wada Maida was the Chief Press Secretary to the then Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari.
He was appointed the Editor-in-Chief of NAN in 1985 and nine years later he was appointed as its managing director, a position he held until he retired from the agency in 2003.
Malam Wada was a founding member of the Media Trust Ltd, publishers of the Daily Trust titles. He also founded the People’s Daily newspaper.
As the Editor-in-Chief of NAN, the deceased, worked tirelessly to ensure a viable wire service able to compete with its peers around the world. More significantly, he worked to ensure reports emanating from the agency were credible thus earning the trust of its clients both within and outside Nigeria.
Also, as the managing director, he was credited with the building of its five-storey Abuja headquarters from the scratch while ensuring expansion of its services both within and outside the country thus making it the leading news agency in Africa.
Malam Wada had, also within his 70 years sojourn on this earth, made invaluable contributions to the development of journalism in Nigeria. He was in the forefront of the revival of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, where he served as its president. He also actively participated in the activities of the International Press Institute (IPI) where he served as a member of its executive board.
He also served the nation and his immediate community in various capacities. He was a member of the Vision 2010 Committee.
The late Wada Maida served with diligence in any assignment he was given and as a mark of that he was honoured with the title of OON by President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was also a Fellow of the Nigeria Guild of Editors.
In its tribute to its late Executive Board member, IPI’s Executive Board chair, Markus Spillman, described him as a great asset to journalism and press freedom in Nigeria. “His passing was a huge loss to the global IPI community and journalism in Nigeria.’’
More importantly, Wada will always be remembered by colleagues and relations as a humble, generous and amiable person who gave his time and assistance to all those he came in contact with.
By his death, Nigeria has lost an illustrious son and journalism has lost a dedicated and helpful member who would be difficult to replace.
May Allah grant him Jannatul Firdaus.