An outpouring of emotions has continued to trail the death of Malam Wada Maida, former Editor-in-Chief, Managing Director and, until his demise, Chairman, Board of Directors of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Worst hit by Maida’s exit are major players in the media industry, who have described his demise as “shocking, devastating and unbelievable”.
NAN reports that Maida died in Abuja on Monday. He was aged 70.
Reacting to the development, Mr Dele Ojo, Acting Managing Director of NAN, described Maida’s sudden exit as “a shocking monumental loss”.
“Malam Wada was a father figure to the NAN family having used all his life to serve the agency as a reporter, editor, Editor-in-Chief, Managing Director and Chairman of the Board.
“I was in a meeting with him last Wednesday where we discussed some progressive steps toward a prosperous NAN. We agreed to meet again this Wednesday only for him to depart.
“The agency will sorely miss him. The media world will miss him. He was a committed Nigerian. His legacies in NAN will always be with us. May his soul rest in peace.”
In his reaction, NAN EIC, Mr Idonije Obakhedo, described Maida’s exit as devastating, saying that the deceased was a colossus that would always be remembered as someone who was everything there was to be in NAN.
“The NAN family will really miss one of its pioneer editors that spent all his life serving the agency,” he said.
Mr Dave Igiewe, Maida’s successor as EIC, also expressed shock at the development.
“It is particularly saddening for me because the EIC I succeeded has died, few weeks after the man who succeeded me, Shehu Abui, also died. May God grant them eternal rest,” Igiewe said.
In his reaction, Malam Lawal Ado, former EIC of NAN, described Maida as a mentor whose life was synonymous with NAN.
“He was simplicity personified. He was always smiling and cracking jokes. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him eternal rest,” he said.
Malam Yusuf Zango, another former EIC, described Maida as “a simple humble man who cared for his staff and never discriminated or harass one in the course of the job or outside it.
“He was a good listener who was always ready to assist. He was a hard worker and a man of the people with friends from all over.
“He also ensured fairness and justice to everyone around him,” Zango, who served as Maida’s Executive Assistant for more than two years, said of his former boss.
Alhaji Idris Abdulrahman, who succeeded Zango as EIC, in his reaction, said that Maida’s exit was “a colossal loss to the journalism profession and the NAN family”.
“He was a mentor who brought about immeasurable development to the standards of practice and ethics to NAN. Malam was indeed a great man,” he said.
On his part, Alhaji Abdulhadi Khaliel, Director, Administration and Human Resources Management, NAN headquarters, said that the media industry had lost an icon.
“His death has come at a critical moment of need. He lived well. May Allah reward him with paradise,” Khaliel said.
Alhaji Isa Hussein, former Director of NAN’s marketing department, said he was devastated by Maida’s sudden exit.
“We met with him in 1968 at Government Secondary School, Katsina. He made me to develop interest in journalism because at that time, he was the Editor of the school newspaper called ‘Katsina Courier’.
“He was a gentleman and a complete media man who lived the whole of his life contributing to the industry. He will be sorely missed,” he said.
In his reaction, Alhaji Alli Hakeem, a former EIC of NAN, said that Nigerian journalism had lost an icon in Wada Maida.
“He was an accomplished journalist and quintessential administrator who touched a lot of lives positively, when he served as EIC and MD of NAN.
“He created many opportunities for everyone to grow, your tribe or faith never a consideration. A juggernaut is lost. May God Almighty rest his soul,” Hakeem said.
Also reacting, Mr Buki Ponle, former Managing Editor in NAN, described the deceased as “a great journalist with flawless precision”.
“He promoted oneness among journalists, while encouraging the young ones to grow academically in NAN. He was an unbiased judge who detested gossip.”
Alhaji Abdullahi Yusuf, NAN Zonal Manager in Jos, said that he was dumbfounded by Maida’s exit.
“I am in deep shock to learn of the death of my mentor, father, brother and boss. He employed me and nurtured me to great heights in NAN and in life.”
Mr Ibrahim Mammaga, former EIC and Acting Managing Director of NAN, described Maida as “a gentleman, a leader, mentor and role model”.
“I remain grateful to him for the support and encouragement he gave me throughout my service in NAN. We will definitely miss him.”
Former NAN Managing Director Bayo Onanuga, in his reaction, described Maida as “a quintessential gentleman who appeared unruffled by anything and who will charm you with his smiles”.
“He was a man of few words. We disagreed about the situation under Gen Sani Abacha (former military head of state), but we continued to maintain some professional contact thereafter.
“He was one of the people who brought me to NAN. As Board Chairman, he was very cooperative to our management and ever ready to offer suggestions.
“I saw him as one of the people who built NAN to the level it is today having been a pioneer staff and leader for much longer than anyone else.
“His death came to me as a shattering piece of news Monday night. I will miss him. NAN will sorely miss him. He is another great loss to the profession,” Onanuga said.
Mr Kunle Adekoya, former Deputy EIC of NAN, said that Maida was “easily the architect of a new NAN”.
“He succeeded in blazing the trail through the introduction of a dynamic template and a most pragmatic vision that brought NAN to reckoning on the world stage like other international news agencies like Reuters. AFP and DPA.
“That era was the most eventful in NAN. We should also look in the direction of the superstructure, the NAN headquarters edifice, sitting majestically like the giant in the sun in Abuja’s central area.
“His accomplishments were simply great. May his soul rest in peace and may God comfort his family,” he said.
Alhaji Abdulaziz Abdulkadir, General Manager, Liberty TV and Radio, in his reaction, described Maida’s death as “the end of an era”.
“Nigeria has lost one of its best and finest journalists and media manager,
“The north and indeed Nigeria has lost a fine gentleman and a thoroughbred professional. Maida belongs to the class of late Samaila Funtua, Mamman Daura, Mohammed Haruna,
“From his days as an information officer in the old Kaduna State to his peak in NAN after which he established the Peoples Daily, Maida proved his mettle. He will be sorely missed.”
Former General Manager, Peoples Daily, Abdulazeez Abdulahi, in his reaction, described Maida’s demise as “a sad loss to journalism”.
“Despite his status nationally, he was very down to earth and unassuming. I will forever remember his fatherly counsel and guidance while working closely with him at Peoples Daily newspaper.
“It is to his credit that the paper is still on the stands despite the challenging business environment,” Abdulahi said.
Malam Ali M. Ali, Chief Operating Officer of Peoples Media Limited, a company whose board the late Maida chaired, described Maida as “a mentor, father and a boss rolled into one”.
“Few can match his grace and gentle disposition. He was always graceful, never losing his cool in the face of provocation. He was soft spoken and gentle, and a teacher in the boardroom as he was in the newsroom.
“Effortlessly scholarly without being gaudy, he was the sort of mentor that will nudge you in the right direction imperceptibly without claiming credit.
“He had an incredible control of his emotions; I have never seen him angry or lost his temper. He was a bridge builder and ready to listen to everyone.”
For Tony Nezianya, former NAN Sports editor, the passing of Wada Mada is one death too many for the NAN family.
“It first started from the unexpected quarters – Sam Ajibola, Shehu Abui (former EIC), David Onilude and Mrs Anyalakin.
“Just as we were praying to God to grant us some respite, the big Malam Wada Maida hit the exit highway. This is indeed a weighty one. It is a little too much for us to bear.
Chief Jide Adebayo, former Acting Managing Director of NAN, described Maida as “the unsung hero of NAN reforms”.
“The news of Maida’s death came to me as a thunderbolt. As the longest serving EIC and MD, he initiated the Vision 2005 in 1997. Unarguably, that was the most pragmatic attempt at making NAN a commercially viable organisation.”
He said that Maida was “an affable man of integrity who never played to the gallery or threw himself around for undue public notice”. (NAN)