President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, paid tribute to pioneer civil servant, great statesman and patriot, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, who died after a prolonged illness in his hometown, Yola, Adamawa State at the age of 91.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, also mourned the late elder statesman, describing him as an astute administrator and detribalised Nigerian.
The late Joda was the last surviving member of Governor Hassan Usman’s Northern Nigeria cabinet. President Buhari highlighted Joda’s “monumental contributions to Nigeria’s unity and progress,” from birth of the nation until his death, saying, “his lofty ideals will continue to motivate millions across the nation.”
“We will not forget his sacrifices,” he added. He also noted that the late ‘Super Permanent Secretary’, as Joda and some of his colleagues were referred to in the 70s, “distinguished himself as a remarkable scholar, journalist, intellectual, public servant and farmer.”
President Buhari called Joda “a hero for all Nigerians” who, even in death, “will continue to inspire every generation to move forward with love, brotherhood and harmony.”
In a condolence message by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari prayed to Allah to accept Joda’s good deeds and grant fortitude to those he left behind in his family, Adamawa Emirate Council and entire people of the state to bear the loss.
Obasanjo, while reacting to Joda’s death through his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, described the deceased as not just a Nigerian, but also a true and great Nigerian, who was committed to the unity, development and progress of the country.
He said: “Oh! What a heart breaking news, that my friend for well over 60 years have passed to the great beyond. If every Nigerian has the attributes of Joda, Nigeria will have been better than what it is now.
“Ahmed Joda, by his feature, did not need to tell you he is a Fulani man. But in everything I know he did, he lived not just as a Fulani man; he lived, he worked and he laboured as a true Nigerian. There are not many like him, and that was what strengthened our relationship since 1959,” Obasanjo said.
The SGF, on his part, described Joda as an astute administrator, journalist and businessman. He described Joda’s death as a personal loss, saying he derived inspiration and guidance from his wise counsel in the execution of government activities.
In a statement, yesterday, in Abuja, Mustapha recalled the sterling contributions of the deceased in 2015 when he was appointed the Chairman of the Presidential Transition Committee, which led to a successful transition.
He observed that Joda, who was a retired federal permanent secretary, carried out extensive reforms in the public service besides serving on the boards of various government agencies and private companies.
The SGF, who also mourned Hajiya Hadiza Shagari, the widow of the late former president of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who died last Thursday at 80 years, described the matriarch as a humble and dutiful wife of the late former president.
He expressed his sincere condolences to the Government and people of Adamawa and Sokoto states, the Sultan of Sokoto and the families of the deceased, praying that God grants the deceased Al-Jannah Firdaus.