All roads lead to the International Conference Centre, Abuja, this morning, as the crème de la crème of the society, comprising respected elder statesmen, top-flight generals, politicians and veteran journalists gather for “a morning of reflections” to celebrate the golden jubilee birth of Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, chairman and editor-in-chief of LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group.
The event slated for the Executive Hall of the ICC, at 11am, would be chaired by erstwhile chief of army staff, former minister of defence and foremost philanthropist General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), while elder statesmen and former heads of state generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar as well as Ambassador Shehu Malami (Sarkin Sudan of Wurno), Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule (Danmasanin Kano) and Malam Adamu Ciroma would be the special guests of honour. Others are Senator Bola Tinubu (Asiwaju of Lagos) and Chief Sam Amuka-Pemu, among others.
In a birthday message to LEADERSHIP chairman, Gen Buhari said, “May God continue to give you strength in your struggle for press freedom, good governance, rule of law and a united Nigeria.”
In his goodwill message, Gen Abubakar saluted Nda-Isaiah’s courage, saying: “You have proved to be an uncommon patriot who is not only passionate about a well-defined future for Nigeria but also about the independence of the media.”
Also congratulating Nda-Isaiah on his 50th birthday, the Etsu Nupe Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar said, “As you celebrate this day, may Allah (SWT) protect and be with you and your family now and beyond.”
Also, Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) in a congratulatory letter personally signed by him, said of Nda-Isaiah: ‘‘My dear brother, you have done well at 50, but you cannot lie at ease. There is a lot of leadership that you can yet show through LEADERSHIP and other initiatives.’’
Sam, as he is fondly called by his admirers, was born on May 1, 1962, in Minna, Niger State. He is the founder of LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group, a brand that is adjudged to be the “most influential in the nation’s capital” and unarguably the fastest-growing in the country.
A former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and now a senior councillor of the Zazzau emirate council, Professor Ango Abdullahi, would lead discussions as the guest speaker on the occasion, while Etsu Nupe His Royal Highness Alhaji (Dr.) Yahaya Abubakar (CFR) would be the royal father of the day.
Mr. Nda-Isaiah, a pharmacist cum newspaper publisher, is a bridge builder and a role model to his generation and others, hence his insistence that only stories “that unite the people” must appear in the LEADERSHIP stables all the time and not otherwise. He is a top chieftain of the Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Kakaki (mouthpiece) of Nupe land and Jakada (ambassador) of Potiskum Emirate. These enviable positions, among others, are a clear attestation to his sterling qualities which would be reflected upon as the man celebrates what he himself called “half a century of God’s grace”.