A former Nigerian super permanent secretary, pioneer civil servant, patriot and elder statesman from Adamawa State, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, passed on yesterday at his hometown, Yola, in Adamawa State. He was 91 years old.
Joda died at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yola, following a brief illness.
He was the last surviving member of Governor Hassan Usman’s Northern Nigeria cabinet.
A family member, Mohammed Baba, confirmed the death to newsmen.
At the time of filing this report, his remains had already been taken to the Yola Cemetery for burial according to Islamic rites.
“As I’m talking to you, the elder statesman has already been taken to the family cemetery for burial,” the source said.
Ahmed Joda was born at Girei local government area of the state.
He attended Yola elementary and middle schools before proceeding to Barewa College, Kaduna.
In the 1950s, he attended Pitman College, London, and gained practical experience in journalism while in Britain.
After completing his secondary education in 1948, Ahmed Joda was admitted to Moor Plantation, Ibadan.
He worked briefly at an agricultural centre in Yola before entering the field of journalism at Gaskiya Corporation, Zaria.
He later worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), serving as the editor of NBC Kaduna. He then joined the Northern Nigeria civil service as a chief information officer and later permanent secretary in the regional ministry of information.
In 1967, he became a federal permanent secretary in the ministry of information and subsequently moved to Lagos.
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that the late Joda was the chairman of the 18-member transition committee nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari to receive the handover notes from the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2015.
Ahmed Joda carried out extensive reforms in the public service besides serving on the boards of various government agencies and private companies. He was an astute administrator, journalist and businessman.
Ahmed Joda A Hero For All Nigerians — PMB
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday paid tributes to the late Ahmed Joda.
According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari highlighted Joda’s “monumental contributions to Nigeria’s unity and progress” from the birth of the nation until his death, saying his lofty ideals would continue to motivate millions across the nation
“We will not forget his sacrifices,” the president said.
Buhari 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, would continue to inspire every generation to move forward with love, brotherhood and harmony.
He prayed to Allah to accept his 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.
Similarly, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, yesterday expressed deep sorrow over the death of Ahmed Joda.
The SGF described his death as a personal loss as he derived inspiration and guidance from the deceased’s wise counsel in the execution of government activities.
In a statement by his media office, the SGF recalled Joda’s sterling contributions in 2015 when he was appointed the chairman of the Presidential Transition Committee which led to a successful transition.
Mustapha, while mourning the elder statesman, took consolation in the fact that the deceased made unparalleled contributions in various aspects of human endeavour to impact on the growth and development of the country.
The SGF also mourned the passing away of Hajiya Hadiza Shagari, the widow of the late former president of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
He described Hajiya Hadiza Shagari as a humble and dutiful wife of the late former president, particularly in overseeing all family matters which enabled the former president to concentrate on service to the nation.
He expressed his condolences to the government and people of Adamawa State, Sokoto State, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, and to the late Joda’s family. He prayed to God to grant the deceased Al-Jannah Firdaus.
Both Ahmed Joda and Hajiya Hadiza Shagari have since been buried according to Islamic rites.
An Iroko Has Fallen — Atiku
A former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, the Wazirin Adamawa, in his tribute, said Adamawa and Nigeria had lost a colossal personality.
He said; “Indeed, an Iroko tree has fallen in Nigeria, particularly Northern Nigeria. The news of the death of Alhaji Ahmed Joda, CFR, comes with some kind of a jolt even though he lived to a prime age.
“He belonged to the first generation of Adamawa indigenes who put our state and the North on the map of modern Nigeria.
“His stature as an accomplished administrator was towering and colourful. He was a shining star in the galaxy of Nigeria’s public servants.
“Ahmed Joda, with a few of his peers, wrote the rule book of Nigeria’s civil service and his footprints will remain indelible.
“As we mourn this great Nigerian with immense contributions to the growth of our country, we pray that the Almighty Allah accepts his soul and provides his family with fortitude to bear the loss of a forthright and iconic patriarch.”
Ahmed Joda: Nigeria Has Lost A Patriot – ACF
In its tribute, the apex northern sociocultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), said the forum had been thrown into deep mourning over the death of Alhaji Ahmed Joda, describing him as a patriot.
The ACF, in a statement issued by the national publicity secretary, Emmannuel Yawe said the late Joda was until his death the pillar on which the Northern Region and indeed Nigeria relied in times of turbulence.
“After his studies both in Nigeria and abroad, he started a public service career which took him across many fields, including journalism, information, administration, etc.
“In 1967, he was appointed a federal permanent secretary from the Northern Regional service. He was one of the permanent secretaries who gave patriotic advice leading to the survival of Nigeria during the national crisis that led to the civil war. Because of the influence they had on General Yakubu Gowon, the head of state at the time, he and others were nicknamed “super permanent secretaries”.
“As an experienced technocrat and elder statesman, he was often called upon to bail and in fact did bail Nigeria out of many tight corners. He did so when General Obasanjo was to hand over power to Alhaji Shehu Shagari who won the Presidential elections in 1979. He was appointed to head the transition committee of the time.
“In 2015, when President Goodluck Jonathan lost elections to Muhammadu Buhari he was again called upon to head another transition committee that led to the peaceful transition from Jonathan to Buhari”.
ACF said the late Ahmed Joda was a calm and honest, soft spoken but firm public servant. In his death, Nigeria has lost a great civil servant and patriot”.
ACF condoled with his immediate family, Adamawa State and the federal government over the great loss and prayed the Almighty God to give him peaceful rest, forgive his mistakes and console the loved ones he left behind.
Joda Worked For A United Nigeria – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday mourned the death of Ahmed Joda.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the former president described the late Joda as a great Nigerian who dedicated his life towards the unity, development and progress of the country.
Obasanjo declared that the late former permanent secretary, Joda, alongside other “Super Permanent Secretaries working at the Federal Civil Service then, preserved the unity of Nigeria “shortly after the country’s upheaval in 1966.”
Obasanjo, who said he was devastated by the news of the death of his friend of over 60 years, maintained that Nigeria would have been better than what it is now should every citizen possess the attributes of the late Joda, who until his death on Friday the chancellor of the Bells University, Otta, Ogun State.
“Oh! What heartbreaking news, that my friend for well over 60 years has passed to the great beyond. If every Nigerian had attributes of Joda, Nigeria would have been better than what it is now.
“Ahmed Joda, by his nature, did not need to tell you he was 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 was quoted as saying.
Obasanjo recalled that he and the deceased met when he was a Second Lieutenant in the services of the Nigeria Army (NA), while Joda was a deputy chief information officer in the Federal Civil service.
Obasanjo further recalled that Joda’s effort as well as those of other senior permanent secretaries saved Nigeria from disintegration during the events of 1966.
“I know that, if not for people like Joda and other senior permanent secretaries (they were called Super Permanent Secretaries at that time), after the second upheaval of 1966, (because) after the first upheaval, we would have had Nigeria broken into pieces, because Araba was bent on having Nigeria divided.
“But it was Ahmed Joda and other Super Permanent Secretaries (senior civil servants) like Philip Asiodu, Liman Ciroma, and Alison Ayida who prevailed not to have Nigeria break up.
“Well, Dear Ahmed, you have served your family, your community. You have served your country and indeed humanity. You have done your best, including working for the transition between the Buhari administration and Jonathan administration.
“You have done your best working with me on the progress and programme of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library. You have done your best to become the Chancellor of Bells University. We love you, but God loves you best. Rest permanently in the bosom of Allah,” Obasanjo said.
Buni mourns Ahmed Joda
On his part, the chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee and Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni has mourned the passing away of Alhaji Ahmed Joda.
In a statement by his director general, Press and Media Affairs, Mamman Mohammed, Buni described the late Joda as an elder statesman and a well groomed technocrat who contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria.
“The late Joda dedicated his productive years to the service of his fatherland until his retirement as permanent secretary.
“He will be remembered as a Nigerian who believed in the unity of the country, an uncompromising technocrat and an apostle of due process and good governance,”
Buni said, adding that Nigeria will miss his wealth of experience.
The governor prayed God to forgive Joda’s shortcomings and grant him eternal rest.
“On behalf of the All Progressives Congress and the good people of Yobe State, l commiserate with the Joda family, the government and people of Adamawa State over the demise of this icon, and pray God to give you the fortitude to bear this monumental loss,” Buni said.
Gov. Fintiri mourns Joda
Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State has described the passage of the late Ahmed Joda, as a great shock and loss.
Fintiri expressed condolence in a statement by his press secretary, Mr Humwhashi Wonosikou, in Yola.
He said Joda was an experienced career public servant, an epitome of discipline and integrity.
“I received the news of the death of our father and grandfather with shock and sadness.
“This came at a time his wealth of experience and wisdom, were most needed.
“I am, however, consoled that he lived an exemplary life and left a legacy of selfless service to the community,” Fintiri said.
He noted that the death of Joda was a great loss not only for Adamawa but Nigeria as a whole.
The governor prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased and for Almighty Allah to grant the family, friends and associates the fortitude to bear the loss.
“Joda was a father and statesman, who displayed genuine love to all and sundry,” Fintiri said.
Similarly, Mr Simon Yakubu, the District Head of Dugwaba in Hong Local Government Area, described Joda as a nationalist, who sacrificed his life for the unity of Nigeria.
“Nigeria has lost a great hero and a nationalist, who sacrificed all his life for the unity of the nation,” Yakubu said.
He prayed for the Almighty Allah to grant him Jannatul Firdaus. (NAN)
He contributed in shapping the destiny of Nigeria – Teniola
Also, renowned journalist and a former director in the presidency, Mr. Eric Teniola, described the late Joda as a second to the last of all the super permanent secretaries who shaped the destiny of Nigeria.
He said Joda will be remembered as a detribalized Nigerian who devoted all his life working to ensure that Nigeria’s civil service is at its best.
Teniola said, “He (the late Joda) was a detribalized Nigerian – a very simple man of very few words who loved to write a lot. He worked as Information officer in Northern Nigeria before crossing to the federal civil service.
“He was second to the last of all the super permanent secretaries that shaped the destiny of this country. The only one remaining now is Chief Philip Asiodu. Ahmed Joda was a journalist; he worked in Radio Nigeria before moving to the federal civil service, but apart from that he was a shrewd administrator who was instrumental in the election of Dr. Okpabio Asika as the Administrator of the old Eastern Nigeria. He, along with other compatriots, was the ones who decided on their own that there must be a Nigeria. That was before the civil war.
“He was a shrewd man who grew up in Yola but his qualities were so outstanding that he was a detribalized Nigerian, and among his best friends were former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd).
“He will be remembered for a lot of positive things in his life. He was a good writer. Some of his memos are still in the archives of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) till date. They are brilliant memos. Joda served as permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Information and many other ministries.
“But what can be said about him is that he loved this country and he saved this country. He worked tirelessly to the end to make sure the unity of this country is sustained.”
Teniola further said the late Joda was very loyal to his friends and was in constant touch with them.
He noted: “He was in constant touch with former President Obasanjo and President Buhari, even until about a few months ago. This explains why Buhari had to appoint him as a member of that transition committee in 2015. When we talk about the Northern Establishment he was a star among members of the group. He was like the father of them all.
“Nigerians will surely remember him for his honesty. He was not a corrupt man. He retired from the civil service voluntarily. He believed the civil service was a good calling. He devoted all his life towards making sure that Nigeria’s civil service was at its best.”
Lessons Joda taught me – Dr Bashir Gwandu
From April 9th this year I lost four dear ones. First, it was Dr. Mahmud Tukur my distant relative and also elder brother-in-law, who passed away at 82.
Then, my father-In-law, the highly revered Damburam Jada himself, died at 97. After that, a dear friend, Alh. Abubakar Michika, the former MD of NNIL, passed away. And now, Alhaji Ahmed Joda (Baba Joda) – all four from Adamawa!
All the four deaths have been really shocking, to say the least.
They were all first-class patriots who contributed in various ways to the development of Nigeria.
I have worked with Baba Joda directly at the NCC when he was Chairman of our Board. I also worked with him in various groups working to bring harmony to the country, and also in variuos committees to support President Buhari’s candidature towards 2015 Elections.
In fact, before the meetings of the Transition Committee moved to Transcorp Hilton, Hotel, my dining room was the meeting venue, chaired by Baba Joda.
I have participated in numerous committees and conferences, nationally, regionally, and internationally. I can say without any fear of contradiction that he was simply one of the best Chairmen and most efficient manager of meetings that I have worked with.
In meetings, he can separate wheat from chaff like no other, and that is one of the key reasons why NCC became what it is today. He was truly gifted and simply among the best. I have learned so much from him.
I was with him Wednesday until Thursday Night and I came back to Abuja today to amongst other things do some laboratory analysis as part of his treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola.
After leaving the laboratory Just before Jumuat yesterday, I stopped for the Jumuat prayer, only to receive the dreadful news almost immediately after the prayer.
It is really sad for me and indeed the whole of our family. Baba was a simple man; he was among the best teachers you could find.
Engage him on any topic and you will always gain something from his experience. However, he was not only a teacher, he was also always happy to learn.
He encouraged us to break complex technical problems into basic parts and in ways that non-technical people can understand and thus make informed decisions.
Kai, losing Baba was really a huge loss for the whole Nigeria. I have lost a great father.
Non-Executive Chair of the Commonwealth ITU Group (CIG), and a former Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Analysis: ‘The Essential Joda’
By Abdulhamid Babatunde
The life of Malam Ahmed Joda will be a reference point for encapsulating the best attributes of an ideal Nigerian leader. He was an exemplary citizen of northern extraction who imbibed the precious values associated with the region and transformed them into a personal formula for successful transition to national statesmanship.
In the process he maintained a reputation for high standards in public service, unique ability to acquire respect and recognition as a dependable ally in the quest for the progress and development of Nigeria across various fields of endeavour, among Nigerians of diverse backgrounds and at all times, especially when Nigeria was confronted by inevitable challenges of nationhood.
Starting from his years of service to the government of Northern Nigeria among the pioneers who laid formidable foundations for effective and efficient civil service, Ahmed Joda rose above the common parochial sentiments that pervaded post-independence governance to exhibit the selflessness and broadmindedness necessary for delivering development throughout the region and carrying the people along. Having worked initially at an agricultural centre in Yola, then moving to the legendary Gaskiya Corporation in Zaria where publishing and literature bred the region’s intellectual and journalistic torch bearers before becoming a civil servant as Chief Information Officer and later Permanent Secretary in the regional Information Ministry, Ahmed Joda was destined to acquire the appropriate blend of knowledge, experience and insight for regional progress and to disseminate worthy values.
These professional and career antecedents proved fortuitous when Ahmed Joda joined the Federal Civil Service coinciding with the period of political crises that eventually led to the civil war in 1967. His outstanding service qualities and broadminded perspective came to the fore as he served in the top position of Permanent Secretary across the Federal Ministries of Information, Education and Industries over a period of eleven years. This period of his life also provided the opportunity for him to exhibit administrative excellence in the management of resources and remarkable grasp of the needed policy formulating inputs for national progress and development as well as the political intelligence to chart a delicate but effective strategy to save the country from impending disintegration during the crises years. He was in the famous team of top public servants referred to as “SUPER-PERMANENT SECRETARIES” along with Allison Ayida, Phillips Asiodu, Ahmed Joda, Ime Ebong, Ibrahim Damchida, Abdulazeez Atta, a truly pan-Nigerian constellation of technocrats.
Ahmed Joda’s progressive outlook and management expertise at regional and national levels was an added advantage when after his retirement in 1978, he ventured into business, becoming a much-sought-after chairman and member of the boards of several leading government and private companies such as Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigerian Communications Commission, Pastoral Resolve, SCOA Nigeria, Chagoury Group, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and the Nigerian LNG. On the return to civil rule he was no less an asset, serving as a member of the 1988 Constituent Assembly that developed the constitution for the Third Nigerian Republic and also headed the Presidential Transition Team for the Buhari Administration.
While acquiring such an exemplary life story and earning accolades wherever he worked, Ahmed Joda was a paragon of humility in greatness as he made his presence felt more by his frequent candid and insightful contributions to national discourse through articles in newspapers which signified his abiding attachment to his journalistic acumen and dispassionate interventions that consistently pointed the way towards genuine unity in diversity, transparency in governance and economic development. His death at a particularly despondent period is tragic as he is among the last in a generation of inspiring leaders who exhibited patriotism and deep interest in the welfare of our people till their untimely death. But it is inevitable that at the very end we must submit to the divine authority- FROM GOD WE CAME AND TO HIM SHALL WE RETURN. Our only hope is that his exemplary life and wise counsel will guide our leaders of today and tomorrow as an everlasting tribute.
“May God grant his family – and the country – the strength to bear the loss.”