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.
You can set your clock with Baba’s appearance at the appointed meeting time. If the meeting is to start at 10am, for example, once it is 0959hrs look at the door and Baba will appear the next few seconds!
Baba was a good listener, too. No matter the differing views of his team members, he had a way of summarising them into an actionable decisions.
He wasn’t swayed by the mega voices, but always listened to reasons for expressing differing views.
Kai, losing Baba was really a huge loss for the whole Nigeria. I have lost a great father.
–Dr. Gwandu is Non-Executive Chair of the Commonwealth ITU Group (CIG), and a former Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)