By Haruna Mohammed |
I have not met the late Sam Nda- Isaiah personally. But I was spiritually and emotionally entangled into his school of thought through the rigours of his pen since my secondary school days. I started reading his weekly columns when I was in JSS3, having joined the press club as an inquisitive born-Journalist who was thirsty, hungry and desperate to illuminate my world with my pen.
Sam Nda -Isaiah was blunt, dogged, stubborn but not for personal gains—but for the hoi-polloi upon whom he has fought for, for decades through his column and as a publisher.
I had little idea whatsoever at the time I was reading his column that destiny would one day tilt my script to work for LEADERSHIP Newspapers—a brainchild—now man—of the late publisher.
Arguably, the history of Nigerian democracy will never be complete without the mention of Sam Nda -Isaiah, whose imprint was more visible especially during the Obasanjo era as president, when the “Third Term Agenda” became a major political gobbledygook, courtesy of a notorious Senator Ibrahim Mantu who was the deputy Senate President at the time.
Mr Nda- Isaiah had all the chances to be bought—and to probably use his platform for personal gains—but he decided to defy the urge; stood his ground– that one of the hallmarks of any decent democracy is peaceful transition of power. He worked against the third term agenda of the Obasanjo administration; and against all odds, parleyed with the Aminu Kano Talakawas and their sympathisers to fight “third term.”
Many political players within the corridors of power believes that Obasanjo still hold grudges against Mr Nda -Isaiah for his refusal to back his agenda at the time—but I leave that to history.
As a reporter with LEADERSHIP Newspapers in Bauchi State, I have overtly felt the presence of the late publisher through my editors and other bosses in Abuja. Of memorable to me was when the Group managing director of the company, Mr Mu’azu Elazeh paid a working visit to Bauchi State. Mu’azu is one of the youngest and energetic youth to attain the position of a director in LEADERSHIP.
At the comfort of his hotel room after he retired his official engagement in the state, he was unequivocal in thanking the late publisher for giving him the platform to shine.
“Haruna, chairman has no “no” in his dictionary”, Mu’azu stated; “he will push and push you until you accomplish or achieve something good”,Mu’azu emphatically told me.
Mu’azu told me how Sam Nda -Isaiah mentored people from the scratch and brought them into public limelight—such that they will realise their potentials in life. He recollected several missions that were attained through the mentorship of our late boss, that were hitherto seen as impossible. “Look, the man has no ‘NO’ in his dictionary, Mu’azu reiterated.
I could recall, after he had exchanged banters with the late publisher, Senator Bala Mohammed, the current governor of Bauchi State in a telephone conversation in my presence was requesting Mr Sam to come and help him with useful ideas on how to move the state forward.
My great publisher, you are a great asset to this country, don’t allow us to falter too much, come and give us direction”, the governor told the publisher on the phone.
Although I could not hear the responses of the late publisher, i could see the joy in governor Mohammed’s face as he nodded his head repeatedly. It was glaring that the governor was excited about the response he got. Whatever the mogul would have told the governor in that conversation—God had a different plan.
Raliat Ahmed Yusuf, another asset within the LEADERSHIP family told me how the late publisher impacted her life and that of her family in the last 13 years. “Pained beyond words. Sam impacted my life and that of my family in the last thirteen years”, she said.
“Everything was possible with Sam Nda -Isaiah; he will keep pushing you with or without money until you achieve something great; such that you will be proud of yourself in the end”, Mary Obadofin, a staff of LEADERSHIP stated.
Initiate a conversation with anyone who knows the late publisher—there are things that are exceptionally unique about Sam—he was a strong ideologue who had the capacity and the tenacity to initiate, nurture and bring to fruition practical ideas that solved problems. A very passionate entrepreneur like no other—with a strong commitment to mentoring youths. No wonder; energetic youth are manning big offices within the company.
I recall his last interview with NTA Weekend File, where two major takeaways from that interview still resonates with me: his emphasised that fake news remains one of the major existential threats for legacy media in Nigeria and his admonition that it was “in the enlightened self-interest of media owners to mentor decent and innovative journalists to take over the media space.”
Indeed, the media space in Nigeria and Africa as a whole has lost a great mind, an icon that had built bridges—whose ideas, entrepreneurial spirit will continue to impact Nigeria for donkey years to come. On behalf of myself, my family and all LEADERSHIP reporters across the country, we pray that the Almighty Allah will give his immediate family, LEADERSHIP family and indeed Nigeria the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. May the Almighty Allah give his heirs and successors the ability, knowledge, wisdom, compassion and patience to sustain his legacies!
Rest on my publisher, rest on my idol!
–Haruna Mohammed is the Bauchi State Correspondent of LEADERSHIP Newspapers._