Exactly one year today, death, that ruthless, greedy, grim reaper paid a surreal visit to the Nda-Isaiah family, and took away the Founding Chairman of LEADERSHIP Media Group, Samuel Ndanusa Isaiah, more fondly known as Sam Nda-Isaiah.
Frankly, the finality of his exit to eternity is yet to sink in just as we try to adjust to the reality that he is gone to be with his Maker whom he served to the best of his ability during his earthly sojourn.
The flurry of tributes that greeted Sam’s passing was a testament to the fact that he was a good human being, one who touched lives in so many ways. That has been the comforting pillar on which we have had to lean as we grapple with the mystery of life, living and death.
The legacy of service bequeathed to those privileged to have come in close contact with this icon who had an immense capacity to achieve, has continued to provide the solace and drive to remain on the path of attainment. In his lifetime, he emphasised continuity, a reason why he built a media empire that he wished and hoped will outlive him.
One year after, that legacy is alive, well and growing to greater strength.
One year after, we remember and emotionally miss the man of Big Ideas, the empire builder, a consummate patriot, serial entrepreneur, loving husband, devoted father, passionate Christian and mentor.
We remember, with tearful nostalgia, his no nonsense approach to perfection which he pursued with a clarity of mind and unyielding tenacity of a goal-setting businessman who also had the humility and humaneness to accept that errors do occur in spite of our best efforts.
He was a philanthropist. His loyalty to his friends and acquaintances drawn from far-flung places, across geographical, religious and socio-cultural divides, was legendary. It is an attribute that has continued to endear him to those who benefitted from his large-heartedness even in death.
For many a career journalist who had the singular honour of working with and for Sam Nda-Isaiah, his meticulous and pain-staking disposition, though a challenge, was an attitude that motivated us to constantly improve on what we did and are still doing.
The pharmacist turned media owner used the platform of this newspaper, set up to serve God and Country, to reach out to the world by positioning Nigeria as a country with potential, human and material, capable of making her a world power in her own right.
This reflected in his writings which he used to stir the consciousness of his compatriots and rouse them to the urgent need to build a nation every Nigerian would be proud of.
He used the platform to engage the international community of disparate ideological spectrum. He drew their attention to the indifference of developed nations to the plight and manipulated underdevelopment of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.
His membership of the Asian think-tank and the Global Institute for Tomorrow in Hong Kong served him so well in his onerous and single-minded commitment to engendering good relations among nations.
Sam Nda-Isaiah read as if he was going to write an examination the next day. His rich library provided a fountain from which most of us drank to recharge our intellectual battery. It also fortified him for the task of contributing to nation-building. And being one not to sit on the fence and pontificate, he threw his hat in the ring, when he imagined that the time was ripe, to prove that he had what was required to make the nation great.
It was a measure of his courage that he had to take on his friend and mentor in a political duel, not out of disrespect, but as a result of frustration and desperate craving to see things done better.
It also advertised him to other Nigerians. The effort did not succeed, but the ideas he generated, the verve and audacity he displayed on stage, helped shape the policies that brought the opposition to power after many failed attempts.
One year after, we still mourn the Kakakin Nupe, Jakadan Potiskum, Ugwumba Ndigbo and the Aare Baroyin of Akure land but not like a people without hope.
We miss the political columnist, pharmacist, entrepreneur and journalist. As he continues to enjoy a peaceful repose, we indulge in prayerful reassurance that his legacy continues to thrive and prosper.