A former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has paid glowing tributes to an elder statesman, Ahmed Joda, who died on Friday at 91.
In a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo described Joda as a great Nigerian committed to the country’s unity, development, and progress.
He said, “Oh! What heart-breaking news, that my friend for well over 60 years has passed to the great beyond. If every Nigerian have the attributes of Joda, Nigeria would have been better than what it is now.
“Ahmed Joda by his feature did not need to tell you is 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. They are not many like him, and that was what strengthens our relationship since 1959.”
He said that they met when he was a Second Lieutenant in the Nigeria Army and Joda was a Deputy Chief Information Officer in the Federal Civil service.
Obasanjo, who rolled out the drums to celebrate Joda’s 90th birthday last year in Abeokuta, disclosed how the late former permanent secretary, and other super permanent secretaries, saved Nigeria’s unity shortly after the country’s upheaval in 1966.
“I know that if not for people like Joda and other senior permanent secretaries as they were called super permanent secretaries at that time, after the second upheaval of 1966, 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, Alison Ayida, who prevailed not to have Nigeria broken 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 on becoming the Chancellor of Bells University. We love you, but God loves you best. Rest permanently in the bosom of Allah,” Obasanjo said.