From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo have paid tributes to the late Alhaji Ahmed Joda who died after a prolonged illness in his hometown, Yola, Adamawa State.
Joda, the Chancellor of the Bells University, Otta and about 60 year old friend of the former President died on Friday, aged 91.
In a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that Joda was the last surviving member of Governor Hassan Usman’s Northern Nigeria cabinet.
President Buhari highlighted Joda’s “monumental contributions to Nigeria’s unity and progress,” from birth of the nation until his death, saying that “his lofty ideals will continue to motivate millions across the nation.’’
“We will not forget his sacrifices,” he added.
He 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, “will continue to inspire every generation to move forward with love, brotherhood and harmony.”
In his own tribute, Obasanjo disclosed how the late former Permanent Secretary, Alh. Ahmed Joda and other Super Permanent Secretaries saved the unity of Nigeria shortly after the country’s upheaval in 1966.
Obasanjo, while reacting to the death through his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, described Joda as not just a Nigerian, but, a true and great Nigerian, committed to unity, development and progress of the country.
“Oh! What a heart breaking news, that my friend for well over 60 years has passed to the great beyond. If every Nigerian has attributes of Joda, Nigeria will have been more 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 strengthened our relationship since 1959,” Obasanjo was quoted having said.
He said that they met when he was a Second Lieutuant in the Nigeria Army and Joda was a Deputy Chief Information Officer in the Federal Civil service.