By Enyeribe Ejiogu (Lagos), Romanus Ugwu and Charity Nwakaudu (Abuja), Rose Ejembi (Makurdi) and Gyang Bere (Jos), Emmanuel Adeyemi (Lokoja), Layi Olanrewaju (Ilorin), John Adams (Minna), Aidoghie Paulinus (Abuja)
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has expressed grief over the shocking death of the publisher of Leadership newspaper, Sam Ndah-Isaiah, who died at 58.
In a condolence to the family of the deceased pharmacist-turned newspaper columnist, publisher and politician, Lawan said: “Sam Nda-Isaiah fervently believed in the Nigeria Project and this is reflected in his writings and the editorial focus and tone of his Leadership newspaper. His contributions as a public opinion shaper and principled politician are profound and have put his imprints on the Nigerian history despite his early home call.”
Chief Whip of the Senate and former governor Abia State, Senator Orji Kalu, who also commiserated with the bereaved family, said the demise of Nda-Isaiah “is a huge loss to the media industry and Nigeria at large.”
While extolling the virtues of the deceased, he stressed that the chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was a patriotic statesman and detribalised Nigerian with passion for a prosperous and united Nigeria. Applauding the worthy legacies of the late publisher, Kalu admonished family members, friends and associates of the deceased to sustain the good deeds of Ndah-Isaiah, noting that the late media guru contributed immensely to the media industry locally and internationally.
He said: “The deceased played various roles in nation building as a columnist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and politician. The late publisher was dogged, humble, forthright and consistent. His invaluable contributions to the growth and development of Nigeria are worthy of commendation and emulation.”
Kalu noted that late media guru would forever be remembered for his good legacies.
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in statement by his media office, described Nda-Isaiah as “a courageous and conscientious journalist and columnist,” adding, “he was a friend and an associate. We had a built cordial relationship between us long before we founded the APC together with others and before he contested for the presidential ticket at the primaries of our party in 2014.”
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, extolled Nda-Isaiah for “his immense contributions to the growth of the Nigerian media and the deepening of democracy,” noting that they were “etched in the sands of time.”
Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commiserating with the Board, Management and Staff of Leadership Newspapers, said that Sam Nda-Isaiah’s death was painful, stressing that the country had lost another patriotic and detribalised citizen, “whose eternal passage came at a time when Nigeria needed more of his knowledge and wealth of experience in different areas of endeavours.”
Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, expressed grief over the demise of Nda-Isaiah, a former presidential aspirant of the APC, saying he was devastated by the monumental loss to Nigeria and the northern region.
Lalong eulogised the late successful businessman, whom, he noted, was never afraid to dream big and venture into various fields.
In the same vein, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, described the late Nda-Isaiah as a true patriot who made “indelible contributions to the growth of the media industry and offered jobs to hundreds of Nigerians through his companies.”
The Progressive Governors Forum, in a statement by its chairman and Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreversible loss.
Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, through his Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, said he was still struggling to come to terms with the reality of the death of the consummate media icon; he described him as “a patriotic, quintessential and dogged media guru who was passionate about the growth and development of his country, Nigeria.”
For the Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, “the death of Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah is one tragedy too many.” He added that the death of the media icon “painfully depletes the ranks of patriots who would go to any length to protect the honour of our fatherland. The whole country will miss Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah for his unimpeachable contributions to media development, his brilliant writings, and his undisguised love for the country.”
Reacting to the demise of Nda-Isaiah, Niger State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello and Chairman North Central Governors Forum, said: “An iroko tree in the pen profession has fallen and Niger State has once again lost a passionate and dedicated citizen.”
Also in his condolence message, former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa, said the death of the publisher had created a vacuum in the media industry. Vatsa described the late pharmacist-turned newspaper publisher as “an upright man with a great sense of humility and lifestyle worthy of emulation by upcoming media profesionals.”
Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, said that Nda-Isaiah fought a good fight, and described him as a man of ideas and noted that the country had lost a gem.
Grief-stricken by the sudden demise of one its key members, the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), in a joint statement signed by the President, Malam Kabiru A. Yusuf and Secretary, Alh Mohammed Idris, said: “The huge loss is even more devastating and painful because Sam was not only a colleague but a friend to all in the industry. His commitment to the values and objectives of the association was unflagging to the very end; he was together with the rest of us only last week in Lagos, when elections into the national executive council of the NPAN were held, and Sam was elected as an ex-officio member.
“Sam Nda-Isaiah has left indelible footprints in the annals of the Nigerian media. He started as a publisher right away with Leadership Confidential, a subscription-based monthly newsletter, which, in 2004, he transformed into Leadership, a gutsy, stylish weekly newspaper that caught the eye of Nigerians as soon as it hit the newsstands.
“As a popular columnist, Sam told truth to power. His style was brash, bare-knuckle and unapologetic. For his constancy in that, he was mostly regarded as patriotic. His desire to transform his beliefs into policy made him to make a foray into party politics where he ran for president in the 2015 general elections. Politics made him to drop his column but the general direction of his newspapers was consistent with what he had been writing.”
The North Central People’s Forum (NCPF), speaking through its Publicity Secretary, Sule Dikeson, commiserated with the nation on the demise of Nda-Isaiah, whom it lauded as “a man with a large heart that believes in truth and justice,” noting that the late newspaper was until his demise a member of NCPF’s Board of Trustees (BoT).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the late Sam Nda-Isaiah was lived true to the motto of his newspaper, “For God and Country.”
Mohammed, in a statement by the Special Assistant to the President (Media), assigned to the Office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, said that Nda-Isaiah had an unwavering belief in Nigeria and its ability to overcome its challenges and become a foremost member of the comity of nations. “For him, it was not just a belief, it was a mantra. He demonstrated his abiding faith in the country, not just in words but in deed. Where many saw challenges, he saw opportunity. Where many peddled fear, he preached hope. When many chose to fire darts, he opted to soothe nerves. He was indeed a great Nigeria and a true friend and brother,” Mohammed said.
Also, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Council, in a statement issued in Abuja and signed by Emmanuel Ogbeche and Ochiaka Ugwu, Chairman and Secretary of Council respectively, the council said the late Nda-Isaiah was not only a true friend of the council, who never missed any opportunity to engage the council, but also one personality whose doors were wide open to the NUJ anytime for interactions and negotiation on labour issues.
Former governor Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, described Nda-Isaiah as a man with strong convictions and who expressed them passionately.
In a press statement signed by his media assistant, Tony Eluemunor, Ibori said that Nigeria would remember Nda-Isaiah as a man of many parts.
Paying tribute to the late Nda-Isaiah, Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, described him as one who fought for a deregulated media landscape and a man with big ideas.
“His departure, though saddening and a rude shock will not be enough to diminish his towering contributions to the journalism practice and his bold foray into politics.
“The leadership newspaper he championed was one of the boldest steps he ever took. Where most men fear to thread, Ndah threaded and succeeded in doing so.