By Julius Toba-Jegede
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has described the late former Board Chairman of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Wada Maida, as a unique journalist with landmark achievements in the profession.
The governor spoke when the management of NAN led by the Managing Director, Mr Buki Ponle, paid him a courtesy visit at his official residence in Abuja.
The visit was part of the preparations for the Sept. 16 official renaming of the NAN headquarters building in Abuja after Maida, who was at various times Western Europe Correspondent, Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director of the agency.
NAN reports that the letter conveying President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval for the naming of the edifice after Maida was dated Nov. 26, 2020, following his death on Aug. 17, 2020, at the age of 70.
Ganduje, who had earlier congratulated Ponle on his appointment, also commended him for his various initiatives since he took the mantle of leadership at the agency.
He said Maida lived an exemplary life of selflessness and service to humanity, adding that the decision to name the NAN building after him was most appropriate and well-thought-out.
“I want to condole with you on the death of your former Managing Director and Chairman, Board of Directors, Ahaji Wada Maida, may his soul rest in perfect peace.
” His name is an household name in Nigeria, in fact, one of the newspapers recently put his pictures on its pages reminding us of those days when he used to render his services to Nigeria and to humanity.
“He was a unique journalist among his contemporaries and he served this nation to the best of his ability, leaving behind footprints that are enviable and proud enough to be associated with.
“So inviting us to attend his immortalisation means that it is not we doing you a favour as an agency, it is you doing us a favour. I want to assure you that we will attend to honour his memory,” Ganduje said.
He said Kano State Government had always recognised the leading position of NAN in the business of news dissemination locally and internationally, adding that his administration would have a lot to gain from partnering with the agency.
“Pertaining to the issue of partnership, NAN being a multimedia institution, we have everything to gain. We have been dealing with various media organisations but when it comes to NAN, then you are in an ocean so the story of water is not a story.
“That partnership is very important to us and especially to the people of Kano. You have already acknowledged our history. It involves old civilisation even before the creation of Nigeria.
” It had been on the world map many thousands of years ago, being exposed to North Africa and from there to Europe. It is a civilisation very rich in tradition and culture, so I think there is a lot for us to gain in it.
“In commerce and development, this will give us the opportunity to showcase our development aspirations and what we have so far achieved in the state so far. I think the earlier we build that relationship the better,’’ he said.
Earlier, the managing director in his remarks had recalled that Kano was where NAN opened its first state office at the commencement of operations in 1978.
He told the governor that NAN was looking forward to further strengthening the existing relationship it started with the people and government of Kano over four decades ago.
While paying tributes to Maida, Ponle said: ‘’Your Excellency, permit me to say this.
” Our late chairman board of directors died on Aug.17, 2020. He was first Editor-in-Chief, London and Western Europe Correspondent and Managing Director.
” He never left us. The Commander-in-Chief in his wisdom has given directive that the edifice he contributed into making NAN Headquarters be named after our late icon and one of the best journalists that Nigeria has ever produced.
‘’ We called him Wada because he was just a grassroots man. He had listening ears and was ready to solve the problems of others even when he had his own problems.
” He gave Nigeria and NAN a great edifice, so there’s no more befitting honour to be bestowed on Wada Maida than naming the building after him.’’
He also told Ganduje that he was one of the few governors identified by the management of NAN to be special guests of honour at the event, going by his performance and style of leadership.
“We have noted also with delight the giant strides that you have made since your administration came into being, especially the seamless and peaceful congresses you did recently, it was marvelous just like you have been doing in the past.
“We want to strengthen this partnership with your administration in the area of most effective coverage of events and in the area of timely and responsible news dissemination.
” We will also ensure that we put Kano State Government in the front burner of events and activities locally and globally.
” Kano people are accommodating, and we want to sustain the peaceful coexistence among residents through various strategies that we have mapped out,’’ Ponle said. (NAN)