By Julius Toba-Jegede
Gov. Aminu Bello-Masari of Katsina State on Thursday called on Nigerians to ensure national unity and security in spite of challenges facing the country.
The governor made the call in Katsina when he received the management of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) led by its Managing Director, Mr Buki Ponle.
NAN management was in Katsina to invite the governor to the upcoming official naming of the agency’s headquarters building after the late Malam Wada Maida, as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Wada, who hails from Katsina state, served NAN in various capacities including being its pioneer Editor-in-Chief, later as Managing Director and Chairman, board of directors until his death on Aug. 17, 2020.
The governor urged the Nigerians to particularly stand in unity against issues of insurgency, banditry and other forms of security challenges.
He said great nations around the world had at one time or the other passed through similar challenges and emerged stronger politically and economically.
“It is a known fact that great nations around the world had faced this type of challenges in the past before their current economic and political growth.
“What Nigeria is going through is a transitional stage ahead of development and it shall become a history.
“I want all Nigerians to know that security is a responsibility of everyone, be it politicians, traditional rulers, religious leaders and youths, we need to unite against this scourge of insecurity,” he said.
He added that ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to tackle most of the challenges required collective support of Nigerians.
He thanked Buhari for approving the renaming of the NAN after Maida, describing it as “an honour well deserved to a man who gave his best to Nigeria and journalism”.
He also described Maida’s passage as a personal loss to him, being a childhood friend and political associate.
He recalled how the deceased never asked for personal gains or contracts from him as a governor.
the governor said that Maida only requested for a drainage of about one kilometre to be constructed for the people living in a particular location in the state capital.
“I have been close to Malam Wada Maida right from when he started from the Federal Ministry of Information till he later joined NAN.
“He was also the chairman of my youth empowerment foundation where we gave scholarships to several youths and he did very well.
“I recall after we came into government in 2015, he never came for personal favours or contracts.
“Except only once when he requested that we should construct a drainage of over one kilometre for the people of a particular area in the state capital to solve their flooding challenge.
“As a Katsina man, we are proud of his achievements in NAN, journalism and his other services to humanity.
“We express appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the approval for naming the NAN headquarters after him,” the governor said.
In his earlier remarks, the managing director congratulated Katsina State for being the birthplace of the iconic journalist.
He said Maida’s place in the anal of history of the agency would remain unforgettable due to his numerous achievements.
Ponle used the opportunity to present to the governor a document containing various areas of partnerships where the state government could explore with the agency.
He said NAN, through its various platforms, had the capacity to spotlight most of the salient achievements of the Masari administration in the last six years.
NAN reports that the official naming of the edifice after Maida, who was Chief Press Secretary to President Muhammadu Buhari in 1984, is scheduled for Sept. 16.(NAN)