By Egena Sunday Ode
President Muhammadu Buhari Sunday in Yola, Adamawa State, described former Permanent Secretary and Chairman of his Transition Team, 2015, Ahmed Joda, 91, as a patriot and most valuable citizen, who gave his best for unity and development of the country.
Speaking through a delegation led by Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, to commiserate with family, friends and associates of the elder statesman, including government and people of Adamawa State, President Buhari said Joda’s transition was a collective loss to the family, state, country and the world that he touched and improved with integrity and competence.
A statement by the Senior Spacial Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said President told the family that: “Joda was a trustworthy and loyal companion, who steadfastly stood for the interest of the nation through highs and lows.’’
“The country will not forget his sacrifices.”
The family, through Alhaji Mustapha Aminu, Galadima of Adamawa, thanked the President for sending a high powered delegation to mourn with them, agreeing that Joda was a hero for all Nigerians, Shehu noted in the statement.
He said Aminu highlighted the trust and loyalty that shaped the relationship between the President and the former Permanent Secretary, also known as one of the “Super Perm Secs’’, saying the President shared greatly in the loss as well.
At the palace of Lamido of Adamawa, Dr Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha, according to the statement, the SGF conveyed “deepest condolences” of the President and that of the government and the people of Nigeria to him and his people, saying “we have come to mourn a hero, a mentor and a father.”
The President commended the late Permanent Secretary for productive services to Nigeria and the world, it said.
President Buhari also said when he looked around for someone to help manage his transition to the Presidency, following his victory in the 2015 General Elections, he out that Joda was most fitting, with “the right quality and calibre.’’
Joda the President said, made a deep impressed on all by the work he did at that time, 2015, ensuring a “seamless transition by remaining focused, resourceful and avoiding land mines for a successful takeover.”
The Lamido thanked the President for sending the delegation and described Joda’s death as a big loss to the state and the country.
“Knowing the relationship between the President and Joda, we should be the ones going to Abuja to condole with the President instead of his sending a delegation to us,’’ the royal father said.
Governor of Adamawa State, Umaru Fintiri, who also received the Presidential delegation, according to the statement, said the state and country had lost a “father, a friend and an adviser to whom we ran for solutions to intractable problems.”
The Presidential delegation to Yola also included Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Senator representing Adamawa Central, Sen. Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani, Members of the House of Representatives representing Yola/Yola South, Hon. Ja’afaru Sulaiman Ribadu and representing Gombi, Hon Yusuf Buba as well as Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Musa Bello.
Others were Senior Special Assistants to the President, Sarki Abba and Garba Shehu, and a Special Assistant in the Presidency, Ibrahin Bapetel and Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, Air Commodore A.Y. Abdullahi, according to Shehu.