Tribute to a Renaissance man – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

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Mailafia

I had known Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, who rose to eternal glory on Sunday, September 19, 2021, of reputation as the Deputy Governor of the CBN before we could finally meet in person. We first met at a meeting of the Editorial Board of the Daily Trust at the newspaper empire’s premises in Utako, Abuja, sometime in 2006 or so.

Mailafia was one of the few smart men and women across the country that Mallam Kabiru Yusuf had carefully brought together as columnists and / or members of the editorial board to help build the most successful newspaper to date on the other. side of the Niger river. I am overwhelmed with immense pleasure that a little me is counted among the luminaries, including Mailafia, whom Yusuf had so meticulously selected. These were men and women such as Mohammed Haruna, Mannir Dan Ali, co-owner of Media Trust who later became the CEO of the company, the late Dr Sanusi Abubakar, a smart and thoughtful Kano man who could speak Yoruba. without accent, Mahmud Jega, Kabir Mato, professor of professors Okello Oculi. AdamuAdamu, Yusuf’s own wife, Aisha Yusuf, Zainab Okino, Mohammed Kudu Ibrahim also known as Al-Gazaly, Ishaq ModdiboKawu, Dr. Bala Mohammed, Jibrin Ibrahim and a host of other public intellectuals. At one point, Aisha and I were the mullah and mullama of the non-Talibant editorial board.

I cannot now remember what the talking points of the first day were, but Mailafia’s contribution to each of them was scholarly, patriotic and well reasoned. I was impressed with him. There is one flaw that I have: I am easily attracted or attracted to intelligent people, regardless of race, religion or gender. This is how Obadiah and I became friends when we first met. Our friendship, which started on an intellectual note, then blossomed to include family members on both sides. This allowed me to get to know almost all of his siblings in person, including the family’s baby, Hajara, who works in Jos. I also got to know and communicate very well with his late father, a great apostle who lived to be 100 years old and died in 2014 in Murya, the sleepy village of Mission on the outskirts of Lafia and his mother who died about 80 years, five years after her husband’s home visit.

I also don’t remember what topic he was assigned on that first day to draft before it was ready for publication, but I do remember that unlike other board members who were known to delay writing their assigned topics for days, with some forgetting to return anything until it was declared a bad debt, Mailafia retreated to his private office somewhere in town and went is precipitated on the part in a few minutes.

Apparently he had read me over time and had a positive opinion of my abilities, which was obviously why he had done me the favor of sending me his draft first for my comments and observations before he feels confident enough to send it to the Chairman of the Editorial Board. I read the draft and admired the speed of its completion, the logic, the language and everything in it. I told him. This is how our friendship began.

He did not stay on the board for long as soon after he took on the post of chief of staff to the secretary general of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, a group of countries in non-aligned development based in Brussels. , Belgium. In 2011, I had the privilege of being his guest at his home in Brussels while I was in this country for a mission.

There are four key things I know about Mailafia that turned him from friend to brother. First, he was the one you could describe as a Renaissance gentleman. Renaissance men emerged and flourished in the 16e century after the Dark Ages and their impact on humanity can be felt to this day. They were intellectuals who were comfortable in physics, astronomy, science, the humanities and almost all fields of thought and that man was the center of creation and that the problems of society in all areas can be solved by the application of knowledge and wisdom. Galileo, the inventor of the telescope was one of them.

Obadiah was undoubtedly one of these men. He was comfortable in economics, history, anthropology, governance, philosophy, literature and political activism. Jesus, this man loved books and spent about a quarter of his income on books! I remember one of his saddest days on earth was when his shipments of books that he brought back from Europe and kept somewhere in Surulere, Lagos was flooded with leaking pipes faulty plumber. In addition to his knowledge of the world, the Holy Spirit of the living God dwelled in him. What more could such a richly endowed man ask for if not to put the benefits of his rich endowment at the service of his country and of God?

Second, I admired and vaguely envied the Ajala life. He was a very traveled man. He has traveled and lived in over 100 countries in the modern world. He has lived in Europe, Asia, North America, West and North Africa because of his glorious career as a servant of humanity. He has met and befriended some of the most remarkable people you read in serious newspapers and magazines and watch on TV. He talks about some of these people in a flippant way that shows he got to know them on a very personal level. My prayer is that in my next coming I should live such a colorful life and not that of an empire builder that I live now in which you have to start life from scratch, build everything and not have a lot of time for fun. This prompted an admirer and follower of Nicodemus to approach me and ask me: “Sir, you don’t drink, you don’t smoke, you don’t make a woman, you don’t party. How the hell do you like? ”. I took pity on the guy. He does not know that the Holy Spirit dwells in me and fills me with all the joy I need to live a positive life!

Third, the Renaissance man that he was, Obadiah was a man of cultivation and cultivation. He could speak and write proficiently in many different languages. He was a beauty to watch in Brussels when conducting ACP meetings as he could comfortably switch from English to French and vice versa for the benefit of people like some of us who are stuck with English. As much as he had a cultivated language, he also had a cultivated taste – for wine and classical music, especially that of Mozart.

Because of the Holy Spirit, whom I said earlier lived in him, I have never known a man who loved fine wines and the tastes of Mozart like Obadiah, who did not also share the love of women. These seem to go together. When I got ready to leave for Brussels and Obadiah told me I could stay with him because he lived alone in his house as his lovely wife Margaret was here at home, I instinctively knew that he was not engaged in illicit relationships with the opposite sex there or elsewhere.

Fourth, Obadiah was a great creator of friends and a lover of the homeland and humanity. You can only have friends if you are a very friendly person yourself and can cultivate and strengthen your friendship. In a country torn apart by many realms of hate, Obadiah had loads of friends from all over the country. And as a man of the world, he had trains full of friends from the seven continents of the world. Many, especially in the northern part of our country in today’s politics and administration who think Obadiah was against the Peuls, will not believe that some of his closest friends are Peuls!

Due to my close relationship with him, I grew up believing that one day he would be President of Nigeria and I told him so. So until his death, I called him “Your Excellency”. He called me in turn “My Governor”. It was because I had also shared with him my dream of one day becoming governor of my own state, CRS, and being known as “the man who pulls the trigger”. The prophets prophesied that Nigeria was destined to lead the rebirth of Africa and that this rising Africa was to be orchestrated by a man sitting at Government House in Calabar. I see myself in this prophecy, I believe and I accept this verdict.

Sadly, Obadiah did not live to fulfill his high calling, succumbing to the Grim Ripper at just 64 years old. Maybe I am wrong in thinking that he died without fulfilling his destiny. Maybe God wanted Obadiah to reign and not reign because in reality he only became President of Nigeria for a brief time as no one else captured the imagination of patriotic Nigerians like Obadiah the did over the past two years when it struck a chord with many Nigerians. as an intelligent, patriotic and sensitive man of great frankness who spoke the truth in power at a time when all Nigerians of conscience felt numbed by a powerful evil force that had enveloped and silenced the country.

But whether I’m right or wrong, all of Obadiah’s intellectual feats, how he took an upper second class at ABU, how he did similar feats at Oxford and some of the best universities in the world, and how he served humanity with its intellect and other endowments, are they not written in the books of the world’s leading intellectuals? Rest, dear friend, brother and compatriot. You have surely added flavor to the humanity you were born to serve. Alibi written from Abuja


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