*NCC Mourns, Extols Their Virtues
Within the space of twelve days, the death of two former board chairmen of the Nigerian Communication Commission, Alhaji Ahmed Joda and Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, has occurred.
Joda died on Friday 13th of August 2021 at the age of 91 years. According to his personal secretary Alhaji Muhammed Baba, the nonagenarian died after a brief illness at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola.
Joda was born in 1930 in Yola where he attended both Elementary and Middle School before proceeding to Barewa College in Kaduna from 1945 to 1948.
He was at Moor Plantation Ibadan briefly before attending Pitman College, London after which he practiced journalism in Britain briefly.
He joined the Northern Region Civil service and rose to become a permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information. The high point of his civil service career was when he got appointed as a permanent secretary in the Federal civil service. He belonged to a special, highly respected group of “super permanent secretaries” which included Chief Allison Ayida, Chief Philip Asiodu, Chief Sunday B. Awoniyi and a few others. He was chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s board from 2001 to 2010, a period of ten years.
At critical stages of Nigeria’s evolution he played an important role. First, in the transition from General Obasanjo’s military administration to President Shehu Shagari’s civilian administration in 1979 he was the Chairman of the Transition Committee, a role he played again in 2015 in the transition from President Goodluck Jonathan to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Late Ahmed Joda has since been buried according to Muslim rites.
The commission was thrown into mourning again when Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye who held sway as Board Chairman of the Commission from 2016 to 2019 died on 24th August 2021. He died in Lagos as a result of Covid-19 complications.
A former presidential aspirant on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who lost the primaries to Chief M.K.O Abiola, Durojaiye was elected senator in the 4th Republic to represent his people of Ijebu Igbo in the red chamber of the National Assembly from 1999 to 2003. He was also a member of the 1988/89 constituent Assembly.
He excelled in his professional life whether as Economist, Banker, Lawyer working at various times with International Monetary Fund, Federal Reserve Bank, USA; Central Bank of Nigeria and so on.
In separate condolence messages, the Commission commiserated with the families of the departed.
The commission said of late Durojaiye “he was a renowned fighter for freedom, a consummate statesman, an honest, courageous and hardworking man during his lifetime”. Danbatta added that Senator Durojaiye will forever be remembered for the diligent conduct of the business of the board and for his notable achievements during the brief period he served as the chairman.
To the family, he said “our thoughts are with the entire family at this grieving period as we pray for his soul to continue to rest in perfect peace.
About ten days earlier, the current chairman of the Commission’s board, Professor Adeolu Akande, who was at the head of the Commission’s condolence team that visited late Joda’s family said the telecom industry and by extension the entire economy has benefitted immensely from the solid foundation laid by the Joda-led board from 2001 to 2010.
The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta in his own remarks, said “No amount of praise and tribute will be adequate to capture the immeasurable contributions of Baba Joda to the telecommunications industry in Nigeria in general and to the Nigerian Communications Commission in particular”.