President Muhammadu Buhari has described former Permanent Secretary, Ahmed Joda, as a patriot and most valuable citizen, who gave his best for unity and development of the country.
Joda, who was also the Chairman, Buhari administration’s Transition Team, 2015, died at the age of 91 on Friday in Yola, Adamawa.
The president made his feelings known 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 in Yola on Sunday.
Buhari also condoled with the government and people of Adamawa over the passing of the elder statesman.
He 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.
The 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.
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, the SGF conveyed “deepest condolences” of the president and that of the government and the people of Nigeria to him and his people.
He said: “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.
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 opted for Joda as most fitting, with “the right quality and calibre’’.
He said Joda 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”.
Responding, 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,’’ he said.
Gov. Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa, who also received the presidential delegation, 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 the Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Senator representing Adamawa Central, Sen. Aishatu Binani, and members of the House of Representatives, representing Yola/Yola South and Gombi, Ja’afaru Ribadu and Yusuf Buba, accordingly.
Others were the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello; Senior Special Assistants to the President, Sarki Abba and Garba Shehu, and a Special Assistant in the Presidency, Ibrahin Bapetel.