*As Northern govs, others mourn his passage
By Dapo Akinrefon, Luminous Jannamike & Marie-Therese Nanlong
The Northern Governors’ Forum, NGF, Aare Inakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, among other Nigerians yesterday continued to mourn the demise of former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, a frontline Vanguard Columnist and a former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC in the 2019 general elections, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia.
This came as the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, called on the Federal and Kaduna State governments to immortalise him, saying the “people of the Middle Belt too should not forget the man who served them to the end.
Mailafia, 64, died Sunday morning after a brief illness at the National Hospital, Abuja.
The Northern governors described his death as a great loss to the nation as well as the entire Northern region.
Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, said, “The death of Dr. Mailafia is a sad development not only to his family, but to the nation because of his enormous contributions to the socio-economic pursuits of Nigeria. He was a consummate financial expert and vibrant intellectual whose local and international reputation is highly acknowledged, having been sought and deployed for the benefit of Government and private entities around the world.”
While commiserating with the family, Lalong added “the legacies of Dr. Mailafia will continue to be celebrated as he showed passion for development, emancipation, truth, justice and equity in all his interventions at various platforms. Such aspirations for a better Nigeria and the upliftment of the downtrodden motivated him to vie for the office of the President in 2019 which afforded him the opportunity to espouse his vision for a better Nigeria.”
On its parts, CAN in a statement through its General Secretary, Rev. Joseph Daramola, said Mailafia was not only a patriot par excellence, but also a defender of the masses, and as such deserved to be celebrated.
In a statement titled; ‘CAN Mourns Obadiah Mailafia’, Daramola recalled that the former presidential candidate was a detribalised person who spoke against injustice anywhere in the country, especially when it affected the downtrodden.
He said, “We are dumbfounded by the sudden relocation of a voice of the voiceless, a voice of courage, wisdom and reason, a patriot per excellence, a genuine Christian, Dr Obadiah Mailafia when the Church, nay the country needs him most.
“Such a voice is needed now when many well meaning Nigerians are keeping silent at the time they are expected to speak against the unending and unprecedented killings and kidnappings in the country as a result of the collapsed and compromised security architecture.
“As far as we are concerned, the demise of such a hardworking and committed patriot is a rude shock, untimely, humanly speaking, unbelievable and very unfortunate. He was a foremost defender of the masses and the Church
“We call on the Federal and Kaduna governments to immortalise him. The people of the Middle Belt too should not forget the man who served them to the end.
“Our own part, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) will not be left behind as we have resolved to honour him during our forthcoming CAN’s anniversary celebrations.
“Our consolation is that he not only died on duty for the Kingdom of God as a martyr, but refused to compromise his faith in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He served God till his last breath.
On his part, Adams in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Kehinde Aderemi, expressed dismay at the circumstances leading to the death of the foremost economist, saying Nigeria’s health sector is collapsing by the day, while the clinics is literally a shallow graveyard for patients.
He said: “I received the news of Dr. Obadiah Mailafia as a rude shock but I feel bad with the circumstances surrounding the death of one of our great minds and best brains.
“Dr. Mailafia remained the voice of the voiceless and he was a true patriot with credible profiles. For us that share in his beliefs, there’s need for us to sustain his ideology and also replicate his life of courage and selflessness. It is in doing this that we can improve the lives of others and sustain his memory.
“As a nationalist, Dr. Mailafia was completely dedicated to the emancipation of ethnic nationalities from the clutches of oppression.
“He was never afraid to speak truth to power just as he remained committed to the enthronement of justice and equity to all citizens across ethnic and religious divides.
“In his life, the foremost economist and consummate technocrat was one of the leading voices that beamed his searchlight on the raging insecurity ravaging our country.
“He expressed regrets over government’s incapacity to rein in the activities of insurgents and criminal groups terrorising the nation.”
Also mourning the late former CBN Deputy Governor, the Yola Branch Controller of the CBN, Satu Jatau said the deceased was one of the finest that the country had but not valued.
Speaking in Jos, Jatau said, “Dr. Obadiah Mailafia’s death is very unfortunate. It is one of the most painful death that I have witnessed in recent times. He was one of the finest in this country, a man that was sought after even outside this country. Unfortunately, we lost him to the cold hands of death.”
The Plateau State Chapter, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ through its Chairman, Paul Jatau stated, “Dr. Mailafia’s is unfortunate, coming at the time our country is going through its most trying moment.
Similarly, President, Middle Belt Youth Council worldwide noted, Emma Zopmal, among others, said “Late Dr Obadiah Mailafia was an extraordinary hero. He stood for the truth but hated by the system. Nigerian system hates the truth. As a result, this country will never move forward. He has been under intense pressure to desist from speaking the truth. As a true Middle Belter, he never relented until his untimely death.