At last, Professor Jonah Isawa Elaigwu, ex-University of Jos Political Scientist and eminent Nigerian scholar of federalism and civil-military relations, has overcome his grief and emotions about two friends he lost recently. He put pen to paper on the two, Prof A.D Yahaya and Dr. Obadiah Mailafia. It reads:
Prof. A D Yahaya was my teacher at ABU, Zaria. A humble, unassuming and quiet academic, he combined the confidence of a great academic with the humility of the commoner, which he typified in many ways in Kano. From among the talakawa, he rose to be a defender of their rights. This was why he joined the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) Government of Muhammad Abubakar Rimi in Kano in the Second Republic which lasted from 1979- 1983. He served as an Adviser to Atiku Abubakar who was Vice-President to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
However, before then, he served in Babangida’s Presidential Advisory Committee, (PAC). A very thorough political scientist, he was the Head of the Dept of Political Science at ABU and later, the Director-General of the Administrative College of Nigeria (ASCON). AD, as he was popularly called, later became the Executive Secretary of the African Association of Public Administration, (ASPS) in Nairobi, Kenya.
For me, he was not just a teacher, friend and colleague, but an adviser and confidant. He was an epitome of an educated man who exhibited the values of humility, amiability, nobility of character and kindness. May his pleasant, gentle and kind soul rest in peace with the good LORD who created him and called him yonder. Amen!
To Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, A Brother and a Friend
I first met you as my student at ABU, Zaria. You could not hide, being a brilliant and intelligent chap. You easily stuck up among your mates. I followed your later development through the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State of Nigeria, the African Development Bank down to the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) and to other jobs in foreign land.
You had always kept in touch with me. The last surprise was finding you at the Inaugural Annual Lecture of the J. Isawa Elaigwu Foundation in Abuja. You even attended the family dinner that evening. You came to visit me after my surgery and we had long chat while your wife waited. I attest to your patriotism as a committed Nigerian. I attest to your urbanity and civilized ethics.
However, I also attest to your stubbornness when it came to matters of principle. In such circumstances, your strong convictions became manifest and your commitments were beyond doubts. You believed in a Nigeria in which all citizens are treated equally: a Nigeria in which accommodation, equality and social conscience reign. You believed in the sanctity of human life, no matter whose, and you believed that government, with the monopoly of the instruments of violence, should protect such. You spoke your mind with constructive bravado, aware of the dangers to your humble self.
You joined politics to make a difference, not to share goodies. In your short life, you came, you achieved and left your footprints in the graveyard of history. For you the ALMIGHTY’s bell tolled and you had to answer. As you transit through the dark phase of life called death, may the Angels guide you gently to the land of eternal light as you rest with the LORD. The fight you engaged shall continue after you. Dear brother, adieu till we meet again yonder. Amen!