Southern Kaduna Voices

A tribute to Dr. Obadiah Mailafia by Southern Kaduna’s People in Diaspora Association Europe (SOKAPDA Europe)

“Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but in thankfulness that he was”-Hebrew Proverb


64 years is only a moment in the scheme of your existence, but you left so many impressions in the hearts of many. You were a Development Economist, a Central Banker and a politician. The reasons for the choice of all these careers was your desire to make a difference to humanity.

You were the best President Nigeria never had.
It takes a special kind of a human being to achieve all of this in such a short time.

Your days in Oxford University UK as a postgraduate student, a lecturer at Richmond Business School, London; the American International University in London; and as the pioneer head of the International Business Department of Regents Business School London in the 90s made you a founding member of SOKAPDA and we in the UK and Europe are, and will for ever be proud of your stand in speaking the truth to power and standing up for the downtrodden all over Nigeria.

Your love for Nigeria in general, as well as Southern Kaduna, the middle belt, and the downtrodden all over the country, in particular actually made you ‘an enemy of the state’, leading you to -in many instances announced to the whole world that your life was in danger.

Many people all over the world were looking forward to your articles in various newspapers.
Your webinars were attended by thousands.
Some had not met you in person but through your writings and webinars, got to know you and have spoken about you affectionately.

You were a gentleman to the core and a credit to humanity. We in SOKAPDA feel privileged to call you our own.

There is a Native American poem which I believe Dr Obadiah Mailafia will (in death) want us to recite:

“Do not think of me as gone. I am with you still in each dawn”

Dr Obadiah Mailafia had ideas about the way forward for our Country and some of his writings clearly articulated some of these ideas.

He may be gone but no one can kill his ideas of justice, fair play, equality of opportunities, to name a few.

An insight into the mind of this wonderful son of Southern Kaduna is demonstrated by some of his writings and I quote:

“Democracies, if truth be told, do not die because of violent interventions. They die because of daily acts of lawlessness and impunity; because of extremism devoid of restraint and forbearance, because of disloyalty to the nation by leaders and citizens.”
– Obadiah Mailafia

Speaking on the unscrupulous nature of the Nigerian elites he had this to say:

“In a country of such diversity, ethnic and religious cleavages can easily be exploited by unscrupulous elites to inflame latent tensions, leading to inter-communal violence.”
– Obadiah Mailafia

His view on the 1999 constitution is demonstrated in his quote below:

“The 1999 constitution is a fraud. Nobody knows who wrote it. In good hands, people can live with even bad constitutions. But in the hands of closet Jihadists, it represents the triumph of tyranny.”
– Obadiah Mailafia

He also acknowledged that in statecraft there are temptations and his quote below brought this to light:

“The highest wisdom of statecraft is to know that even the saint will occasionally get his hands dirty.”
– Obadiah Mailafia

Dr Obadiah Mailafia was worried about the lack of focus of the political class and this was brought home by the quote below:

“Technocrats focus on getting the right things done; politicians focus on getting the right things in tune with the popular will. Politics, after all, is the art of the possible.”
– Obadiah Mailafia

Dr Obadiah Mailafia was worried about Nigeria and we saw the danger signs all over the place. This is spelt out in these his two quotes:

“Nations that flourish are those that continually reinvent themselves in light of domestic and changing world conditions. Those that fail to reform will atrophy and die.” – Obadiah Mailafia

“Great states are not products of chance. They are products of imagination, creativity and purpose-driven leadership.”
– Obadiah Mailafia

Dr. Obadiah Mailafia may be gone from our sight, but never from the hearts of millions. It is therefore, necessary that we never forget what he stood for and make all efforts to keep his legacy alive.

We wish all of us, especially the immediate family, healing and
May the memory of Dr Obadiah Mailafia bring us comfort and peace.

To Margaret and the children, we mourn with you. May the good Lord accept him into His kingdom, and when it is our time, we hope to meet and part no more.

In writing this tribute a portion of the song “ How Great Thou Art” became appropriate:

“When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art”

Dr Obadiah Mailafia will forever remain in our hearts.

Love from Southern Kaduna’s People in Diaspora Association Europe (SOKAPDA Europe)