Posted by News Express | 26 September 2021 | 1,147 times
By MARK COLUMBUS ORGU
He loved Nigeria so much, that, I see in him, strength, ideas, and aspirations. In one occasion he called me my brother because he discovered my global knowledge about immortal leaders/comrades who promoted justice, fairness and equity and also discovered that I read almost all the books he has read. At one point, that was precisely in August, he sent me a well-written and researched work that featured in the 2021 Afrikanwatch Memoir titled, ‘2023, the kind of leaders Nigeria Needs.’ I saw in him in that work, a man gathering momentum for 2023 with many ideas on how to rescue Nigeria before it collapses into pack of cards.
First, my thinking about death changed momentarily on the basis of three beliefs - transmutation, resurrection and immortality - which can be got on the basis of our contributions to the emancipation and liberation of humanity in the course of journey in life. But there is one consolation for all noble men who stand for justice and against oppression - death is never a threat to them. This can be vividly confirmed in one of the television interviews with our late brother, Dr Obadiah Mailafia (1956-20021), where he said: “If I perish for the cause of justice, let me perish”; justifying the fact that death is never an end as every living creature must experience it.
This was further proved by the immortal Martin Luther King Jr in his autobiography, edited by Clayborne Carson, when he stressed: “Death comes to every individual. There is an amazing democracy about death. It is not an aristocracy for some people, but a democracy for all people. King dies, beggars die, rich men die and poor men die; old people die and young people die, death comes to the innocent and it comes to the guilty. Death is the irreducible common denominator of all men.”
This is also another solace I take over the death of Dr. Mailafia, a man we both had discussions about 2023 and the roles young people should play. We were passionate about these discussions and how well-meaning Nigerians can come together to fight for a better country.
He loved Nigeria so much, that I see in him, strength, ideas and aspirations. In one occasion, he called me my brother because he discovered my global knowledge about immortal leaders/comrades that promoted justice, fairness and equity and also discovered that I read almost all the books he has read. At one point, that was precisely in August, he sent me a well-written and researched work that featured in the 2021 Afrikanwatch Memoir entitled, ‘2023, the kind of leaders Nigeria Needs.’ In that work, I saw in him a man gathering momentum for 2023 with many ideas on how to rescue Nigeria before it collapses into pack of cards. An unblemished man who reiterated his position on how a nation should be governed.
He was a fearless gladiator of redemption who cares not whose ox was gored. This manifested greatly; which gave him history, fame and commendations. God, why did you allow Obadiah to go like that at a time his counsel and knowledge is needed? A beautiful soul of his would have been greatly saved. But who are we, mere mortals, to question your authority. He was a beautiful flower with good scent everyone wanted to keep; like the story of gardeners who planted mixture of beautiful flowers in their fertile gardens. Indeed, as the flowers bloom greatly, there comes the admiration, having seen the beauty and the colouration of the flowers, they became tempted.
And as humans, who love nature, the gardeners were attracted to a number of the flowers to decorate their living rooms and enjoy the good scent arising from it. Lo and behold! They decided to pluck any - a choice any time they desire or want. Like the gardeners, the owner of life planted every human being in His early Garden, and He decides when, how and why to pluck any of the scent-able and beautiful flowers. No one dare question Him.
Friends, families, colleagues, let us take it by faith that the late patriarch is a beautiful flower needed in the justly and fairly heaven, where he can smile and be glad, where no one will feel cheated, where no one will be unjustly treated, where no one will feel superior to another, and where equity is ultimate. We need not to weep like people without faith. Yes, we all have a date with our Maker.
Mailafia was particular about leaders who came with superior ideologies, and radically changed their world. He was quick to name them one after the other in our usual discussions: like John F. Kennedy, Napoleon Bonaparte - the great French general, warrior, statesman and revolutionist - whom he described as a leader and dealer of hope; General George S Patton Jr, Martin Luther King Jr, Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes - the English political philosopher, Winston Churchill, Obafemi Awolowo, Nelson Mandela, etc. He then recommended this influential book, On Becoming a Leader (Addison-Wesley, 1989) for me.
Mailafia was a statesman, scholar, development economist and political philosopher with more than 30 years experience in banking, finance and public policy. He was a former official of the African Development Bank; former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and former Chef de Cabinet of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group in Brussels.
He studied Economics and Public Administration at the famous IIAP-École National d’Aministration and at the Sorbonne in Paris. He later won a foreign and Commonwealth Office fellowship at the University of Oxford, where he completed his D Phil, specialising in Economics and Politics of International Development. He lectured in Oxford and London before he pursued a career in banking and international finance.
He served on the boards of several private companies and foundations, including Fiscal Commission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), NBL Plc, and International Energy Insurance (IEI).
He was also a member of several learned bodies, such as: American Economic Association, Royal Economic Society of Britain, American Political Science Association, International Studies Association, London Strategic Society, and Fellow and Member of the Board of Trustees for the Society for Project Management. He was an Associate Fellow of the United Nations University Institute for Regional Studies in Bruges and visiting professor at the Faculty of Applied Economics of the Free University of Brussels. Mailafia was the presidential candidate for the African Democratic Congress (ADC), which came third in the 2019 general elections.
The great patriot was a nationally syndicated columnist, writing for top national newspapers such as Punch, Vanguard, Tribune and Business Day. He was fluent in French with elementary proficiency in Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic.
A strong intellectual personality whose interests were in moral theology, jurisprudence and philosophy of law and Islamic moral /political thought, Mailafia’s hobbies were Egyptology, the Apostolic Church Fathers, poetry, art and rural conservation.
In his spare time, he enjoyed table tennis and long walks in the rural savannah of his birth. He was loved because he was forthright, blunt, and principle, very diligent and courageous. A genius and bright morning star to our country, Nigeria.
This was his last profile he sent to me last month when he personally told me that, he would like me to publish his new book.
Rest well, mentor.
•Orgu, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos: email@example.com
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