Saturday, May 17, 2003

Mourned by all: Late Major General Joshua Madaki (rtd)

Abdullahi M. Gulloma

"We have lost an illustrious son with whom I have been discussing how we can move our state forward together. May his gentle soul rest in peace and may his family be endowed with the fortitude to bear the loss." These were the words of Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi of Kaduna State when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the late Major General Joshua Mamman Madaki (rtd) who died on Wednesday, 8th May 2003.

Indeed, people of Southern Kaduna in particular and Kaduna State in general have lost a symbol of unity in the state whose life was a fulfilment.

The late General Madaki used his talents well and lived a life without regrets. If the general had a chance to live again, he would still choose to be a Nigerian, a soldier and a politician who was always there when you needed him.

It is hard to express what I personally feel about Joshua Madaki. The depths of sorrow, anger and grief over his demise has shown how his family, friends and colleagues felt about him and we will miss him so much.

I first met the late General Joshua Madaki at a function in Hamdala Hotel, Kaduna, sometime in February 2001, though I had heard much about him when he was military administrator of Plateau State. As a young chap then, I used to hear our elders mentioning some of his good works as an administrator then.

Late last year, I became very close to him when he offered himself to serve the people of Kaduna State as a gubernatorial candidate on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). A week after he declared his intention to contest the gubernatorial election in the state, late General Madaki called me and said, "The Young, you know I am contesting for an election. I hope you will publicise my activities as much as you can. Because I believe the press is to some extent central to the success of a politician."

For the two years that I had known the general, he often called me "The Young," a name he had coined for me when we first met. When one of my colleagues asked him why he was calling me "The Young," he told my colleague that I was the youngest journalist he had ever met.

The late General Madaki was a journalist's delight anytime, any day, anywhere. None of the reporters around that was able to interact with him would deny the fact that he had a mission and a vision for not only his community and state, but for our dear nation.

Born on 6th July, 1947 at Manchok, Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State, General Madaki attended SIM primary and secondary school from 1954 to 1960 and 1960 to 1965 respectively.

He also attended Saint Paul's College, Wusasa, Zaria, between 1966 and 1967; Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) between 1968 and 1970; Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna, between 1978 and 1979, as well as National Defence College, New Delhi, India between January 1992 and November 1992.

The late General Madaki was the military administrator of Bauchi and Plateau states. As an administrator under the Babangida regime, he believed in transparency, probity and accountability to nurture the youths, whom he saw as future leaders. It was he who rid the two states of corrupt officers who indulged in siphoning government's funds through dubious means.

A hardcore disciplinarian with an eye for orderliness and purity for services as his principle, the late General Madaki was in 1993 appointed director of training, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Minna, Niger State and was subsequently appointed director, Manpower and Personnel at Army Headquarters (AHQ), Lagos.

He was also appointed director, Military Training and later deputy commandant, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), as well as commandant of Infantry Centre and School (ICS), Jaji, Kaduna. Late General Madaki was also a member of the Senate of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University; national chairman, Nigerian Rugby Football Association and chairman/chief executive officer, Deesham Investment and Alheri Steel.

Indeed, late General Madaki was a great man of impeccable character, committed, selfless, contented, detribalised, intelligent, lively, and very humane in all his deeds. His family, the people of Kaduna and the people he met during his duties will no doubt miss him.

The remains of the late general will be laid to rest today Saturday 17th May 2003. His good works and patriotism will always be remembered by his family, friends and colleagues. Adieu, general!!!

It is pertinent to end this tribute with what some Nigerians had to say about the late general when they paid condolence visits to his family in Kaduna.

"It is difficult to believe that you have departed this world to the great beyond. It is a pain that we cannot cure. May the Almighty God grant your soul a perfect rest." Chief Garba Ali Madaki, honourable minister of works and housing.

"Indeed, the line between life and death is so thin, in fact unnoticeable. How else can one describe your demise? It's so unbelievable. May your soul rest in peace." Alhaji Suleiman Hunkuyi, ANPP gubernatorial candidate for Kaduna State in the last general elections.

"What a great loss! It is too sad to be true. May his soul rest in perfect peace, amen." Major General H. U. Clark, commandant, Infantry Centre and School, Jaji, Kaduna State.

"May the Lord of mercy and kindness forgive you whatever sins you might have committed through human frailty. May He give you a resting place with Him forever." Reverend Father Galadima Goni, St Peter's Catholic Church, Kabala West, Kaduna.