Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed how the late former Permanent Secretary, Ahmed Joda and other colleagues saved Nigeria in 1966.
The 1966 coup, six years after independence, began on January 15 when soldiers led by Chukwuma Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna killed 22 people including the Prime Minister, politicians and Army officers and guards.
Joda, 91, Chancellor of the Bells University, Otta in Ogun State, died on Friday.
Obasanjo mourned his friend of 60 years in a statement by his spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi.
He described Joda as a great Nigerian, who remained committed to unity, development and progress of the country.
The former Head of State said if every citizen possessed Joda’s attributes, Nigeria would be better than it is now.
“Ahmed Joda did not need to tell you is a Fulani man, but, in everything I know he did, he lived not just as a Fulani man, he lived, he worked and he laboured as a true Nigerian.
“They are not many like him, and that was what strengthen our relationship since 1959”, the retired General noted.
Obasanjo recalled how they met when he was a Second Lieutenant in the Nigeria Army and Joda was a Deputy Chief Information Officer in the Federal Civil service.
“If not for people like Joda and other Senior Permanent Secretaries, as they were called at that time, after the second upheaval of 1966, Nigeria broken into pieces.
“It was Ahmed Joda and other Super Permanent Secretaries like Philip Asiodu, Liman Ciroma, Alison Ayida who prevailed not to have Nigeria broken up.”
Obasanjo added that Joda served his family, community, country and humanity.
He said Joda did well including working for the transition between the Buhari and Jonathan administrations.
The ex-President prayed for the repose of the departed soul.