Tribute to Late Prof. Seidu Onailo Mohammed, Former Director-General of NASRDA

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Actually, I have met Prof Saidu Ogar only once in my life and in that very important encounter he left with the impression that he is the most generous man I have ever met. For a man who I have not actually known to bless me with the sum of one hundred thousand naira after our only meeting in his life time describes how generous he was. For the mere fact that he parted with that sum of money because as he said it “I needed it more than he does at that time”, showed how selfless he was as a leader. I am proud that even though I didn’t know Professor Saidu very well, as we met only once in his life time, perhaps I know many who have come across this great man.

As a matter of fact, many commentators are amazed, even awed, at the quantum and quality of the encomiums and tributes pouring out of many mouths from various quarters from the day he died to the 40-day fidau prayer of this great statesman.

Tributes were seen from some people many believed do not seem to care about anything or anyone. Yet, these people seem to be in great mourning, and have something good to say about this great man because the late Prof Saidu came like a comet and leaving through trails of lights that the whole darkness in the world cannot extinguish.

Saidu Ogar was one of our very best in Kogi state. He is a technocrat to the core who cares about his people, especially the downtrodden. One hopes all these emotions were earlier translated into visits to the hereafter for us to have the opportunity to say thank you because many of us mourning his memories till this day didn’t have the chance to visit him to check on his well being, to show love and to show gratitude when he was still alive.

Saidu Mohammed was a complete symbol of humility and confidence. Humility and confidence are two human attributes that do not seem to always reside in a person at the same time, even though they are necessarily opposites of one another. However, the two words common source is “True Knowledge”. I have learnt through the life of the late Saidu Onailo Mohammed that while confidence is a feeling of consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances, humility, on the other hand, is the quality or state of being humble. Nothing I can recall better describes the qualities of this late statesman as these two words.

Anyone who has met the late Saidu Onalo would be convinced that he was also extremely compassionate and even though the world is more full of pain than compassion, he chose to be extremely compassionate and the out-pouring of tributes and emotions over his death is a complete testimony to his rare qualities.

I pray that those of us he left behind as children, wives, brothers, uncles, nephews, colleagues and even acquaintances and many more he has positively influenced, would keep this torch burning by making the world a better place than we met it just as the late Saidu Onalo has done.

The late Saidu Onalo was a very intelligent man and knew that he was, yet he was always humble enough to defray it and that is why I ever got to meet him as I am not equal to even his sandals. He was a master of all managerial trades and Jack of none.

Saidu Onalo was erudite, confident and highly conscientious. His independent mindedness and fearlessness in the performance of his duties were demonstrated many times during the course of his lengthy career in public service. His foresight was evident in the way he bequeathed to his successors at NASRDA, templates and roadmaps that was implemented and in the process turned the agency into one of the best ran and result oriented agencies of the federal government in Nigeria today. Many of his recommendations in his hand over notes later became space developments policies of government and many of his predictions came to pass.

Today, we cannot exhaustively and conclusively finish mention the qualities of the late statesman. We have hoped that the late statesman had recorded his life experiences in some form of autobiographies or biography for the future of the future generations. This great man has no right to be forgotten. Calculating all the good things he had done for his country, well meaning historians have a lot of work to do to reconstruct this life of this late great statesman, the late Saidu Onalo.

His exemplary public life marked him out as a significant patriot and nationalist. This remarkable and original Nigerian will long be remembered for his remarkable service and dedication to the peace, progress, unity and development of Nigeria.

 I recommend that he should be honoured for his excellent contributions in promoting SPACE science development even at the early period when many were pessimistic about our potential as a country in the space field. He stood optimistic that it is the only way to go and today the contributions of science and space technology to the Nigerian ecosystem is there for all to see.

Adieu Late Prof. Saidu Onalo Mohammed.

– Musa Wada writes from Abuja.

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