The National Consultative Front (NCFront) has described the death of a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, as “unbelievable”.
The 64-year-old development economist died at the National Hospital Abuja on Sunday morning.
The group, which described the late Mailafia as an “indomitable icon of the NCFront rescue mission”, noted that the former CBN deputy governor “will be greatly missed by the leadership of the NCFront”.
Luka Binniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) had said Mailafia, who took refuge in Makurdi, Benue state, following alleged persistent harassment by the Department of State Services (DSS), fell sick on Saturday and was rushed to an Abuja hospital where he was pronounced dead on Sunday.
The former deputy governor, who was the Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the 2019 election, was a known government critic and had advocated for public sector and exchange rate reforms.
Mailafia was born on December 24, 1956, in the Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
He later graduated top of his class at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1978 with a B.Sc.
Mailafia was appointed deputy governor of CBN in 2005 from the African Development Bank (AfDB) where he served as the chief economist responsible for Strategic Planning and Corporate Reporting.
Reacting in a statement statement issued by Amb (Ms) Rukaiya Muhammad on behalf of the NCFront National Secretariat, the leaders promised to investigate the social critic’s death.
The statement read, “National Leaders of Conscience under the auspices of the National Consultative Front, NCFront, an emergent political movement of a group of eminent leaders of thought working towards the emergence of a new Nigeria that works for all by 2023 wish to express deep shock and sadness over the passing of our associate and founding member of the Front, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, former presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC in the 2019 general elections in Nigeria
“It will be recalled that Mailafia until his unbelievable demise today was a member of the National Steering Council and the North Central Facilitator of the NCFront, who raised the bar of commitment to the tasks of the movement, constantly advocating a fair, just and equitable governance of Nigeria therefore becoming a Frontline member of the National Constitutional Dialogue Committee initiated by the movement to stem the heightening constitutional crisis and political agitations and insecurity traceable to the inherent flaws and pit falls of the Nigerian Constitution foisted on the country by the Nigerian military at the outset of current troubled democracy in 1999.
“In demonstration of his huge commitment to the movement, Obadiah Mailafia last week gave a positive feedback to the National Secretariat of the NCFront on a tactical task given to him by the movement towards ensuring cohesion and stability in the North Central and Middle Belt region ahead of the people’s constitutional dialogue in the region, showing no sign of illness.
“Memories of his various endeavours and contributions will be remembered and honoured by the NCFront during the 2nd National Rescue Summit being planned by the NCFront to commemorate Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary on 1st October, 2021.
“The movement however wishes to condole and commiserate with the family of its departed Leader, Obadiah Mailafia, praying for the repose of his soul and fortitude and strength for members of his family and promising investigation into his sudden death.
“As an indomitable Icon of the NCFront rescue mission, Dr Obadiah Mailafia will be greatly missed by the leadership of the NCFront, which include, Rt Hon Ghali Umar Na’aba, Prof Pat Utomi, Prof Atahiru Jega, Dr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, Dr Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Mallam Bello Falalu, Prof Kingsley Moghalu, Hadjia Najatu Mohammed, Hon Nkoyo Toyo, Dr Usman Bugaje, Dr Olu Agunloye, Rev Father George Ehusani, Engr Buba Galadima, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, Dr Tanko Yunusa, Chief Raph Okey Nwosu, Senator Shehu Sanni, Prof Chidi Odinkalu, Dr Bilikisu Magoro, Barr Dan Nwanyawu, Arc Ezekiel Nyak Etok, Dr Aisha Lemu, Prof Anthony Kila, Dr Olu Wilson Usim, Alhaji Shettimah Yerima, Dr Chris Ekiyor, High Chief Peter Ameh, Barr Promise Adewusi, Dr Timi Koripamo Agary, Comrade Joe Ajaegbo, Barr Toyin Tokuta, Chief Precious Elekima, Dr Sam Amadi, Prof Remi Sonaiya, Mallam Nasir Kura, Hon Mrs Janet Adeyemi, Ogbeni Lanre Banjo, Barr Adewole Adebayo, ACG Wakili, Dr Gbenga Adeoye, Alhaji Hamisu San Turaki, Mrs Habiba Balogun, Lady Ann Kio Briggs, Mr Segun Osinowo, Barr Eze Onyekpere, Comrade Kassim Balarabe Musa, Che Olawale Okunniyi, National Scribe, among others.”