The year 2020 has been a terrible one in many ways. It has claimed the lives of many Nigerians, including a significant number of prominent ones. Influential personalities like top politicians, academics, lawmakers, media icons, security chiefs, and traditional rulers died this year, shocking Nigerians. While some died from COVID-19 related complications, others died of undisclosed ailments, as Daily Trust reports
The most prominent person and one of the first to die this year, was Malam Abba Kyari, the late Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
It all started from the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the country’s seat of power, when Kyari, who was appointed Chief of Staff in August 2015 by President Buhari, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 24.
The immediate past governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, 70, died on June 25 following complications arising from COVID-19.
While battling with the virus, Ajimobi was declared the acting chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), after the Court of Appeal upheld the suspension of its estranged former chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Between 2003 and 2007, Ajimobi under the platform of the Alliance for Democracy, served as Senator representing Oyo South.
In 2011, he won the Oyo State governorship election under the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and was re-elected for a second term in 2015, making him the first governor in the history of Oyo State to complete two terms in office.
Also on the list of prominent personalities who died in 2020 is media guru, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah of LEADERSHIP Newspapers.
Nda-Isaiah, who was the Chairman and Publisher of LEADERSHIP Newspaper, died on the night of Friday, December 12, 2020 following a brief illness, as announced by his family.
Nda-Isaiah was a pharmacist, but he left his footprints as a newspaperman, with three dailies, including the flagship LEADERSHIP, in his stable.
He was also a serial entrepreneur with a portfolio of thriving businesses and a founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on whose platform he contested the presidential ticket in 2014.
NIPSS DG, Habu Galadima
The Director General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Habu Galadima, died on Decemeber 20, 2020 at the age of 57 following a brief illness.
Secretary and Director of Administration of the Institute, C.F.J. Udaya, announced the death in a statement issued in Jos.
President Buhari, while expressing shock over his death, described him as an intellectual colossus who stood tall in the field of scholarship and knowledge.
Major General Johnson Olubunmi Irefin, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Port Harcourt, died on December 10, 2020 following complications from COVID-19.
His death was confirmed in a statement issued by Army Spokesman, Brigadier-General Sagir Musa.
Irefin hails from Kogi State.
Cross River CP, Abdulkadir Jimoh
The Commissioner of Police in Cross River State, Abdulkadir Jimoh, died in Calabar on December 18 after battling with some health challenges.
Chief Medical Director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Ikpeme Ikpeme, confirmed the news.
Cross River Governor Ben Ayade, in a statement by Christian Ita, his special adviser on media and publicity, expressed sadness over the death of Jimoh.
Ayade described the CP as “a brave and courageous officer who was a central figure in the fight against kidnapping and other crimes in the state.”
Prof Jerry Agada
A former Minister of Education and Chairman, Benue State Civil Service Commission, Prof Jerry Agada died in Makurdi on December 22, 2020 at the age of 68 following a brief illness.
Born on 11th November, 1952 at Orokam in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State, Prof. Agada, a career civil servant, was appointed the Executive Secretary, Benue State Examinations Board in 1996.
He rose to the peak of his career and became Permanent Secretary, Benue State Ministry of Information, Youth, Sports and Culture in 1999.
He served in the same capacity in the Ministry of Education, Benue State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Benue State Bureau of Political Affairs before his retirement in 2006.
He also contested the governorship election in Benue in 2007.
Attah Igala, Idakwo Ameh-Oboni
The paramount ruler of the Igala Kingdom, the Attah Igala, Michael Idakwo Ameh-Oboni II, died in Abuja on August 27, 2020 after a brief illness. He was 72.
He retired as an estate officer from the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and was appointed the Attah Igala in 2013.
On May 2, 2020, the Emir of Rano, Alhaji Tafida Abubakar died at the age of 74 after a protracted illness associated with diabetes and high blood pressure.
Late Emir died shortly after the Rano emirate was upgraded to a first class emirate by the Kano State governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
He worked in different capacities in the state ministries of health, agriculture and other sectors.
He also worked with the National Population Commission (NPC) from 1991 to 2000.
Late Jarman Kano, Prof Isah Hashim
Professor Isah Hashim died on the 3rd of May, 2020.
He was a distinguished traditional icon, an A-list civil servant, and an academic.
He was a respected Professor of Political Science and a former Permanent Secretary, who had held various positions at the Kaduna Polytechnic, Bayero University, Kano (BUK), University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
Late Professor Isah Hashim was appointed Jarman Kano by the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, following the death of the former Jarman Kano and Chairman of Kabo Air, late Alhaji Muhammadu Adamu Dankabo.
Late Dr Muhammadu Uba Adamu
Late Dr Muhammad Uba Adamu died on the 27th of April 2020. He was the father of the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu. Dr Uba Adamu died after a protracted illness at a hospital in Kano, living behind 17 children and many grand children.
Late Professor Ibrahim Ayagi
On April 25, 2020, Kano State lost Prof Ibrahim Ayagi, a former Chairman, National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC) during the Obasanjo administration.
Late professor Ayagi was a school teacher, a university lecturer who was later appointed as a commissioner in Kano State overseeing two ministries at a time.
He held various positions with different financial institutions in Nigeria before his death.