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Iconic Professor Tom Adaba at 83

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Prof. Tom Adaba

By Bernard Balogun

“…of all our possessions, wisdom alone is immortal…” – Isocrates

Chairman means so many things to so many people, especially in the media where he is indeed a guru. To some, he was a teacher and l am privileged to know quite a few of them, who were his students back then and now in the professorial cadre. In the media, his constituency, he has mentored many, who are holding responsible positions in the media. Yours sincerely is a direct beneficiary.

To be under the tutelage of Prof Tom Adaba and survived, means you possessed that indomitable spirit to excel. Working with him for over twenty consecutive years afforded me the opportunity to meet the high and the mighty in the society. As a boss, he was a “no-sense” man, highly disciplined and a goal getter with strict principles to achieve results. He could be friendly and generous however do not take those attributes for granted. Oga could be real tough.

Prof is a wonderful family man and a loving father to his adorable children.

If in doubt, ask the early staffers of NTA-Television College in Jos and the National Broadcasting Commission in Asokoro, where he was at various times the pioneer Principal and the pioneer Director General. They will attest. And of course, he does not take his religious life lightly. A firm believer of the Catholic faith and a member of the Order of the Knight of St Mulumba. For a period, Prof Adaba was the Grand Knight of the Maitama subcouncil. He is a traditional title holder in Ebiraland. The late President Umar Yar’Adua bestowed on him the national award – Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).

Early in life, Prof wanted to be a Catholic Priest. That did not quite work. Then he opted to join the Nigerian Army. That too did not quite work out. Do you know why? There is something called pre-destiny. That played out in the early part of Prof Adaba’s life. The media in those early days was a not a prosperous profession, so it seemed then, and was quite an unfamiliar terrain. However there laid his destiny.

It has been an undulating journey thus far and a purposeful life indeed for Prof Tom Adaba.

His birth in July 2 1941 came with circumstances that were excruciating and full of suspense.

Let us use Prof Tom Adaba’s personal memoir titled …But For God… as our guide.

…my mother, Mrs Mary Oniya Adaba had given birth to three children before me but they all died at infancy…came the Parish Priest, Rev Fr Thomas Duffy, an Irish Priest of the Missionary Society of Africa (SMA) stationed in Okene…
commiserated, he prayed. His parting consolatory prophecy for my parents was that their next child would be a male, and should be named after him. The child would cease the infant mortality in the family…my father was conscripted along with some other able-bodied Ebira men into the British Royal West African Frontier Force for operations in India and Burma in the Second World War (1939 – 1944). When mother was six months pregnant, the parish priest, Rev Fr Thomas Duffy made arrangements for her to move to the only Catholic Hospital in the Diocese of Benin, where Okene also belonged…Above all, the absence of her husband and even the uncertainty of his condition at the front line, as well as the prospects of her impending delivery were an unquantifiable stress during her Asaba experience…July 2, 1941 my mother said she was filled with inestimable joy at my cry at birth…on the seventh day after my birth, l was baptised and named Thomas…

That is the foundational story of the man, today called Professor Aaze Thomas Adaba married to a virtuous woman, in December 26, 1966, who has become a role model to many young married women. Interestingly, mama shares same initials with oga – Lady Aaze Theresa Adaba – (ATA).
On occasion such as today, it is not a bad idea if we blow the trumpet for mama and to thank her for being such a wonderful pillar of support. This is a message to young couples. They should draw inspiration from Prof Sir Aaze Thomas Adaba (ATA) and Lady Aaze Theresa Adaba (ATA). Perseverance and utter faith in God works.

Finally, l wish Prof Tom Adaba as he is popularly known and called in the media, many more years on earth, robust health and sound mind.

Happy 83-birthday sir.

Ad multos annos vivas.

Shalom, Salaam and Peace.

Balogun (BenPino) writes from Abuja.

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