Wada Maida, a member of the Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI), passed away yesterday. At the time of his death, Maida was chairman of Nigeria’s People’s Media.

“Wada Maida was a great asset to journalism and press freedom in Nigeria. His passing is a huge loss to the global IPI community and journalism in Nigeria”, IPI Executive Board Chair Markus Spillmann said. “His contribution to IPI and press freedom will always be remembered by our network. On behalf of the IPI Executive Board and the network I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family.”

Maida, who had just turned 70 in March, was elected to the IPI Executive Board at the General Assembly in Geneva in June 2019. He had been a member of IPI since 1999.

After his initial studies at Government College, Katsina, from 1964 to 1968, he graduated from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) in 1971. NIJ was founded in 1963 as part of IPI’s training programme for journalists in Africa. Prior to the establishment of IPI’s two schools of journalism in Lagos and Nairobi, aspiring journalists in Africa had little or no opportunity for formal training. Maida went on to receive degrees from the U.S.-based Indiana Institute of Mass Communication in 1975 and the Aberdeen College of Commerce in the UK in 1977.

Maida started his career when he was appointed information officer in Kaduna State, where he served from 1971 to 1978 and as zonal editor from 1978 to 1981. From 1981 to 1983 Maida was based in London as foreign correspondent in charge of Western Europe for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He became chief press secretary to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the military head of State of Nigeria, from 1984 to 1985.

From 1985 to 1994 he served as editor-in-chief at NAN and was appointed managing director in 1994. Maida was a pioneering editor at the news agency and was recently appointed chairman of the board of NAN.

In February 2020, Mr Maida attended the IPI Executive Board Meeting in Vienna and was part of a campaign to call for the end of harassment of fellow Board member Maria Ressa.