Obadiah Mailafia (1956-2021)
The death of the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, is shocking and unbelievable. Mailafia reportedly died of COVID-19 at Abuja University Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja on Sunday, September 19, 2021. He was 64 years old.
Born on December 24, 1956 in the village of Randa, in the local government area of Sanga in Kaduna State, Mailafia received his primary education at the Musha Sudan United Mission school between 1964 and 1969. Between 1970 and 1974, he graduated from high school at Mada Hills High School, Akwanga. He won the Education Commissioner’s award as the most outstanding student of his class. He then attended the School of Basic Studies at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria for his “A” levels between 1974 and 1975. He was to graduate first in his class in 1978 with a B.Sc Honors in Social Sciences ( Politics, Economics and Sociology) at ABU. He also held an M.Sc from ABU, a Certificate in French Language and Civilization from the University of Clermont-Ferrand, a Diploma or M.Phil in International Economics from the International Institute of Public Administration of France. In 1995 he obtained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
His professional career has extended through teaching in banking and the civil service. After his compulsory national youth service between 1978 and 1979, he became a graduate assistant at the ABU between 1980 and 1982. He was a member of the National Institute for Political and Strategic Studies from 1982 to 1989. At various times between 1990 and 2000 he taught at Plater College, Oxford, New England College, Richmond Business School, American International University in London, and Regents Business School.
The African Development Bank Group recruited him as Chief Economist in the Strategic Planning and Budgeting Department in 2001. From 2005 to 2007, Mailafia was the Deputy Governor of the CBN. He played a central role in the bank consolidation exercise from 2005 to 2006. He also led monetary and economic policies and was responsible for research and statistics as well as liaison with international bodies such as the Bank. World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He was Chief of Staff of the Brussels-based African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States between 2010 and 2015.
Mailafia was as controversial in death as it was in life. Some groups and individuals suspected foul play in his death. The Middle Belt Forum (MBF), for example, alleged that the University Hospital of Abuja had mismanaged her case and called for investigations. He called for a transparent and full investigation into the cause of death.
Authorities at the university hospital denied the allegations, insisting they handled Mailafia’s case to the best of their ability. The hospital’s chief medical director, Professor Bissallah Ekele, said Mailafia was taken care of at two other hospitals before being referred to UATH after his case escalated. He called all the allegations against the hospital false.
Mailafia, a former African Democratic Congress (ADC) presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, caused a sensation in the country in August 2020 when he alleged on the Nigeria Info Abuja 95.1FM radio show that some people in government were behind. the Boko Haram insurgency, among other weighty allegations.
The Department of State Services (DSS) questioned him three times about the allegations. He stood firm and called on Nigerians to pray for him. In May of this year, he led a group of middle belt academics to apologize profusely to the Igbo for the despicable role the central belt played shortly before and during the Nigerian-Biafran civil war. This is why his passing came as a brutal shock to Ohanaeze Ndigbo who described him as “a generous spirit whose active conscience has helped in many ways to sustain the hope of his people and the corporate existence of Nigeria” .
The death of the development economist is a sad reminder of the devastating effect of COVID-19. The deceased is said to have contracted the disease which was made worse by other underlying health problems. He was first treated for malaria, but would not have started receiving serious treatment for COVID-19 until his condition deteriorated. Experts warn that late testing and treatment for the dreaded disease could be disastrous. Nigerians should always be aware of their health and take tests early if they notice signs similar to COVID-19. There are chances of survival if the disease is diagnosed early.
We sympathize with his family, the government and people of Kaduna State, and all Nigerians who cherish freedom and justice. That his soul rests in peace.