Chairman and Founder of LEADERSHIP Group Limited, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, is dead.
The media mogul, writer, politician and serial entrepreneur, died last night in Abuja after a brief illness. He was 58.
Confirming his demise, a statement by the family last night said, “We are deeply saddened to announce the news of the passing of the chairman of LEADERSHIP Group/National Economy, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah.
“He died in Abuja on Friday night, after a brief illness. Nda-Isaiah was a family man, a serial entrepreneur and visioner, and a passionate politician. He was, above all, a man of faith. Even in this moment of grief, we know he is in a better place.”
Nda-Isaiah was a pharmacist, but he made his mark as a newspaperman, with three dailies, including the flagship and Nigeria’s most influential newspaper, 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 for presidential ticket in 2014.
Nda-Isaiah, a bridge-builder and champion of Big Ideas, a number of which he vigorously canvassed, also held the traditional title of Kakaki Nupe, the spokesperson of the Nupe people.
He was a promoter of Nigeria’s unity and an outstanding student of history and global politics.
His last major outing was on Thursday, December 10, when he inaugurated the Board of Economists of NATIONAL ECONOMY Media Limited, a subsidiary of the LEADERSHIP Group.
Nda-Isaiah was born in Minna, capital of Niger State on May 1, 1962. He attended the UNA Elementary School before switching over to the Christ Church School, Kaduna in 1968 to complete his primary school education.
He attended the Federal Government College, Kaduna, from 1974 to 1979. He later studied Pharmacy at the Obafemi Awolowo University and did his National Youth Service Corps programme at the Ekiti State General Hospital in 1984.
Nda-Isaiah, fondly called “Sam”, is an alumnus of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.
Nda-Isaiah began his working career as a pharmacist at the Kano Specialist Hospital before he moved to the General Hospital, Minna. He worked at Pfizer Products Limited from 1985 to 1989.
A passionate newspaperman and pundit, his column, “Last Word” with a footnote, “Earshot”, was a must read. He started the column as special writer and editorial board member of Daily Trust, before he founded LEADERSHIP with proceeds from the launch of a collection of some of his finest articles in 2001. Before LEADERSHIP became a full-fledged newspaper, Nda-Isaiah started with, LEADERSHIP CONFIDENTIAL, a newsletter that was of tremendous value and insights, especially among diplomats, top politicians and business owners.
Sam demonstrated exceptional courage through his write-ups, a quality that popularised the newspaper and often put him at odds with government, especially under former Presidents Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Olusegun Obasanjo.
As a result of his contributions to the media industry, Nda-Isaiah was called to serve as a committee member in the Kano State government to revive The Triumph Newspapers owned by the state government. In 2003, he was in charge of President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential campaign publicity.
He was a member of the Asian think-tank, the Global Institute for Tomorrow in Hong Kong. In 2019 he was appointed board member of the Baze University, Abuja.
In 2015, Nda-Isaiah ran for the country’s presidency, contesting in the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), with the campaign slogan, Big Ideas. He however lost in the keenly contested primaries.
He held the title of Kakaki Nupe conferred on him by the current Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar. He was also conferred with a chieftaincy title, Aare Baaroyin of Akure Kingdom, by Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, Odundun.
A very hard-working personality in all he sought to do, he was fully committed to ideals which he believed in. He was a great patriot who believed in the unity of Nigeria.
He Was A Friend, Ally – PMB
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock and sadness at the death of chairman of LEADERSHIP Group, Sam Nda-Isaiah, a man he describes as “a friend and ally”, a statement issued last night by special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, noted.
Adesina said the president condoled with the media fraternity, the Nda-Isaiah family, friends and associates of the deceased.
“The country has lost a man of conviction, a resolute and dogged believer in a better Nigeria,” the statement quoted Buhari as saying.
“He will be sorely missed. This is a massive fish gone out of the media ocean,” the presidential spokesman further quoted the president as saying “of the pharmacist, renowned columnist, and one time presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
It would be recalled he came into Lagos on Monday amid the heavy traffic logjam between Mainland and Island.
He was with them at NPAN AGM. By Thursday he returned to Abuja and surprisingly attended National Economy Board of Economists inauguration which no one knew would be his last official outing.
In recent weeks he had tried to stabilise his health. A great man he was. If only the crazy Lagos traffic didn’t affect him, he might still be alive today. May the soul of Sam Nda-Isaiah, the Kakaaki Nupe, rest in the bossom of our Lord Jesus Christ.