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Editor's note: In this article, an Abuja-based social commentator, Bernard Balogun (BenPino), writes about how a communication teacher, Tom Adaba, who has nurtured some prominent Nigerian, turned 79 on earth.
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In Dr Tom Adaba's personal memoir titled "...BUT FOR GOD...," John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, the emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, wrote the foreword to the book and said this about Tom, as he fondly calls him: "He has achieved significant success in his chosen profession in the communication field. In his family life, he is clearly a role model for many, especially for the younger couples facing chaos and disorder in an important area of human life...talk of any secret for his successful life,..it is all by the grace of God...at every moment of his life..."
Talking about Dr. Adaba's life, not just as a communication teacher, but also as a teacher in Kano, his students have pleasant memories of him as a disciplinarian to the core. These reputable Nigerians, who were at one time or the other his students will attest to his discipline.
Some notable personalities, such as Sunny Irabor of IraborLive on Teevee; Bisi Olatilo, the founder of the popular BisCom; Cyril Stober of the NTA national headquarters; Prof. Nuhu Yaqub of Nile University, Abuja and Prof. Mrs Angela Okatahi, who recently retired from UniAbuja, have good accounts of him.
I cannot forget the ordinary president, Dr. Ahmad Isah, founder/CEO of human rights TV/radio and anchorperson of the popular BREKETE family programme worldwide, who oftentimes, proudly too, referred to Dr Tom Adaba as his mentor, aka "...BUT FOR GOD..."
The communication teacher and broadcaster, Tom Adaba, turns 79. Credit: Bernard Balogun.
On this occasion of his 79 years anniversary, l like to bring to the fore one salient another side of the celebrant, which is largely unknown to the public. In spite of his strictness in the office and in the classroom, Dr. Tom Adaba is a humorous, very lively person. As a guide, let us return to the book "...BUT FOR GOD...".
Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese said: "... I have since come to know Tom pretty well and l think l am a bit of authority now...Tom is a man who has just refused to be ashamed of himself....despite being a Bishop, he (Tom) believes that l am not ashamed of myself too..."
Still quoting from his personal memoir, Dan Agbese, frontline senior journalist and one-time executive director at NewsWatch magazine had this to say about Tom "...l found him to be extremely warm as a person and as a friend. We were all young men in our early or mid-thirties...we did not quite paint Jos red but we have it splashed of unforgettable colors.
"Tom is a fun guy who likes to crack jokes but takes care not to do so at the expense of others...Tom and l have always enjoyed each other's company since we first met in Jos. We greet each other with good-natured aggressive insults.
"I saw him at the Abuja airport not long after he earned his doctorate and said to him...you call yourself a doctor? All right spell Panadol make l hear. He (Dr. Adaba) replied...you are stupid. Don't disgrace yourself. As usual, we had a hearty laugh. And those around us seeing we were joking, joined us...
"I like to end this narrative on Dr. Adaba, the ace Broadcaster at 79, with the impression of his unassuming daughter, Mrs. Margaret Soyemi, the eldest child of Dr. Tom Adaba, herself a communication expert at UNICEF.
"I have the pleasure to pick just one out of the several other things Maggie had to say about her dad (again courtesy BUT FOR GOD...) "...l recall a time when things were so difficult for both my father and mother....mother started using firewood to cook... December was approaching and my father called a family meeting of just us the children, our mother and himself.
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"He said he just got little money that would have been enough for our new clothes for Christmas but he was also considering buying a gas cooker because he did not like my mother using firewood, especially during the cold and dry harmattan season.
"He left it open to us, the children to decide...saying he would stand by whatever we decided ...."). Wow!!! What would you call this? Home-grown democracy, abi? What did the children decide? Were the children selfish or they advised their dad to buy the gas cooker for mom? Find out. Get one or two copies of the book titled - "...But For God...".
At this juncture, it is a honour for me, a rare privilege indeed, to join your numerous admirers, including your students who are now, not only high net-worth individuals in the broadcast industry but also in other fields of endeavour and your worthy family both at home and abroad to celebrate you, Dr. Aaze Thomas Adaba, OON, KSM on this auspicious occasion of your 79years birthday anniversary. Happy birthday sir.
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