Professionals in the social development sector in Nigeria have paid touching tributes to late Felix Obanubi and Emeka Nsofor.
Felix, who died on 29 June, 2021, was the Executive Director of Development Animation Programmes (DAP), while Emeka, who passed away on 30 July, 2021, established Human Support Services (HSS) Nigeria.
Development experts say both men were principled, professional and brought civil society technical skills into governance.
Felix, who was 62 years old at the time of his death, was a parliamentary specialist with career portfolio in building the capacity of development professionals.
Development Diaries understands that Felix expanded the Lagos State civil society partnership with different ministries, departments and agencies of the state government.
He supported budget work in the Lagos State House of Assembly and deepened civil society participation in oversight, according to a professional colleague, Dede Kadiri.
‘He created inroads to Lagos State House of Assembly for NGOs. Anytime I had to go to the House of Assembly and encountered any challenge I would just say I am here with Felix and the gates will just open’, Kadiri said.
Felix had a master’s degree in Adult Education, Literacy and Community-based Development from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
He was a consultant for the British Council’s Agents for Citizen Driven Transformation (ACT) programme in Kano State.
‘That was a very painful and a big loss. If only we would listen to our leaders more and treasure them when alive’, Kadiri mourned.
As for Emeka, who was 50 years old at the time of his death, he was a budgeting, costing and strategy consultant.
He worked extensively with the Lagos State government and its Ministry of Health on medium term strategies.
‘He knew how to work with different category of people from different cultural backgrounds in Nigeria’, Kadiri continued.
‘He was an Igbo man but he worked so well with Lagos State House of Assembly and Ministry of Health. He had that flexibility to walk the corridors’.
Temidayo Adesanya, from the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, said Emeka was fondly called the ‘Vice Chancellor of the University of Costing for the Health sector’.
‘What I love most about him is his calmness, gentility, humility, readiness and willingness to explain and explain until he is sure you have really and practically understood the subject. Everyone loves him’, he said in his tribute on Forever Missed.
The Director of the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research, Bayero University, Kano State, Professor Isa Abubakar, said Emeka’s death was a huge loss to the entire Africa.
‘While our hearts bleed over his demise, we celebrate his achievement as one who built our capacity in the use of the “One health budgeting tool” ‘, also wrote.
‘His kindness, dedication, commitment, altruism and foresight still impress me and I will never forget such good qualities’.
Former students of the Federal Government Academy (FGA), Suleja, where Emeka carried out his National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) programme, also penned tributes to him.
‘He was the chemistry teacher, basketball coach, Sunday school teacher, a big brother, friend, and mentor’, a member of the FGA class of 1998, Dr Ekene Isikaku, wrote.
‘You were always cheerful and loved music too – your fanny pack and Walkman keeping you company at all times’!
Emeka, who created a tool for the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in 2017, also consulted for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
He was a member of CRAK, a Nigerian citizen organisation dedicated to protecting and advocating the rights of children.