Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so – Holy Sonnets
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, signposts the committal of the remains of a woman of honour, late Mrs. Janada Joe Kyari Gadzama to earth in Lassa, Askira-Uba Local Government Area of Borno State. It is indeed a solemn and painful moment for her family and associates grieving over the sudden departure of the rare gem.
When the cold hands of death reached for the God-fearing wife of our big friend, Chief Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN), on Monday, April 7, 2014, the news was shocking and devastating to those of us who knew Janada or her husband. As a towering legal practitioner, Gadzama was associated to many notable citizens including my boss, FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed. I was really distraught upon hearing the sad news. It is really perplexing why this sterling stuff of a woman should pass away suddenly in her prime, but our God is all knowing. And death, everyone knows, is that eternal price which all mortals must pay.
For Janada Gadzama, the consolation is that she died a true believer and is therefore heaven bound. Death in this case has lost its bite. 1 Corinthians 15: 55 says, “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” Until she passed on at 42, Janada Gadzama was a Principal Manager at National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Her flexibility, interest in dispute resolution and quest for more knowledge led her to attend several seminars and workshops within and outside Nigeria.
Janada Gadzama was born at the Nursing Home Hospital in Maiduguri, Borno state capital, on July 16, 1971 to the family of Senator and Mrs. Bitrus B. Kajal. She was the second of six children. She started her early education in 1971 in Brussels, Belgium and later the International School in New York, United States in 1976. She returned to Nigeria in 1979 and attended Shehu Garba Primary School in Maiduguri, Borno state and Central Primary School, Gulak, Adamawa state.
After obtaining her Primary School Leaving Certificate, Janada proceeded to Government Girls’ Secondary School, Maiduguri in 1982 and enrolled at the Federal Government Girls’ College, Yola in 1983 where she obtained her Senior Secondary School Leaving Certificate in 1988.
The same year, she gained admission into the University of Maiduguri, enrolling in the University’s Remedial Science Programme. Upon completion of the Programme in 1989, she gained admission into the University’s Biochemistry Department from where she graduated in May, 1994 with a Bachelor of Science Degree (BSc) in Biochemistry. While still a student of the University of Maiduguri, she met her husband, Joe Kyari Gadzama, culminating in their marriage on April 27, 1991.
Following her graduation, Janada Gadzama was initially posted to Jos, Plateau state for her National Youth Service but was later redeployed to UBA, Baga Road Branch, Maiduguri. On concluding NYSC, she returned to University of Maiduguri a few years later and obtained a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) between 1997 and 1999.
Janada’s marriage to Gadzama was blessed with six children (four boys and two girls). The eldest child, Madu, is a Bar Part II student of the Nigerian Law School. The others are Yahaya, Lamar, Bitrus, Mariam and Jemima. Janada left behind good children, the best form of love, care and training expected of an outstanding mother. Beyond that, she would be fondly remembered as a supportive wife who stood by her husband through thick and thin and spurred him on to greater heights in life, especially his career – Law.
Janada was a warm natured woman who adored nature and a fantastic hostess. Her hobbies included housekeeping, cooking, reading, interior decoration, event planning, and organisation. She was a member of several professional bodies such as Institute for Health Insurance and Managed Care of Nigeria; Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (UK); Sisters Fellowship (EYN Utako); Marghi Women Association (Abuja Branch) and Alumni, Federal Government Girls College Yola (Abuja Branch). She was Patron, Boys and Girls Brigade (EYN Utako Command) and an accomplished marriage counsellor.
Really, the passage of the rare Amazon, Janada Gadzama, who devoted great energy to caring for others, especially the less privileged, is a peculiar kind of agony. Through Janada’s worthy legacies the philosophers are right, who proclaimed that death can be life, a higher life, a regeneration of self, in the same way that the flower is pruned to groom greener foliage. We must all have the strong conviction in life-after-death and the possibility of Janada continuing to serve in paradise even after her transition.
In all, Janada Gadzama died to live. She taught us through her exemplary life to subordinate our numerous personal interests to the collective good of family and the needy. She renewed our hopes and left a legacy of piety, service and honour. No doubt, even after her interment, the loved ones she left behind including her husband and children will continue to remember her for the rest of their lives. Adieu Janada Joe Gadzama, the epitome of authentic motherhood.
Nosike Ogbuenyi, Special Assistant (Media) to FCT Minister, wrote from No. 1, Kapital Street, Area 11, Garki, Abuja