Former Minister of Police Affairs, Barr. Humphery Enemaku Abah has called on youth across the country to embrace the virtues of Dr James Onoja Attah whom he described as a ‘distinguished Nigerian who earned eminence by means of hard work and uncommon commitment to the wellbeing of humanity.’
‘Dr Attah belongs to the rare breed of men who would not wait to occupy political office to affect society,’ he said, adding that as a private citizen who is very passionate about using his discipline to improve human condition, Attah’s pulse has been felt.
The former minister gave the charge at a reception organised by well-wishers in honour of Dr J. O. Attah who is Director of Immunization at the European Union Support to Immunization Governance in Nigeria (EU-SIGN), when he was conferred with Fellowship of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM) recently, in Abuja.
Recalling the emergence of Attah, the former minister said: “I remember how this journey stared in the 80s and I am very glad that he has invested his time, energy and scholarship in answering the divine call. He did not just stop at trying to be a regular worker, but went the extra mile to improve himself by learning and acquainting himself with emerging discoveries in immunization.
The minister who was Special Guest at the ceremony discussed the importance of Attah’s medical discipline saying: ‘Especially in Africa where child mortality rate is high, and where the scourge of diseases has continued to ravage the continent, the importance of preventive medicine cannot be over emphasized,’ stating that the awardee has taken interest in one of the most critical aspects of human need.
‘I want to see many more doctors specialize in the field of preventive medicine, because our children are the future of our nation. If we do not protect them from diseases, we could lose them, and we would have nobody to replace us,’ he said adding that ‘if we preserve children via preventive medicine, we will be securing a robust future.’
‘Dr Attah is a very meticulous human being who is full of humour, he has enjoyed fulfillment in career and family life, and is interested in the development of society.’
The former minister of police affairs thanked the Federal Capital Territory Branch of Akpanya Welfare Association (AWA) for identifying with the awardee saying that it is good to give honour to who it is due.
‘I hail from the same community with Dr Attah and I tell you that he has contributed immensely to the development of our community.’
‘He is full of progress, and we need more sound minds like him for the development, not only of Akpanya, but of our state, country and the world,’ he said.
Abah further said ‘because Attah is generous with his intellect and ability, he attracted the attention of the Nigerian Institute of Management’ which honoured him with Fellowship of the institute.’
Addressing Dr onoja, the former minister said: ‘You are a fulfilled man, but do not rest on your oars, I beseech you to do more because there is a lot more to be achieved in the field of healthcare, adding that new discoveries are daily being churned-out in virtually every field of the medical profession.
In a related development, the National President of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Dr. Idris Omede who chaired the ceremony pitched tent with the minister when he said: ‘by means of hardwork and faith in God, Dr James Attah has added another feather to his honours.’
The APBN President who attributed Dr Attah’s recognition by the NIM to his pragmatic leadership ability said Attah’s philanthropy is also by means of his generous intellect: ‘Of course his pocket contributed to the factors that earned him the attraction for the recognition, but his brain also did the work,’ Omede said, adding that Nigerians must emulate the selfless style with which Dr. Attah practiced and championed the cause of preventive medicine.
‘His pocket did the work because he had to pay for the programs that earned him the fellowship of NIM, and he acknowledged early in life that learning is an endless task of the living.’
‘He is an uncommonly successful man who has so many things working for him, yet he decided to embrace additional learning.’
Omede congratulated Attah for the ‘courage to do the uncommon’ while he tasked youth to take a clue from Onoja’s penchant for self-improvement in the interest of improved service to humanity.
According to him, ‘Dr Attah is a public health specialist who can’t help but transverse the length and breadth of this country in pursuit of improving the health of Nigerians, but he still found time to seek more knowledge.’
While he recalled that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation, Omede noted that Attah was able to combine the rigorous task of management with medical practice.
The APBN president therefore challenged Nigerian professionals to pursue distinction in practice by embracing continuous professional development in preparation for maximum contribution to national development.
‘Politicians would not succeed unless professionals give them a helping hand,’ he said adding that professionals work as planners based on the will of politicians.
‘Professionals must therefore rise up to the task of engineering the system as a strategy to develop Nigeria and the African continent.’
Omede also confirmed the minister’s description of Attah as a successful family man when he said: ‘I know him as a committed father and husband; in fact I remember how he sometimes demonstrates devotion to his family even when he is at work in the field; he continues to relate with his family even when he is far away at work.’
Dr Omede commended Dr Attah’s wife ‘for standing with him through the rough roads that has led to glory.’
Among traditional rulers at the reception was Achadu Nuuhi who represented the Achadu Oko Attah Igala, Alh Dr Yusuf Ameadaji. He described the awardee as an illustrious son of Igala Kingdom in whom the people are blessed, stating that Dr. Attah is a long-standing source of pride to his native homeland.
‘Achadu said he is very proud of you because you have not forgotten your root and that despite your distant travels and learning, you continued to demonstrate regard for traditional institutions.’
The traditional ruler blessed the recipient saying: ‘this is not the first gathering in which you have brought honour to your native homeland of Igalaland; by the grace of God, there are a lot more glorious days ahead for you.’
Prof Sunday Atawodi of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria who has known Dr Attah since secondary school days said: ‘We were together at Ochaja Secondary School and we finished together in 1978; I tell you that Dr Attah is one of the most diligent and God-fearing personalities I have known.’
The professor who described the recipient as ‘a man who stands out in terms of compassion for others’ added, ‘I think that is part of the reasons that endeared him to study medicine, and later decided to specialize in care of children.’
‘From the career choices he made, you will discover that he is full of passion and love even for those who may not be able to help him. So the career choices he made are reflections of his passion.’
In his response, Dr. Atta thanked his well-wishers and attributed his success to God.