“All my 400 children in the school will not understand but tie their shoes lace and gently rub their hairs. Tell them Papa Joshua has been called up.” These were the closing words of Henry Ayanfe, a follower of the late Joshua Adah, in an emotional tribute.
In this rat race called life, very few people break out of the race and dare to be different; they dare to live their lives for others rather than themselves; they dare pay any price to see humanity attain its prize. Reverend Joshua Adah was one of those breakouts who lived their lives to better humanity.
Adah graduated from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. Prior graduation, he was reported to have been in a cult, before becoming born again in his final year. He had extra year in school and then began to preach in the same campus where he was a cultist.
Upon graduation, he was posted to Taraba state in 2002 for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. He served as the drama director of Nigeria Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF), where he met his wife.
While in Taraba, Adah saw the challenges children in that region of the country and decided to stay behind after his service year to help them live a better life.
Damilola Abraham, a corps member in Taraba state as at 2006/2007 who encountered and worked with the revered Reverend, spoke with TheCable on the inspiring life of Adah.
“He started a mission school free of charge and in a short time had about 400 pupils from many villages around where he was staying,” he said.
“Many of these pupils are boarders so he had to feed them, clothe them, housed them and at the same time disciple them.”
Abraham, who re-visited Adah in 2009, said the missionary had to engage in farming in order to cater to the needs of the children. He would later leave Jalingo city to such villages as Kona, Murkuni among others, just to be closer to the vulnerable.
“He had to engage in farming so as to be able to care for them. He had Christian corps members helping out in the school,” Abraham said.
“I visited him in the village in 2009 and did not recover from that experience.”
Despite his sacrificial life for the people of the north, he was also killed by the north in a rather mysterious way.
Many who paid him tribute said he was killed by Fulani herdsmen who are now known for their violent acts in northern Nigeria, while others said he was killed by the Boko Haram sect.
Dapo Azeez, Adah’s associate pastor, also spoke with TheCable.
“He was travelling; he was actually coming to Jalingo from Kogi state, along the road, the fan belt of his car cut and he got to a mechanic to fix it,” Azeez said.
“As he proceeded, at a further distance, his car engine knocked. He couldn’t move on, so he called his mechanic from Jalingo to come and meet him at that point.
“The mechanic came; he gave the mechanic money to go get a towing vehicle. When the mechanic came back with the towing vehicle, he was not found at the spot where he left him, so the mechanic towed the vehicle away from the place and came back to look for him.
“When he was not found at the expected scene, the mechanic reached out to the police, who could not save Adah but managed to find his corpse. The mechanic launched a report at the nearest police station, and a police patrol team combed the area, eventually finding his corpse inside a bush.”
Adah’s death has raised questions on the fate of his “children”, the 307 orphans and vulnerable children whose future he lived for. But the associate party has expressed determination to continue with his legacy.
“We are a faith-based ministry and we believe in God’s help and support for the children. We trust God to help us raise a kind of endowment fund for the children, the ministry and the family of the deceased so they can continue their lives,” it said.
“The children and the staff are still there. I am a full time missionary and I have been there for close to six years now. We hope to continue by God’s Grace, making sure that the vision does not die.”
Friends and family of the deceased and those who heard of his works in his death continue showering encomiums on him, paying their last respects.
Adah died on January 24, less than two weeks after his 40th birthday.
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