Joda was influential in the government of the Northern region and then in the federal civil service of Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s military government from 1967 to 1975. He was known for his ability to speak the truth to power.
He was the chairman of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo’s transition team when as a military ruler he handed over power to former President Shehu Shagari in 1979.
36 years later, President Muhammadu Buhari would appoint him to head his transition team after winning the 2015 presidential election.
Before then, he served as a member of the 1988 Constituent Assembly which planned the constitutional transition of the short-lived Third Republic.
Joda was born in Yola, Adamawa State, in 1930. His great-great-grandfather, Modibbo Raji, was a 19th-century Islamic scholar who shaped his upbringing first as a youngster and later as an astute administrator.
He started as an agricultural officer at Moor Plantation in Ibadan, Oyo State after graduating from Barewa College in Zaria, Kaduna State. He later ventured into journalism after joining the Gaskiya Corporation in Zaria.
Upon his return to Nigeria from Britain, Joda joined the then Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) as a correspondent from 1956 to 1960.
He left NBS to work in the Northern regional government as a Chief Information Officer and later as Permanent Secretary from 1962 to 1967. Joda was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministries of Information, Education, and then Industries after the Nigerian civil war.
He held several board appointments chief among was that of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigerian Communications Commission, and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited.
Joda was the founding father of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, a private sector-led, non-partisan organisation driving the country’s policy direction on the economy since 1994.
Joda is the recipient of the Order of the Federal Republic (1965), Commander of the Order of the Niger (1979), and Commander of the Federal Republic (2002).
He died in Yola on August 13, 2021.