By Marie-Therese Nanlong, with agency report
Family members of the late Col. Bukar Suka Dimka and Mr. Joseph Gomwalk who were implicated and executed for their alleged roles in the abortive coup of February 13, 1976 would want the period to pass off possibly without reference to them.
The 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup is even more troubling for the Dimkas given recent calamities that befell the extended family. Remarkably, a leading member of the family who preferred to speak on the condition of anonymity expressed unhappiness for being reminded of the incident.
“Why remind us of the tragedy 40 years after it occurred? We are trying to forget the past and move on but you are trying to add to our grief. “Anyone who is 40 years now should be looking forward not backward.
“The unfortunate incident happened, the children have grown up and are trying to forget and it is not fair for us to be reminded of such a sad incident 40 years after. “We have moved on, people should understand that and let us be. No one wants to dwell on sad issues all the time.”
However, a son of the late Gomwalk, Dunka Gomwalk, a Jos based pastor like many of his fellow citizens from Plateau State continues to plead his father’s innocence. “I honestly believe my dad never did something like that. He loved humanity as expressed in his work, he couldn’t have done such a horrible thing.
“As far as leadership is concerned, I’m proud of him. Though he was not a perfect man as no one is but he tried setting good examples for others to follow as seen when he led the Benue-Plateau State.
“Though I was a very young person at that time but I find it difficult to believe that my dad took part in killing anybody, he did his best for the country and the testimonies abound in the areas where he governed,” he told Vanguard in an interview.
Pastor Gomwalk’s plea is also echoed by several groups on the plateau including the National Association of Ngas Students, NANGS which has yearly held memorial events to press the demand.
Ann Suwa, NANGS President, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Pankshin, Plateau last year, urged the Federal Government to consider state pardon for the late military governor. “When you look at his legacies, you could see a great man worthy of honour, praises and emulation,” Suwa said. “And to come to know that for all these years, the government has not granted him national pardon, it’s very unfair and saddening.”