By Eric Teniola
At that time Mallam Maina Abdullahi Wada (66) from Katsina State kept on appealing to us.Sworn-in on that day as Minsters were Domkat Bali (Defence), Bukar Shuaib (Agriculture), Mahmud Tukur (Trade), A. Abdullahi (Communications), Yarima Ibrahim (Education), Onaolapo Soleye (Finance), Mamman Jiya Vatsa (Abuja), Emmanuel Nsan (Health), Mohammed Magoro (Internal Affairs), Ibrahim Gambari (Foreign Affairs), Samson Omeruah (Information), Abdullahi Ibrahim (Transportation), Tam David-West (Energy), Chike Offodile (Justice) and Patrick Koshoni (Works).
In 1985, the military careers of General Muhammadu and General Magoro ended. They both went different ways. One was detained at Alagbaka Area in Akure before being transferred to Benin. The other went underground. In 1999, they both joined politics. General Buhari joined ANPP, CPC and later the APC before becoming President in 2015. General Magoro on the other hand joined PDP and became a senator in 2011 succeeding another military man, General Abubakar Tanko Ayuba for the Kebbi South Senatorial seat on April 9, 2011.
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The reunion on October 9 must have had serious emotional impact on both men because they were celebrating 57 years of friendship.
I am wondering why General Domkat Yah Bali (79),the Ponzhi Tarok, that fine officer from Langtang in Plateau State, was not at the reunion. He served in the military between 1961 and 1990 and it’s been long since we have heard from him. What about Dr. Mahmoud Tukur, the first Vice Chancellor of Bayero University in Kano. I knew him in 1976 when he was a member of the Constitution Drafting Committee. He was a member of the sub-committee on Citizenship, Citizenship Rights, Fundamental Rights, Political Parties and Electoral System. The sub-committee was headed by the late Alhaji Aminu Kano. It’s been long we have heard from him. What about Professor Tamunoemi Sokari David-West (83) from Buguma, Kalabariin Rivers State. He even wrote a book titled The Sixteen Sins of General Muhammadu Buhari. It’s been long we have heard from him. What about Admiral Patrick Sebo Koshoni (76) from Popo Aguda (Brazilian quarters),Kakawa, Bamgbose in Lagos Island, who eventually retired as Chief of Naval Staff. A fine gentleman officer and a staunch Catholic. During his tenure as health minister, he tried to kick-start a national insurance scheme; the scheme involved medical treatment without down payment. It’s been long we have heard from him. What about Dr. Olusegun Onaolapo Soleye, who was promoted as Ogun State Commissioner of Finance to be the Minister of Finance in 1984. Dr. Soleye’s major policy actions during his tenure as Minister of Finance include policies preventing drastic devaluation of the Naira; refinancing of trade debt arrears insured by international organisations; supporting the rationalisation and restrictions of imports, stopping the trend of budget deficit financing and creation of new naira notes to stop currency smuggling,etc. It’s been long we have heard from him.
Now that President Buhari has invited his Minsters who served between 1984 and 1985 for a reunion, he should also extend the same invitation to members of the defunct Supreme Military Council and his former Military Governors still alive who served under him during the period for a reunion too.
Reunion after long separation is even better than one’s wedding night. Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future. A reunion is expected to rekindle the past, access the present and proffer solution to the future. To me, a reunion should not only be about the past. I hope General Magoro and his colleagues must have informed President Buhari of the plight of Nigerians at the moment. There is so much disillusionment in the land. That is to put it mildly.