By Dapo Akinrefon, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Marie-Therese Nanlong
The former Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, during the Government of late General Sani Abacha, Lt-Gen. Joshua Nimyel Dogonyaro has passed on. He was aged 80.
Dogonyaro’ first son, Joseph who confirmed the demise of the former Defence chief, said “Daddy has been sick for some time until yesterday (Wednesday) when he had a stroke and we rushed him to the Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH, for medical attention. Unfortunately, early this morning (yesterday), around 3.00am precisely, he breathed his last.
“His death comes as a rude shock to us as a family. We are going to miss his love and warmth as a grandfather, father, brother, uncle and supporter.”
Joseph said that the family is trying to cope with the shock death of General Dogonyaro, who was a former ECOMOG commander, and would discuss the funeral arrangements soon.
He described his father as “a General who was so faithful and loyal to the nation, Nigeria. He was a general who had no biased mind as a detribalised Nigerian. He served this nation faithfully and identified with all Nigerians and Africa as a continent. We and Nigerians are going to miss him, having served humanity in this country and Africa as a whole.”
According to him, the corpse of the general had since been deposited at the JUTH mortuary.
Late Lt. Gen. Dogonyaro, a soldier and an administrator, was born on September 12, 1940 in Vom, Plateau State, though a native of Taroh in Langtang North Local Government Area.
Dogonyaro had his early education at Boys’ Secondary School, Gindiri, and thereafter was enlisted in the Nigerian Army, NA, 1964.
He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps, 1967 and promoted Lt. General in 1988, before his retirement in 1993.
A thoroughbred soldier — Buhari
Reacting, President Muhammadu Buhari, described Dogonyaro as a thoroughbred soldier who professionally distinguished himself in the course of his military career, saying his death was “a great loss not only to the Nigerian military, but also to the country because of his patriotic sacrifices in defence of its unity and territorial integrity.”
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, the President said:
“The death of Dogonyaro comes as a great shock to me because as a soldier, I know what it means to lose such an officer and a gentleman who gave his best in the service of the country.
“As a thoroughbred soldier who had professionally distinguished himself in the course of his military career, the President notes that “laying down one’s life for the country is one of the greatest sacrifices any citizen can make to his country. General Dogonyaro’s incalculable contributions will be remembered for years to come.”
President Buhari extended deepest condolences to the Government and people of Plateau State on the passing of “this legendary general.”
Plateau lost a patriot — Lalong
On his part, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, among others, said “Plateau State and the nation has lost a patriotic and loyal Nigerian who served with courage, dignity and selflessness. Plateau State has lost an elder statesman whose outstanding achievements in his military career brought a lot of pride and honour for the State. The commitment of the deceased towards the defence of Nigeria’s territorial integrity as well as ensuring its peace and unity stood him out as a soldier of repute whose professionalism continues to inspire many younger ones.”
Also, the Senator representing Plateau South in the National Assembly, Nora Dadu’ut, who is representing the deceased zone added, “Nigeria has lost a statesman. With the death of General Dogonyaro the Nigerian army has lost a General; the nation has lost a statesman. The late elder statesman recorded outstanding achievements in the Military.”
Wuyep, Jang, Useni
Similarly, former Chief of Air Staff, CAS, Air Marshal Jonah Wuyep (retd), former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Senator Jeremiah Useni lamented his death
Wuyep, a Tarok by tribe just like deceased noted that General Dogonyaro, a former ECOMOG Commander served not just the country but the West African sub-region meritoriously while Jang, a former Military officer added that the deceased was a father and mentor to all military officers from his Plateau State and beyond.
Also, Useni, a member of the erstwhile ‘Tarok Mafia stated he was a courageous officer who made success of every operation he commanded, adding General Dogonyaro was “A rare, daring, intensely loyal and courageous officer who made success of every operation he commanded.”
He was a first class combatant — Bode George
On his part, former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George, in a statement, among others, said “The passage of General Joshua Dongoyaro, a first class combatant, a warrior standing ramrod, towering over six feet tall, bristling with bravery and valour has indeed robbed this nation of a patriot, a soldier and an administrator.
“I met him when I served as the Governor of the old Ondo State where I benefited greatly from his guidance and well-hewn experience as he commanded the Second Mechanized Division based in Ibadan. Though he looked tough, intimidating in height, he could be humble and stern; he was disciplined and yet accommodating.”