By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos
Eminent Nigerians including President Muhammadu Buhari, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong among others have paid glowing tributes to the late former Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Lt. Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro as he is buried at his hometown, Pajat, Langtang, Plateau State.
Dogonyaro died after a brief illness on May 13, 2021 at the age of 80.
The mourners who extolled the virtues of the deceased noted his commitments to the service God and humanity, describing him as a patriotic, brave and disciplined officer who gave his all to serve Nigeria even as his exploits as ECOMOG Commander were being recalled.
President Buhari who was represented by Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) said the late General Dogonyaro was a thoroughbred officer whose antecedents in the Nigerian Army remain a reference point and motivation to younger officers, adding that Nigeria remains grateful to late General Dogonyaro for his gallantry, patriotism and diligence in service to the nation particularly during his command of ECOMOG troops in Liberia.
He described the late Dogonyaro as “a fearless and gallant soldier, a patriotic and thoroughbred soldier, who sacrificed for this nation and his many attributes will remain for many years to come, adding, “His contributions to the stability of ECOWAS region will not easily be forgotten nor his God fearing life lived after retirement from the military. These alone are enough reasons his people, the nation and international community will greatly miss such a gallant and great man, who had given his all for us in spite of all odds. As a nation, we must do all we can to honour him even in his death as he will forever be missed.”
Also, former Head of State, General Yakubu through Brig. Gen. Jon Temlong rtd affirmed the testimony of gallantry and selflessness of the late Dogonyaro whom he said showed early signs of greatness shortly after being commissioned into the Army.
Similarly, Governor Lalong said the State is not grieving over the loss but celebrating a worthy son who made Nigeria and Africa proud throughout his military career, stating, “Late General Dogonyaro left his footprints in the sands of time. The challenge before us today is to ensure that the sacrifices he and other gallant soldiers made in uniting and keeping Nigeria safe does not go in vain. We must unite to defeat the forces of evil that are threatening the security and wellbeing of Nigeria. That is the best way we can honour the memory of the late General.
“His discipline and determination in handling assignments, his patriotism and courage are lessons we can learn from the General to entrench peace and unity.”
However, Liberian President, George Weah through Francis James, an aide to Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Al-Hassan Conteh maintained that “because of his doggedness and sacrifice, he brought to an end the 1989 civil war in our nation which endeared us to honour him with Grand Commander award.”
In his message at the funeral service, Rev. Sylvester Dachomo, who took his texts from Rev:11-24, 21:7-8 and Jn 5:3 reminded about the expected end of the world and urged everyone to be prepared and shun careless living as there would be no repentance in the grave.
Vice President, Church of Christ in Nations, COCIN, Rev. Amos Mhozo further stressed the testimony of the deceased who was a committed member of the COCIN Headquarters Compound Church shows that God can use people no matter their backgrounds to achieve his purpose and propagate his word.
He said the Church will continue to pray for the government to rise up to the challenge of stopping the killing of innocent people across the nation by criminals as well as providing better infrastructure for the ease and comfort of the citizens.
The wife of the deceased, Esther spoke passionately about the faith of her husband, saying he gave his best to the nation just as he did to the service of God, saying the family is happy that he was saved and played active role in evangelism before his demise.
She thanked the federal and state governments, military, the Church and well wishers for their show of love to the family.