#PENtagon: When will Jonathan condole Shuwa family? – By Jaafar Jaafar @jafsmohd

Published:7 Nov, 2012

#PENtagon: When will Jonathan condole Shuwa family? – By Jaafar Jaafar

I did not see the death of General Mamman Shuwa coming in this brutal way but I saw the federal government’s levity in handling heroism coming. One always wonders what have heroes and heroines done to Nigeria that their effort is washed into the sewer of history?

 

Drawing analogy with how late Col. Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu was honoured with state burial and full military honours to boot, I predicted in one of my recent articles, Season of Dichotomies, that the surviving civil war heroes who fought for the nation’s unity would hardly get the same or a semblance of Ojukwu’s honour.

 

“When Ojukwu was honoured with a state burial,” I wrote in the piece, “another novel instance of dichotomy appeared in our polity. With sense of disappointment, I then thought of Generals Mamman Shuwa, Benjamin Adekunle (the Black Scorpion), Muhammadu Magoro, Col Sani Bello and many surviving military personnel who fought against Ojukwu in order to keep Nigeria one. Will the FG organise state burial in their honour?” Predictably, FG did nothing in honour of Shuwa.

 

In past few days, I rummaged through newspapers and online news platforms with a view to seeing President Jonathan extending condolence message to the family of General Mamman Shuwa, the slain civil war veteran who fought for the unity of Nigeria. I didn’t see anything like that.

 

Somewhere in the late 80s, when the nation honoured some of its citizens for their contributions to nation building, one of the names missing in the list was Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna, who was not only the first Nigerian but the first African sportsman to clinch the first gold medal in a major global sport event, the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada in 1956. Despite the fact that he was seen as a felon, the military regime of IBB was criticized for excluding the name of Ifeajuna. The government later apologized and said that it was an act of “oversight”.

 

Whether it was an act of oversight or PR gaffe by the President Jonathan handlers, what is apparent is that the action was a deliberate attempt to take heroism to cleaners. The presidency can go ballistic on trivial issues but lose voice when the voice is direly needed. When National Assembly or an elder statesman criticize the government, they go gaga, dishing out all manner of statements.

 

Penultimate week, Sheila, the wife of the late iconic educationist died, and the presidency released a glowing tribute. In what can pass as an epitaph, Jonathan said the nation would miss Sheila’s “unparallel commitment, discipline, expertise, prowess and astuteness”. Perhaps General Shuwa’s ‘lacking’ in similar qualities is what informed the refusal to send condolence message to his family. Nigeria is always a funny country, always full of oddities.

 

Of course I don’t have problem with describing Sheila Solarin in glowing terms – she was educationist and had rendered contribution to the development of education in the country. My grouse about the issue is the president’s inability to condole the family of the late general. Even if he died in his sleep, the general deserves a tribute from the president – let alone when the cause of his death was this pathetic.

 

I tried several times to figure out what is under the president’s hat that he forgets things easily. Jonathan’s tragic miscues always tell us the man we have as a leader. He has cheapened the position of a president such that even a busker can boast of taking up the challenge.

 

During his visit to Jigawa Monday, the president described Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State as “Dr Sule Lamido, the Adamawa State governor.” Anyway, his publicists may argue that even a onetime most powerful man in the world, former US president George W. Bush once mistakenly said at a welcoming ceremony that Queen Elizabeth first visited America in 1776. Good. Even Jonathan’s subsequent gaffes while addressing the pupils of a model school in Governor Lamido’s village, Bamaina, can be likened to Bush’s famous faux pas: “Is our children (sic) learning?” And went on to give a terrible answer: “Childrens (sic) do learn.” You see, Jonathan is not alone, the spin doctors would argue.

 

Sometimes even clowns like Femi Fani-Kayode strip the comic gear and talk sensibly. In his tribute to the slain general, Fani-Kayode was at best eloquent. “General Mohammadu Mamman Shuwa was not only an absolute gentleman but he was also perhaps the most respected, effective, disciplined, restrained and successful battle commander in the Nigerian Army during the civil war. He was in command of the 1st Division of the Nigerian army and it was the 1st Division that managed to defeat the Biafran Army and enter the east from the northern front.

 

“Unlike many other commanders on both sides of the war, Shuwa was known for his immense compassion for the civilian population quite apart from his extraordinary courage and fighting skills. It is a matter of historical record that, unlike with other commanders, no massacres of civilians were carried out under him or by his 1st Division throughout the entire course of the war,” said the talkative politician.

 

But one wonders why the president is short of words whenever his words are needed for healing. Only a day to the president’s recent broadcast, an estimated 30 civilians were massacred in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and spiritual hub of violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram. A week before the broadcast, the ivory tower had its wave of bloodshed when 25 students of Federal Polytechnic, Mubi were gunned down. The bloodletting streamed down to Aluu, the surrounding community of University of Port Harcourt where four students were extra-judicially killed and cremated. The president did not consider these worthy of mention in the broadcast, which centers mainly on flood. The comical side of it all is that in wake of mounting public outcry, Jonathan smuggled in the condolence on Mubi and Aluu tragedies into his budget speech.

 

The president should have availed himself of the opportunity of Jigawa visit to fly a few miles to Yobe or Borno State in order to either condole Shuwa family or see for himself the enormity of destruction caused by Boko Haram. Like former Japanese Justice Minister Minoru Yanagida, who said his job was “easy and he didn’t know why he had it,” Nigeria’s presidency is cheapened by a president who doesn’t know why he is there.

 

If the president would approve a state burial with full military honours in honour of someone who fought against the unity of Nigeria, attend his burial and appoint his widow an ambassador, that same president is expected to at least send a condolence message to the family of someone who fought to keep Nigeria one.

 

 

Jaafar Jaafar (jafsmohd@yahoo.com

Follow @jafsmohd on twitter

  • To keep Nigeria One!

    We live at odd times

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Abdulmumin Jibrin Warns Against Politicisation of Buhari’s Anti-Corruption War

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin has urged members of the National Assembly to support President Buhari’s anti-corruption war.   The Lawmaker’s reaction in a series of tweets Thursday through his verified twitter handle @AbdulAbmJ? comes shortly after opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the national assembly withdrew their support for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

EFCC Traces Three Mansions To Fayose’s Associate

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) has traced three posh houses to an associate of Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose. The houses, one in Abuja and two in Lagos, are believed to have been bought with part of the N1.219billion pumped into the 2014 governorship election.  The cash believed to be from the office of the National security Adviser (NSA). Fayose has denied having any dealing with the office while Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) was...

Reps Ask EFCC, ICPC To Probe Bala, Others Over Land Swap

The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, to examine the likely abuse of financial regulations in the land swap policy he introduced while in office. Also to be probed alongside Bala are the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr Adamu Ismaila and the coordinator, Abuja Infrastructure Investment...

Aisha Buhari Gives Fayose 5 Days To Apologize Or Go To Court

Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari has described the statement by Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose which fingered her as an accomplice in the famous Halliburton bribery scandal that landed former U.S. lawmaker, Williams Jefferson in jail as “very wild and unfounded.” She threatened to drag Fayose to court if the statement was not retracted within five working days. The letter emanated from the chamber of Mary Ekpere and Co. The letter signed by Ismaila Alasa and Mary Ekpere...

EFCC Arraigns Senior Air Force Officer For Allegedly Receiving N40 Million, Landrover Bribe

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned, AVM Rufus Ojuawo, in an FCT High Court, Apo, for collecting N40 million gift and a Range Rover sports car from Hima Abubakar. Mr. Ojuawo, a former Director of Operations, Nigerian Air Force, was arraigned before Justice Mahawiya Idris on a two-count charge. The charge says Mr. Ojuawo while in office in March, 2015, accepted a gift in the aggregate sum of N40 million from...

Fresh Militants’ Attack In Ikorodu Communities

Gunmen suspected to be militants were said to have invaded Igbolomu and Ishawo areas in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State. According to eyewitnesses who escaped from one of the invaded areas, said the gunmen from the Niger Delta came through water channel since yesterday and started shooting sporadically. Credit: Vanguard

Police Confirm Attack On Shell Facility In Imo

The police have confirmed an attack on a facility belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Awarra, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo. Andrew Enwerem, the police public relations officer in the state, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Owerri that the police received report of the attack in the early hours of Thursday. Mr. Enwerem could not disclose the extent of damage done to the facility or the group that carried...

I’m Being Prosecuted For Old Grievances- Dasuki

Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has told a federal high court in Abuja that he is being punished by some persons at the highest level of power in the country for perceived grievances they had held against him while in active military service many years ago. Dasuki, who did not name any particular person, said the punishment being meted out to him was unfortunate having being borne out of mere vendetta.

Government May Borrow N165b To Pay Civil Servants

With fast declining revenue, the Federal Government said yesterday it is now faced with the prospect of borrowing to meet the monthly civil service wage bill of N165 billion. Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who had met with protesting workers of her ministry on Wednesday, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that she does not have any power to pay N1.2 billion, which was not in the budget of the Ministry. The minister said...

Nigerians In UK, Europe Express Disappointment With Referendum Result

A cross section of Nigerians in Europe on Friday expressed disappointment over the decision of the UK in a referendum to leave the European Union. Results released early on Friday by UK authorities indicated that 17, 410,742 Britons voted to leave EU, while 16,141,241 others voted to remain. The Leave campaigners won by 52 per cent to 48 per cent with England and Wales voting...

Militants Threaten To Resume Bombing As New Group Emerges

Niger Delta militants have threatened to re­sume hostilities and have alleged that the two weeks ceasefire agree­ment elapsed without any commitment on the part of the Federal Gov­ernment. The fighters said gov­ernment officials are more interested in grand­standing rather than initiating dialogue with them. In a statement entitled: ‘If you make the peace­ful change that we seek impossible, we will make violent change possible’, a group called Ultimate Warriors of the Niger Delta said if...

New Zealand PM Rules Out Ransom For Citizen Abducted In Nigeria

New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, on Thursday ruled out paying a ransom as a long-held government standing for a New Zealander abducted a day earlier by gunmen in southern Nigeria. He said at a press conference in Wellington that there was no chance of the government paying a ransom for the release of New Zealander being held hostage in Nigeria. Key said the compromise would only put a bounty on the head of any...

PDP Senate Caucus Withdraws Support For Buhari

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senate caucus yesterday announced its withdrawal of cooperation with the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led Federal Government. The caucus said the resolution would subsist until the government “ceases the belligerent attitude towards PDP members.” A communiqué read by Senate Deputy Minority Leader Emmanuel Bwacha, endorsed by Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio, Minority Whip, Philip Aduda and Deputy Minority Whip, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, said the resolution was adopted at a meeting...

Shootout In Maiduguri Government House Over Rice Distribution

There was shootout between policemen and soldiers in Maiduguri Government  House Thursday afternoon when soldiers in a truck attempted to forcefully get a share of the rice being distributed to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) not living in camps. Reporters gathered that the distribution of rice for the IDPs had started from about a week ago under the watch of policemen in the Government House who are to ensure that the rice is given only to...

FG Suspends Sack Of Resident Doctors, Negotiations Continue

The federal government wednesday suspended the sack of members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) pending the conclusion of the ongoing negotiations on the matter. This was part of the resolutions reached at the mediatory meeting initiated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, between the federal government delegation and leaders of NARD. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, was quoted to have suspended the sack as part...

Gunmen Kidnap Foreign Contractors In Calabar

At least three Australian citizens and one Australian resident, who were contractors for Lafarge cement company have been kidnapped and their driver killed in Calabar, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday. There was an initial confusion over the number of victims and nationalities of those involved, as police in gave conflicting accounts, Reuters said in a report. But media reports indicate that three Australians, a New Zealander, a South African and two Nigerians...

AMCON Shuts Senator Bruce’s Companies Over Debt

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria on Thursday morning sealed the Abuja premises of Silverbird Galleria belonging to Senator Ben Murray Bruce. The galleria currently houses the Abuja studio of the Radio and Television stations of the senator as well as his other business interests. Apart from Bruce’s companies, the seven storey building also houses other business interest of private individuals such as Shoprite, among others. The building was...

House Of Reps To Conduct Public Hearing On U.S. Sexual Allegations Against Members

The House of Representatives says it will convene a public hearing as part of its investigations into an alleged sex scandal involving three of its members. The hearing will allow Nigerians weigh in on the matter and be transparently engaged in the investigations as promised by the House leadership, Nicholas Ossai, the chairman of the House Ethics Committee, said. The scandal allegedly occurred in the U.S. state of Ohio early June. The allegations were...

Army Debunks Militants Allegation On Plot To Topple Buhari’s Govt

Authorities of the Nigerian Army have said allegation by a militant group claiming that a coup plot to remove the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari were the handiwork of mischief makers since there was nothing like that in the offing. A statement titled ‘Warning to Mischief Makers; Nobody is Planning Any Coup’ and signed by Col Sani Usman said, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to another campaign of calumny and distraction by...

Boko Haram Fracturing Over Islamic State Ties- U.S. General

A senior U.S. military general on Wednesday said the terrorist group in Nigerian, Boko Haram, had been fractured internally. Lieut.-Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the nominee to lead U.S. military’s Africa Command, disclosed this in Washington during his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said that the problem in the group resulted from some members splitting from shadowy leader, Abubakar Shekau, over his failure to adhere to guidance from the Iraq and Syria-based Islamic...

Nigeria Cuts Off Gas Supply To Ghana

Nigeria has suspended the flow of natural gas to Ghana over unpaid bills, local media reported on Wednesday, saying an amount of some USD 180 million was outstanding. News outlets reported that Ghana’s state-owned Volta River Authority owes N-Gas, which in turn is in arrears to the West African Pipeline Company, the operator of the conduit that transports gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and onwards to Ghana. The latter’s arrears have been building since October...