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Published On: Thu, Apr 24th, 2014

Nyako’s shock and awe

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Gov.-Murtala-NyakoGovernor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa state is smoking ‘hot’. His recent memo to his colleagues in the Northern Governors’ forum is, as my teenage son would say, the ‘bomb’. A kind of awe minus the shock. I was awed alright. But I was not shocked. If anything, some sense of dejavu enveloped me after reading through to the last word. It was not exactly the first time, the sailor-turned-farmer-turned-politician will call a spade by its name-a spade. His body language before the latest ‘bombshell’ hinted that something like that was imminent. Slowly and steadily he is coming across as a politician who doesn’t call a spade a shovel.

This is cheering news.Traditional and political leaders in Adamawa are throwing traditional and military training of ‘Pulaku’ and restraint overboard to make a point. The circumspect say the Lamido of Adamawa, a delegate at the current national jaw-jaw to chart a new course for a beleaguered nation,was a bit untamed when he bellowed that if Nigeria can’t accommodate him and his subjects, he has a second kingdom in Marwa, Northern Cameroun.

And now Nyako, the political head of Adamawa is heading to the World Court on account of the needless waste of lives of particularly those in the Northeast and the north in general. He is convinced a genocide is in progress.And those responsible are walking freely in Abuja.

Sure, you are at liberty to disagree with his views. That is the beauty of democracy-dissensus. The right to disagree. And not a few disagree with his latest view. Among the shrill voice of dissent is that of another admirable officer and, I like to think, a gentleman, Colonel Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd).

Dangiwa is an iconoclast. He could be blunt. Truly he is. He has often told truth to power. He walks his talk. His conviction on the sanctity of June 12, for example,caused him his commission and was prematurely retired as a Colonel some 21 years ago. He disagrees with Nyako-sharply.

The content of the latest memorandum is subject of a raging debate in the social media. It has engendered impassioned discussion. Some comments were intelligent. A significant chunk however,was nonsensical. Those who think with their bum made it. They, typically, attacked the messenger not the message. An assortment of revisionists and apologists battled grimly, to sweep under the carpet, Nyako’s weighty charges. None among the tribe of anti-Nyako, tried to answer the several posers he raised concerning the carnage going on in the North-east and the rest of the country. Only last night, I watched Mr. Maku on television rubbishing Nyako. I can understand where the Minister is coming from. In this instance, he has misfired as often.

Buck passing the insurgency palaver by the president and his band of fawning aides has become a well-heeled culture.


Sometime in March, Nyako fired the first torpedo. In a speech delivered in far away USA on security challenges facing Northern Nigeria,the Admiral admirably treaded where angels feared to plod. He cunningly accused the federal government of being the master puppeteer of the Boko Haram insurgency. Listen to him:

“The security situation we are … facing in Northern Nigeria today could be sponsored, financed and supported by evil minded and over-ambitious leaders of Government and the society for political gains. There is simply no person(s) in the Northeastern zone rich enough to foot the financial and logistic bills on Boko Haram activities. Somebody outside the zone must have bought these arms, ammunition and explosives somewhere which is easily traceable, paid the freight charges to Nigeria, cleared them at the Ports, conveyed them up-country through numerous check-points and put them in safe-houses in the States ready to be used by the appointed killers. “

Still in that speech, he stated further:

“… the arms, ammunition and explosives being used by so-called Boko Haram are not manufactured in Nigeria. Somebody must have brought them from abroad to the scenes of attacks. With military check-points mounted everywhere in far greater numbers than we had during our civil war and with only the President, the Vice President and their key staff and Governors of the States on one hand and the Nigerian Military on the other who pass these points unchecked, we could safely assume that it is one of the two groups who conveys these weapons up country from the Port(s) after Custom and Security clearance.”

These charges, grievous as they were, pale in comparison with the latest memorandum he dispatched to his colleagues in the north. He pulled all stops. He was not elegant. He was a combination of Lamido of Adamawa, presidential ‘attack lion’, Doyin Okupe, attention seeker, Asari Dokuboh and late Saro Wiwa rolled into one.

Were he a fighter pilot, this memorandum was, mildly stated, an ‘aerial bombardment’ of the Jonathan regime. But he is not. He is a retired Admiral. Not just that. He was a service chief. That bears stressing. Having been so, he was also a deputy chief of defence staff.

What’s the point in all this profiling? To show that man, by training, as a Naval General, is not trite. He couldn’t just be blowing hot air. At 70 plus, Nyako would be doing grave injury to his personal history if he made these charges without solid proofs. In this, I am one with Baba Mai Mangwaro.


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