The Nigerian military’s “misguided” adventure into politics, was responsible for the loss of the “professionalism, discipline and patriotism” of the armed forces, a former military ruler, Yakubu Gowon, has said.
Mr. Gowon spoke Thursday at the launch of a book, Vindication of a General, by a former Chief of Army Staff, Ishaya Bamaiya.
The book, a memoir of Mr. Bamaiyi’s experiences as head of the army under the Abacha military regime, and his incarceration, was launched at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre in Abuja.
The event had in attendance some past and present generals of the Nigerian Army, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.
Mr. Bamaiyi said he decided to write the book for posterity and for people to be rightly informed about his “unfair treatment” and his eventual vindication.
He said, “as Chief of Army Staff, I experienced the most turbulent tenure and challenges in history of Nigeria Army.
“The most challenging of them is my unfair incarceration for eight years, but I overcame all these and came out in one piece.
“I take responsibility for whatever is written in the book; I can defend it because it is the truth.
“I therefore urge whoever that wants to criticise the book to be objective and honest in doing that.”
The chairman of the occasion, Mr. Gowon, said although the book was essentially on personal experiences of Mr. Bamaiyi, leaders and policy makers would learn a lot from it.
“While readers may only wish to focus on how Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi himself fell victim of power play and intrigues, he draws our attention to the compelling larger picture,” he said.
“He showed that the greatest casualty after all was the Nigerian military which lost its reputation of professionalism, discipline and patriotism as a result of misguided adventure into politics.”
The 16-chapter book, with 252 pages, was reviewed by Sam Egwu, a professor of political science at University of Jos.
Mr. Egwu noted that the book addressed the need for respect for human rights in democracy, and the deplorable state of Nigerian prisons, among other social issues.
Mr. Bamaiyi, who served under the military administration of late Sani Abacha was on December 10, 1999 charged with attempted murder of Guardian Newspaper Publisher, Alex Ibru.
He was charged alongside former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to Mr. Abacha, Hamza al-Mustapha, and others by the Lagos State Government.
Mr. Bamaiyi was, however, discharged and acquitted on April 2, 2008 after eight years in detention. (NAN).M