Former spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Kukasheka Usman (rtd), on Wednesday, disclosed how ex-Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), was asked to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan after the demise of President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2010.
Usman disclosed this at the 2022 Blueprint Newspapers Annual Public Lectures and Impact Series/Award.
He said Dambazau not only resisted the pressure from people the former army spokesperson described as enemies of Nigeria, but also promised the international community, which got wind of the development, he would do no such thing.
Also, delivering a lecture on the topic, “2023 Politics: National Security and Nigeria’s Stability,” at the Blueprint Newspapers event, Dambazau proposed a drastic reform of the security sector post-2023 election.
Supporting Usman’s notion, Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni warned that no individual or collective interest was worth plunging the country into war to win the forthcoming election. Buni warned against any form of hate speech, adding that Nigeria’s interest must be uppermost at all times.
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello also confirmed that those responsible for the nation’s security problem could not be trusted in finding a lasting solution to it.
He affirmed the security challenges in Nigeria could be successfully tackled within six months with serious commitment.
Narrating how Dambazau resisted pressure to overthrow the Jonathan government, Usman said; “One thing Nigerians do not know is that if we are counting champions of democracy in this country, there is no way you will not mention Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, and I will tell you why.
Way back in the days when President Umar Yar’Adua was sick, he was the Chief of Army Staff and I had the privilege of being public relations officer in the office of the army chief. I had the privilege of moving with him. We always moved together and I knew.
Even though he is a prolific writer, he is yet to come out with his memoir and part of that memoir should be an expose of those people that undermined democracy in this country.
I am saying this with every sense of responsibility, because that time the same group of politicians were the ones lobbying him to take over government unconstitutionally. We have the records and when he started writing the memoir, with due respect to him, I told him that he had to mention the names of the individuals so that posterity will remember them for who they are.
Up till now, we are still contending with that issue and I know that the international community showed concern, to the extent that they had to meet with him, where he promised that he will not take over government.
We still live with the flaks, where in some parts of the country, they call us women, because an opportunity came and we did not take advantage of it to take over government. Now, what am I driving at? All these issues that we are talking about lack focus on critical issues, discussing mundane issues; they are threatening the very corporate existence of this nation.
When we visited 44 Reference Hospital, Kaduna, people were asking when is the announcement going to be made about taking over government. I’m so happy Gen. Akinyemi, the GOC 3rd Amoured Division (Jos) is still alive. You can ask him.
A simple phone call to him to roll out the tanks and Gen. Dambazau would have been head of state, but he resisted that temptation, simply, because he had the interest of this nation at heart and he knows that democracy is the best form of government for this country.”
Recall that Dambazau then was accused of ordering troops to Airport Road, Abuja, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport without Jonathan’s authorisation at the death of Yar’Adua.
It was also alleged that the then Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike (rtd), once denied Dambazau’s movement to his residence as army chief because of his suspected “ambitious moves.”
Dambazau thereafter was replaced while he was with Jonathan in the United States.