Osinbajo, Gowon, Obasanjo, others extol Maimalari virtues

By Ibrahim Ramalan Abuja

A former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, has described late Brig. Gen. Zakariya Maimalari as a courageous military offi cer who wanted the best for the army and the country before he was killed during the fi rst military coup. Gowon, who spoke during the public presentation of the late offi cer’s biography entitled “Th e First Regular Combatant: Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari,” written by Haruna Poloma, said the late Maimalari wanted the best for the army and the country.

“Th ose who knew Maimalari would appreciate that he was not only outstanding, but awesome, endowed and gentlemanly.” Zakariya wanted the best for the army and for Nigeria and was a courageous, prestigious and humorous man, who was loyal to his profession before being assassinated in the 1966 coup”, Gowon recalled. Th e former head of state, who chaired the occasion, said the book

was a brief, but extraordinary account of Maimalari’s life and was “brought in such graphic and entertaining way and manner by personalities and dignitaries whose lives he touched.” Also in his own remark, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, described the late offi cer as a selfl ess man, who focused on the welfare of his soldiers of which he was a benefi ciary. Obasanjo said though he did not know him when he was growing up and when he was in school, they both served in a battalion, when they were sent on peace-keeping force in Congo.

Also speaking, the acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, also extolled the virtues of the late military offi cer. On his part, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, who was one time Chief of Srmy Staff , said the large turnout for the event was an indication that even though Maimalari died 51 years ago, he remained a hero, while his legacy “lives on”. Th e book reviewer, Ike Nwachukwu, a retired army general and former senator, spoke on the documented Maimalari’s military career and achievements.

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