They were former public officers who were popular during their days; however, long after they left office, nothing is being heard about them again. In this report, ELEOJO IDACHABA seeks to know they are now.
Augustine Aniebo is a former army officer who had served in various capacities before his retirement by the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, following a presidential directive that any military officer who had held any political position in the past should be retired. Prior to his retirement, however, he had served as military administrator in Borno and Kogi states, respectively. As the administrator Borno state under the late Gen. Sani Abacha, he was particularly noted for stalling a major religious crisis in the state in 1997, when some religious sects using some secret security agents stormed a church in Maiduguri and ejected the pastor and members, a development that would have caused a major religious crisis leading to loss of lives. Analysts say that was the time the military earned its respect as manager of crisis. When, however, Gen. Abacha died, he was re-deployed by Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar to Kogi state as its administrator between 1998 and 1999 before leading following the return of democracy in the country. One major undoing of this Anambra state-born ex-military officer is that after the 1999 general elections were successfully conducted and the late Prince Abubakar Audu was announced as winner of the governorship election, Aniebo refused to swear in Audu, a development that many ascribed to the financial mess his administration committed while as administrator. However, on assuming office, Audu set up a commission of inquiry led by Justice Henry Olusuyi to probe the activities of his predecessor and found out that Aniebo and some of his aides embezzled the sum of N133, 382,618 belonging to the state and were ordered to refund it. All these revelations came to light after Audu complained to Obasanjo about his inability to govern the state following the humongous debt left behind by Aniebo. After Aniebo retired from the military, he was said to have joined the private sector as a businessman, for instance, rumour had it that the Orumba South-born military officer was chairman of a hotel in Abuja, but long after that not much has been heard about him.
This is another former military officer who also served in senior administrative capacity as military administrators in many states – Bauchi, Osun and Kwara. He was the first military administrator of Kwara state. Though alive, he is one man that was said to have died. For instance, he was wrongly reported to have died in 2018 by one of the major newspapers in the country. However, the man who is now in his early 80s is, according to reports, still waxing strong. To buttress that fact, he made a comment recently after Chief Obasanjo revealed the Fulanisation and Islamisation plan of the current administration in which some persons condemned the former president. Bamigboye said, “This is the problem we have. Somebody who is of the standing of Obasanjo, people should respect his opinion and statement. He could not have made that statement anyhow. In any case, you do not expect me to lambast my former Command-in-Chief. I am not good at that. But people who are doing it, they should, for God’s sake, weigh it and then see reasons instead of castigating him. This is the way I look at him. This is a former head of state and respected elder statesman; I think people should respect his opinion instead of castigating him.” Bamigboye who is now retired to his home state of Kwara was sometime in 2018 appointed to head a 30-man committee on Olomu stool, a traditional chieftaincy stool in Omu Aran community of Irepodun local government of the state. According to the chairman of the local government, Mr Muyiwa Oladipo, “This committee has been put in place to give the community an auspicious and memorable coronation to depict maximum love and respect in line with our tradition.” Aside from this not much has been heard about him for some time now.
Mohammed Goni was the governor of the old Borno state between 1979 and 1983, long before Yobe state was created out of it. He took over from the late Gen. Tunde Idiagbon when the latter was military governor of the state just before the beginning of the Second Republic. Goni was elected in 1979 as the first civilian governor of the state on the platform of the Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP). Besides that, he was also part of the Progressives Coalition led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo which aimed to change the county radically. Available records show that the period Goni served as governor in the state was the zenith of the developments the state witnessed since creation. For instance, he was said to be the one that formulated the blueprint for the development of the state. He founded the Borno Radio Television (BRTV) as against the propaganda which was being pumped out of the federal government-owned Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) then. Unfortunately, he lost out in the 1983 elections in his bid to return to power after he cross-carpeted to the Unity party of Nigeria (UPN). However, the military struck and frustrated the continuation of that republic. Years later, in the April 2003 general elections, he again ran on the United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP) platform as vice-presidential candidate with Jim Nwobodo who was the presidential candidate. They were, however, not elected. In January 2011, he was elected by PDP delegates in the state to be their gubernatorial flag-bearer in the April 2011 elections, but that too suffered defeat because, according to analysts, power had long changed hands into the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Goni who had been in the Peoples Democratic Party all the while moved over to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in January 2019.