Why military didn’t take over power during Dambazzau as COAS – Kukasheka


A discussant at the 11th Blueprint Lecture/Award series, General Usman Kukasheka, rtd. has disclosed reasons the former Chief of Army Staff and former Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazzau, could not cease government when President late Umar Musa Yar’ Adua was sick.

According to Kukasheka on Tuesday in Abuja, some politicians had lobbied General Dambazzau to take over government at that time but due to his love for democracy, he resisted the temptation. 

Kukasheka who was the Army Public Relations Officer under General Danbazzau as the Chief of Army Staff challenged his former boss to expose those politicians who lobbied him to undermine Nigeria’s democracy and take over the reins of government.

He also stated that the international community later met with General Dambazzau and he promised them the army would not take over government.

“I’m not surprised that when they are showing him (Dambazzau) on the screen, they said he’s now a politician, I know he is a soldier per excellence but one thing Nigerians do not know about him and I’m not surprised it was juxtaposed in the paper, was the fact that if we are counting champions of democracy in this country, there is no way you will not mention the name of Leutnant General Abdurahman Bello Dambazzau, CFR and I will tell you why.

“Wayback in the days when President Umaru Yar’ Adua was sick, he (Dambazzau) was the Chief of Army Staff and I had the privilege of being the Public Relations Officer in the Office of Chief Of Army Staff and we always moved together. 

“Till now, that is why even though he is a prolific writer, he’s yet to come out with his memoir. The part of that memoir is an expose of those people that undermined democracy in this country. 

“I’m saying this with every sense of responsibility because that time, some group of politicians were the ones lobbying him yo take over government unconstitutionally. 

“We have the records, in fact we have started writing the memoir, with due respect to him, I said let him mention the individuals so that posterity will know them for who they are and what they are. 

“Up till now, we are still contending with that issue and I know the international community showed concern to the extent that they had to meet with him where he promised that he would not take over government. In some part of the country they call us women because an opportunity had come and we did not take advantage of it to take over government.

“Some people have made sacrifices. In those days whenever we go to Kaduna to inspect the then rehabilitation 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, people openly ask questions which sort of uniform were we wearing, when is the announcement going to be made about taking over government. 

“It was a matter of simple phone call to roll  out the tanks in three divisions, by  then Gen. Dambazzau could have been Head of State but he resisted that temptation simply because he had the interest of this nation at heart and he knows democracy is the best form of governance in this country,” he said.

Like the former Minister of Interior posited in his lecture, the ex-Army Public Relation officer also blamed the problem of insurgency in the country on lack of coordination and synergy among the security agencies.

Kukasheka recalled that during the tenure of the ex army chief, the military decisively dealt with the insurgents during which they eliminated 700 members of the Boko Haram sect and arrested their leader Mohammed Yusuf.

“Under normal circumstances, the military did its job by arresting the mastermind or leader, Mohammed Yusuf and handed over to the government,” he said.

While blaming the ruling class, Bulkachuwa stated that it is the issue of lack of homework and synergy of effort and coordination that brought the country into the quagmire being experienced presently.

According to Kukasheka, the insurgence has to a large extent do with leadership issue.

He said, “All these issues that we are talking about – lack of focus, discussing mundane issues against critical issues- that threatening the corporate existence of this nation, we are concerned with ethno-religious issues. 

“The question now is, what extent are we prepared to endure, nourish and strengthen our democratic practice or governance? This is a challenge to the elite because all the problems we are having in the Nigerian society to a large extent, would be traced to a particular class of Nigerian, the politicians, with due respect. Somethings that are supposed to be done have not been done and we continue to move in this circle.” 

He stated that the security sector reform spoken about by the former Chief Of Army Staff is long overdue but superficial attention had been given to it by the transformation aspect of the nation for 15 years. 

He said it would be counter productive to transform a segment of the society without sectors by stenthening the institutions of democtacy.

“We should have known the nuances of democracy, strengthen our institutions so that they can correspond to the exigences of democratic governance. By that, we could have addressed some of the problems that we have encountered,” he said.

He, however, noted that it was not late to embark on the sector reforms adding that such reforms should not stop with the security but should be made to include the judiciary, which he said, has a tremendous role to play especially in Nigeria’s criminal justice reform.

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