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Atiku/Peter Obi: The Emergence of Buhari’s Nemesis

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By Eric Elezuo

Finally, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Primaries have come and gone. Finally, the ever irrepressible and consistent Alhaji Atiku Abubakar got the much desired presidential ticket after four horrendous life time attempts. He beat 12 formidable, experienced and equally time tested opponents to pick the ticket. Finally, the last lap of Atiku’s quest to become President of Nigeria has just kick started.

Like The Boss has constantly and exclusively reported, Atiku, whose quest to claim the exalted seat of the presidency needs only one more hurdle in the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari to scale, has finally made good the permutation by picking a seasoned banking guru and first class business technocrat, Peter Obi, as his running mate. A combination that seems to give the ruling All Progressives Congress a sleepless night, as well as poised to become President Buhari’s nemesis as the countdown to February 2019 gets more interesting.

The tension in the ruling party’s camp is heightened by the never imagined ‘forgiveness’ of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo  to Atiku after what seemed like eternity. Obasanjo broke his promise of being Atiku’s anathema when he received him in his house at Abeokuta, and publicly forgave him, calling him ‘president to be’.

A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has not hidden his intention to be president since since 1993 when he lost out to Chief MKO Abiola. He ressurected his intention in 2003, seeking to run against his boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was running for a second term. Ever since, Atiku has remained a permanent feature in presidential primaries, and has lost all except for the 2018 edition where Port Harcourt smiled on him and compensated him for the all those years of failure. His hopes of becoming the landlord of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, is just one more step away.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is reputed as the most formidable of all the current Presidential candidates in terms of clout and connection, and has over the years proved it by physically connecting to all and sundry including showing uncommon love for the people of all regions by picking in virtually all of them. His scheming and negotiating abilities have helped him to corner all reputable kingmakers in the country to his side even as the incumbent administration has lost favour with both party men and the generality of the public.

A former Customs boss, who retired from the service at the peak of his career to face private practice, Atiku, as he is popularly called, has shown that it takes determination, commitment and can-do-attitude to turn around almost anything, and that according to him, is the spirit he is bringing to governance in Nigeria if and when elected.

He has remained a force driven and propelled by the desire to achieve whatever he sets out to do, and consequently has a retinue of incredible credential trailing his illustrious civil and political career.

Atiku is not hiding the fact that he is the only candidate who can, not only give Buhari a good run for his money, but thoroughly defeat him at the polls when they come face to face in 2019. He is therefore seen as that one man who has what it takes to send Buhari packing from Aso Rock Villa, and he declared emphatically that ‘I will beat him (Buhari)’.

He has against all odds created a cultlike followership in his trail, and looks unstoppable. it is believed that baring unforseen criminal occurrences, the presidency is as good as his come 2019.

Born November 25, 1946, Atiku GCON, is a prolific and successful businessman. He served as the second elected vice-president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Atiku started school Jada Primary School at the age of eight. In 1960, he was admitted to Adamawa Provincial Secondary School in Yola where he graduated with a Grade Three WASC/GCE Certificate in 1965.

Following secondary school, Abubakar studied a short while at the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna. He worked briefly as a Tax Officer in the regional Ministry of Finance, from where he gained admission to the school of Hygiene in Kano in 1966.

He graduated with a Diploma in 1967, having served as Interim Student Union President at the school. In 1967 he enrolled for a Law Diploma at the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Administration, on a scholarship from regional government. After graduation in 1969, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was employed by the Nigeria Customs Service.

Atiku worked in the Nigeria Customs Service for twenty years, rising to become the Deputy Director, as the second highest position in the Service was then known. He retired in April 1989 and took up full-time business and politics. He ran for the office of governor in the then Gongola State (now Adamawa and Taraba States) in 1991, and for the Presidency in 1993, placing third after MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primaries.

In 1998 he was elected Governor of Adamawa State. While still Governor-Elect he was selected by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate Olusegun Obasanjo as as the suitable choice of a running mate, and together they won the presidency.

Abubakar is a co-founder of Intels, an oil servicing business with extensive operations in Nigeria and abroad. He is also the founder of Adama Beverages Limited, and the American University of Nigeria (AUN), both in Yola, Adamawa.

Atiku’s sincere intentions to set the country’s economy back on track neccessitated that selection of yet another indefatigable technocrat anf former two terms governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, better known as ‘Okwute’ (Rock)

Peter Obi is highly unassuming, and boasts of a track record of prudence, performance and achievement.

Evidence of his shrewd administrative skills is the claim that when he was leaving office as Governor of Anambra State, a whopping  $230 billion was sitting in the treasury and consequently inherited by his successor, Willie Obiano. The amount was broken down as follows: $156 million in bank, N25 billion cash and N25 billion in local investment.

The soft-spoken businessman born in 1961, is the Chairman of Nigeria Security and Exchange Commission. Obi is known to have swam in the murky waters of Nigerian politics and came out smelling like roses. He fought  the godfathers of Anambra politics and dealt decisively with rogue elements who have been feeding fat on government.

A 1980 Philosophy graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Obi is an all-rounder, having his hand in as many pies as there are available including trading, real estate and financial services.

A corporate titan, he has held such positions as Chairman of Next International Nigeria Ltd, Chairman and Director of Guardian Express Mortgage Bank Ltd, Guardian Express Bank Plc, Future View Securities Ltd, Paymaster Nigeria Ltd, Chams Nigeria Ltd, Data Corp Ltd and Card Centre Ltd.

At the twilight of his professional financial career, he became the youngest Chairman of Fidelity Bank Plc.

Atiku’s consideration of Obi is hinged on his very amiable disposition, uncanny acumen for stopping unnecessary spending, never-say-die spirit and ability to connect effortlessly with the youths.

The general belief, which Alhaji Atiku also shares, is the fact that it is time again for an Igbo man to occupy the Vice Presidency as compensation for their perceived marginalization.

With a combination of political sagacity and sterling achievements as businessmen and economy minded fellows, both men are fully prepared to hit the ground running from day one as President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Supreme Court Judgment: Buhari, Emefiele Mum As Naira Crisis Persists

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By Eric Elezuo

More than one week after the apex Supreme Court ruled that the old N1000 and N500 notes be allowed to exist side by side with the newly redesigned notes, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, have remained silent, and unable to give Nigerians the directives to follow amid prolonged suffering occasioned by the cash crunch.

On March 3, 2023, after a long drawn legal battle between some state governors against the Federal Government, the Supreme Court had ruled that the validity of the N200, N500, and N1,000 Naira notes be extended till December 31 when they would have been easily eased it.

A seven-member panel of the court led by John Okoro unanimously directed that the CBN must continue to receive the old notes from Nigerians, stressing that the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari for the redesign of the new notes and withdrawal of the old notes without due consultation is invalid.

Reading the lead judgement, Emmanuel Agim, a member of the panel, also condemned the President’s disobedience of the court’s February 8 order that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes should continue to circulate alongside the new ones.

He said the president’s broadcast of 16 February that only N200 notes should remain legal tender made Nigeria’s democracy look like a mere pretension while democracy is replaced with autocracy.

He said: “It is not in doubt that the President refused to comply with the order of the court that the old 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes should continue to be legal tender,” the court said.

“Interestingly, there is even nothing to show that that the President’s directive for the release of N200 notes was implemented.

“I agree that the first defendant ought not to be heard when the president has refused to obey the authority of this court.

“Disobedience of order of court shows the country’ democracy  a mere pretension and now replaced by autocracy. This suit is meritorious.”

Recall that the CBN in October 2022 introduced what many has labelled a controversial monetary policy which birthed newly redesigned 200, N500, and N1,000 notes with tight deadline to mop up the old notes from circulation. A January 31 deadline was initially set for the complete mopping up of the old naira notes. The policy and its implementation was challenged at the Supreme Court.

As envisaged, the policy led to scarcity of currency notes, bringing untold hardship to millions of citizens in an economy significantly driven by the informal sector with a large proportion of unbanked persons.

The end of January deadline initially set for ending the legal tender status of the old Naira notes was extended to February 10 as the supply of the new notes fell far short of the volume needed by citizens to meet their most basic needs across the country.

On February 3, three state governments – Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara – citing the hardships the continued scarcity of naira notes brought to their people – sued the federal government at the Supreme Court for a reversal of the policy.

Five days later, the court issued an interim order suspending the implementation of the deadline set by the federal government, and directed that the old and new Naira notes should continue to circulate pending the resolution of the case.

Unmoved by the court’s order, the CBN insisted that the old notes had stopped being legal tender after the February 10 deadline while the scarcity of the new notes persisted.

But the final judgement of March 3, which allowed the old naira notes back into circulation has been kept on mute mode by the executive as neither the president or the CBN governor has given a clear cut directive as to the next step to take. This act has returned the masses to the pre-judgment era and money has remained scarce and standard of living a total mirage, especially for families that depend on daily transactions to make a living.

At various banks across the country, customers line up endlessly to collect cash, but are disappointed at the end of every day. A cross section of the customers, who spoke to The Boss, lamented that appearing at the banks has remained a daily routine, and after each day, it remains a tale of woe as the much sought after naira notes are nowhere to be found.

But some customers, who were able to get access to the bank vaults lamented that they were paid the old bank notes, which in rejecting tried to lodge it bank with the bank. But the banks themselves rejected it.

“So the old bank note is just good to give to the customer, but cannot be deposited in the banks,” an angry customer lamented. Those that risked taking the money to the markets or to buy one thing or another are still telling sad stories as its rejection remains paramount. Yet, Buhari and Emefiele have remained silent.

“I don’t understand why Mr President and CBN governor would keep silent this long on a matter this sensitive. Yes, the Supreme Court has ruled. Am I the executive that will execute the judgement? Is it no longer the duty of the executive to execute judgements of the courts?” Another customer querried.

In the same vein, DailyPost reported that a public analyst and economist, Dr. Charles Imole expressed dissatisfaction over the continued silence from President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele days after the Supreme Court judgment validating old Naira notes till 31 December.

According to Imole, the economic situation showed that the nation is drifting aimlessly.

“The Supreme Court gave a verdict and 5 days later, nothing has been done to officially give effect to that verdict by the President or the CBN Governor. What kind of nonsense is this? The nation just appears to be drifting and coasting aimlessly. How long will this madness continue?” He tweeted.

Meanwhile, The Punch gathered on Friday that cash had dried up in most banks in Lagos and Ogun states due to what senior bankers described as the inability of the CBN to supply them with new naira notes.

It wrote: “A branch manager of a Tier-1 bank told Saturday PUNCH that his branch last received cash last week Tuesday, adding that bankers were also frustrated about the currency crisis affecting the nation.

“The Lagos-based branch manager said, “There have been no supplies of new naira notes to my branch and other neighbouring branches this week. The last supply we got was N5m last week Monday and another N5m the following day. Members of our bullion van team have been on standby throughout this week awaiting signals to come to the CBN to pick cash, but there has been no signal. The N10m we got last week didn’t last up to Wednesday.

“Following the Supreme Court judgment, we were initially paying out the old N1,000 and N500 notes deposited with us and which had not been deposited with the CBN to desperate customers, but we had to stop when the customers came back to complain that people were not accepting the old notes from them.”

“Another senior banker corroborated this, adding that his first generation bank had not been supplied new naira notes to disburse to customers.

“He said, “Even me as a banker, I can only boast of N100 as I am speaking to you. We have not been supplied with cash this week. The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Instant Payment platform is not working; the digital payment systems are overwhelmed. When you see crowds at our branches now, we are not giving them cash, what we are doing is to deal with complaints arising from digital payments.

“I think it is deliberate not to supply naira notes to the banks because the government and the CBN don’t want politicians to mop them up. Politicians are desperately looking for cash to pay their agents now. I know of a candidate for the Lagos State House of Assembly, who has launched a passionate appeal to his friends to raise money to pay his party agents, who were not paid after the presidential and National Assembly elections and threatened not to take part in the governorship and state House of Assembly.”

It is still not known how much longer Nigerians will be made to go through the sorrow of naira scarcity or how much longer their patience will linger as reports of unavoidable deaths, illnesses and many other vices have made the rounds as a result of the naira scarcity, and Buhari and Emefiele’s undignified silence.

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My Brother, Timothy Oluwakayode Oluwasesan Ogunnubi @60

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By Tola Ogunnubi

My mother once told me by quoting Williams Shakespeare that “Ingratitude is worse than a traitor’s arm”. This has been my life’s driving principle growing up while watching my brother since I enrolled under his tutelage. Emi Tola mo ore.

Words fail me to pay a deserving tribute to perhaps the greatest brother that ever trod the face of planet earth. Exactly 6 decades today, a fine, intelligent, extremely humble, quintessential gentleman was born into the Pa Isaac Ayorinde Ogunnubi clan in Ijeh-Obalende (now Dolphin Estate) area of Lagos State of Nigeria. He is the 1St son and 1st child, I am the 1st son and 1st child from the rear of our parents. We have a lot of things in common. But above all, he is such a rare gem. An enigma with immense outstanding personality.  A very admirable gentle fine man with distinguished character.  He had a most precocious growth and excelled in academics, life’s school and character.

I am a living testimony of your magnanimity, your direct benevolence of a good heart speaks volumes in my life. I benefitted and got spoilt by you. I chop your money no be small (smiles). From the Lagos State Model College, Kankon, Badagry to UNILAG, he ensured I had a good academic wellbeing devoid of worries or distarctions. He went out of his ways for me, and he taught me and my other siblings, the gizmo of spartan discipline, the ethos of hygienic living, the greatness of erudition, the obligation of goodness, the merits of integrity and the love of kindness. A brother who always has the answers to your problems. Whilst you see the problem, he sees the prospect and the possibility. He will go out of his way to give you the best support possible. Brother, thank you for giving me the best of the opportunities available.

Christened Oluwakayode Timothy Oluwasesan, he began a family anchored on the principled ideals of morality, resilience, good heritage, stability, forthrightness and uprightness.

As a young lad, I found an instant model and worthy mentor in my brother, in whom I could trust, emulate and fashion my life after. Kayode as he is fondly called, epitomises grace and character, extremely neat and fashionable, brilliant and reserved. Entrepreneur extraordinaire, Prolific Land administrator, successful Estate Valuer, and distinguished Family Man.

Kayode, the primogenitor of many firsts that lends irrevocable credence to how much commitment he invests in his personal endeavour. He made sure we never lacked as his younger ones even after the death of our parents. The responsibilities were much and tasking but with an ever understanding and supportive wife, there were no issues. A core hard worker, a complete homely husband, a reliable and responsible brother, an urbane technocrat and a chronic motivator. Supportive to a fault, defender to the end, his corrective eyes speak a million words till date.

He was clearly a shining light in those days at CMS Grammar School, Bariga Lagos. After his A levels, he went to the prestigious Yaba College of Technology and equally went to the University of Nigeria (UNN) where he was the best graduating student in his time. I am deeply proud of him. He came back to Lagos and enrolled in the University of Lagos, Akoka Yaba for both his M.Sc and MBA.

Married to a beautiful woman with a beautiful heart, Patience Olamide Ogunnubi they are blessed with 2 lovely children.

Timothy Ogunnubi introduced and put in place the process of applying and being issued Certificates of Occupancy within 90 days of payment. This made the Governor sign a backlog of 2500 certificates in a day, the first in the country.

As a pacesetter, he was able to set in motion and reposition the Lands Bureau in Lagos state to aid it in providing more professionalized services.

Because of his professionalism and dedication to work, he was elevated to the position of a Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Civil Service.

I will never forget his resounding advice wherever I go- ‘Don’t ever forget the child of whom you are. Remember you have the glorious name of this family to protect’. This ensures I never stray away no matter what. As the first child of the family from the rear, I make bold to say that I am a direct beneficiary of your large-heartedness, cerebral gratification, good name, largesse and uncommon wit.

On this occasion of your birthday celebration and retirement from the public service of Lagos State today, I wish you more successes, long life, a bountiful harvest of your worthy and deserving investment on career and family, sound health, peace of mind, a speedy accomplishment of your yet elusive dreams and above all, all you wish yourself. I celebrate you and I want you to know that we may not always agree on so many things maybe because I have my looks after you because we both took it from our father or because you are now getting old (smiles) as a younger version of you, I want you to know today that you are a rare gem and I love you. You are a good great man.

Friends and family, may I humbly request that you wish my brother and role model a happy birthday for me, thank you all.

Tola Ogunnubi FILRMN, ANIPR is the Deputy Head, Corporate Affairs, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation, NAIC Abuja.

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Murtala Mohammed: Remembering Originator of ‘Fellow Nigerians’ 47 Years After

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By Eric Elezuo

He is noted as the first person to use the popular military catch phrase ‘fellow Nigerians’, and popularised it among subsequent leaderss, who had used it at all coup situations. He is Murtala Ramat Muhammad GCFR, Nigeria’s third military Head of State, who was murdered in cold blood on February 13, 1976, less than eight months after he took over administration.

Born on November 8, 1938, Mohammed is believed to have led the 1966 Nigerian counter-coup in overthrowing the Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi military regime and featured prominently during the Nigerian Civil War and thereafter ruled over Nigeria from 30 July 1975 until his assassination on that fateful February 13, 1976 morning.

He was in Kano, into a ruling-class religious family, Murtala served in the Nigerian Army as a cadet in the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He later served in Congo; eventually rose through the ranks to become brigadier general in 1971, aged 33, becoming one of the youngest generals in Nigeria. Three years later Murtala became the Federal Commissioner for Communications in Lagos. As a conservative and federalist, Murtala regretted the overthrow of the First Republic and the promulgation of Aguiyi Ironsi’s unification decree of 1966. He was devastated by the assassination of Sir Ahmadu Bello, and for a time seriously considered the secession of Northern Nigeria. His career redoubled after Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and the young majors orchestrated the first military coup in Nigeria of 1966 coup empowering him to lead the mutiny of the night of 29 July 1966 in Abeokuta. Murtala was briefly considered as Supreme Commander before the appointment of Yakubu Gowon. He also masterminded the July 1966 counter coup, which evidently, sparked the Nigerian Civil War.

During the war, he commandeered Nigeria’s second infantry division which was responsible for the death of civilians and much of the rebels. His command’s use of veteran soldiers, no quarter, and scorched earth strategies led to between 10,000 and 30,000 deaths. Combined with the total wartime death toll of three million making the civil war one of the deadliest in modern history. Three years later the Federal military government declared victory which bolstered Murtala’s image over Nigeria and in particular the north as a military leader through the post-war era of “reconciliation, reconstruction, and rehabilitation”. In post-civil-war Nigeria, Murtala ruled with more power than any Nigerian leader before or since, and developed a charismatic authority and cult of personality. During the Cold War he maintained Nigerian neutrality through participation in the non-aligned movement but supported the Soviet Union — during the latter’s effort in the Angolan Civil War

Nigeria under Murtala presided over a period of rampant economic prosperity. At the same time, his regime transitioned from being authoritarian into consensus decision-making with Murtala the leader of a military triumvirate, alongside Generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Theophilus Danjuma. The dictatorship softened and Murtala unveiled plans for the demilitarization of politics. In 1976 barely seven months into his nascent rule Murtala without having time to see his plans implemented was assassinated in a failed coup d’ètat attempt, being succeeded by Olusegun Obasanjo as Head of State, who, in turn, led the Nigerian transition to democracy with the Second Nigerian Republic.

The legacy of Murtala in Nigerian history remains controversial as the nature of his rule changed over time. His reign was marked by both brutal repression, and economic prosperity, which greatly improved the quality of life in Nigeria. His dictatorial style proved highly adaptable, which enabled wide-sweeping social and economic reform, while consistent pursuits during his reign centered on highly centralised government, authoritarianism, federalism, national Federalism, and pan-Africanism.

Murtala Muhammed was born on November 8, 1938 in Kano. His father, Muhammed Riskuwa, was from the Fulani Genawa clan, who had a history of Islamic jurisprudence as both his paternal grandfather Suleman and paternal great-grandfather Mohammed Zangi served as Chief Judges in Kano Emirate and held the title of chief Alkali of Kano. His father worked in the Kano Native Authority and was related to Aminu Kano, Inuwa Wada, and Aminu Wali. He died in 1953, his mother, Uwani Rahamatu, was from the Kanuri and Fulani Jobawa clan, the Jobawa clan members include the Makama of Kano and Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, his maternal grandfather Yakubu Soja a World War I veteran was from Dawakin Tofa while his maternal grandmother Hajiya Hauwau (Aya) was from Gezawa, he was educated at Cikin Gida Elementary School which was inside the emir’s palace.

He then transferred to Gidan Makama primary school in Kano which was just outside the palace. He then proceeded to Kano Middle School (now Rumfa College, Kano) in 1949, before attending the famous Government College (now Barewa College) in Zaria, where he obtained his school certificate in 1957. At Barewa College, Muhammed was a member of the Cadet Corps and was captain of shooting in his final year. In 1957, he obtained a school leaving certificate and applied to join the Nigerian army later in the year.

Murtala Muhammed joined the Nigerian Army in 1958. He spent short training stints in Nigeria and Ghana and then was trained as an officer cadet at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in England. After his training, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1961 and assigned to the Nigerian Army Signals that same year, later spending a short stint with the No. 3 Brigade Signals Troop in Congo In 1962, Muhammed was appointed aide-de-camp to M. A. Majekodunmi, the federally-appointed administrator of the Western Region.

In 1963, he became the officer-in-charge of the First Brigade Signal Troop in Kaduna, Nigeria. That year he traveled to the Royal Corps of Signals at Catterick Garrison, England for a course on advanced telecommunications techniques. On his return to Nigeria in 1964, he was promoted to major and appointed officer-commanding, 1st Signal Squadron in Apapa, Lagos. In November 1965, he was made acting Chief of Signals of the Army, while his paternal uncle, Inuwa Wada had recently been appointed Defense Minister.

Mohammed’s coup in 1966 led to the installation of Lieutenant-Colonel Yakubu Gowon as Supreme Commander of the Nigerian Armed Forces, despite the intransigence of Muhammed who wanted the role of Supreme Commander for himself. However, as Gowon was militarily his senior, and finding a lack of support from the British and American advisors, he caved in. Gowon rewarded him by confirming his ranking (he had been an acting Lt. Colonel until then) and his appointment (Inspector of Signals).

In June 1968, he relinquished his commanding position and was posted to Lagos and appointed Inspector of Signals. In April 1968, he was promoted to colonel. The actions of the division during this period, mostly in Asaba became a subject of speculation. In a book published in 2017, S. Elizabeth Bird and Fraser Ottanelli document the 1967 mass murder of civilians by troops of the 2 Division under General Muhammed’s command. They also discuss the events leading up to the massacre, and its impact on Asaba and on the progress of the war, as well as other civilian massacres carried out by soldiers of the 2nd Division at Onitsha and Isheagu.

Between 1970 and 1971, he attended the Joint Service Staff College in England, his supervisor’s report attributed him to having ”a quick agile mind, considerable ability and common sense. He holds strong views which he puts forward in a forthright manner. He is a strong character and determined. However, he finds it difficult to moderate his opinions and finds it difficult to enter into debate with others whose views he may not share”.After the war, he was promoted to brigadier-general in October 1971. Between 1971 and 1974, Muhammed was involved in routine activities within the signals unit of the army. However, he also disagreed with some of the policies being pursued by Gowon.

On 7 August 1974, the head of state, General Yakubu Gowon appointed him as the new Federal Commissioner for Communications, which he combined with his military duties as Inspector of Signals at the Army Signals Headquarters in Apapa, Lagos. On 7 August 1974, General Yakubu Gowon appointed Muhammed as the Federal commissioner (position now called Minister) for communications to oversee and facilitate the nation’s development of cost effective communication infrastructures during the oil boom. After the war and after he took power as head of state, Muhammed started the reorganization and demobilization of 100,000 troops from the armed forces. The number of troops in the armed forces decreased from 250,000 to 150,000.

On 29 July 1975, General Yakubu Gowon was overthrown while attending the 12th summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Kampala, Uganda. Muhammed took power as the new Military Head of State. Brigadiers Obasanjo (later Lt. General) and Danjuma (later Lt. General) were appointed as Chief of Staff, Supreme HQ and Chief of Army Staff, respectively.

In the coup d’état that brought him to power he introduced the phrases “Fellow Nigerians” and “with immediate effect” to the national lexicon. In a short time, Murtala Muhammed’s policies won him broad popular support, and his decisiveness elevated him to the status of a folk hero.

However his highly popular, often televised “with immediate effect” style of governing, also gained some criticism amongst the countries top civil servants – some of which were Nigeria’s top intellectuals. His ad-hoc Presidential proclamations left his civil service often unprepared, lacking details or even funding to implement his ideas, and his administration led to the dismissal of thousands of civil servants. Over 10,000 civil servants, government employees were dismissed without benefits; reasons stated were age, health, incompetence, or malpractice. The removal of such a large amount of public officials affected the public service, the judiciary, the police and armed forces, the diplomatic service, public corporations, and university officials. Quite a few officials were tried on corruption charges, and an ex-military state governor was executed for gross office misconduct.

Muhammed took federal control of the country’s two largest newspapers – Daily Times and New Nigerian; all media in Nigeria was now under federal control. He also took federal control of the remaining state-run universities. On February 3, 1976, the Military Government of Murtala Muhammed created new states and renamed others, the states he created include: Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Imo, Niger, Ogun, and Ondo. This brought the total number of states in Nigeria to nineteen in 1976.

As head of state, Muhammed put in place plans to build a new Federal Capital Territory due to Lagos being overcrowded. He set up a panel headed by Justice Akinola Aguda, which chose the Abuja area as the new capital ahead of other proposed locations. On February 3, 1976, Muhammed announced that the Federal Capital would in the future move to a federal territory location of about 8,000 square kilometres in the central part of the country.

Towards the end of 1975, the administration implemented a mass purge in the Nigerian civil service. The civil service was viewed as undisciplined and lacking a sense of purpose. A retrenchment exercise was implemented as part of a strategy to refocus the service.

Source: Wikipedia

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