Nigeria, today commemorates the 39th anniversary of the brutal assassination of one of it’s most staunched veteran, General Murtala Muhammed.
General Murtala Ramat Muhammed (November 8, 1938–February 13, 1976) was a military ruler (Head of the Federal Military Government) of Nigeria from 1975 until his assassination in 1976.
General Murtala Muhammed was killed, aged 37, along with his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Akintunde Akinsehinwa, on February 13, 1976 in an abortive coup attempt led by Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka, when his car was ambushed while en route his office at Dodan Barracks, Lagos.
He was succeeded by the Chief of Staff, Supreme HQ Olusegun Obasanjo, who completed his plan of an orderly transfer to civilian rule by handing power to Shehu Shagari on October 1, 1979. Today, his portrait adorns the 20 Naira note and Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos is named in his honor.
Remembering the life of General Muhammed comes with some lessons for Nigeria’s present leadership. One, which probably is the most important, is the late General’s “tough, dogged, and fearless” attributes, which are claimed to have been what distinguished him from General Gowon and endeared many of the rank and files in the military to him. Nigeria, like any country in the world, needs a leader that is not only decisive but fearless in fighting the many scourges of the nation, particularly corruption.
At the young age of 37, General Muhammed was already Nigeria’s number one citizen. At the time of his death, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was born in 1909 was 67 years old; Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, born in 1904 was 72 years old and Sir Ahmadu Bello who was born in the year 1910 and assassinated during the 1966 coup would have been 66 years old were he to be alive then.
One lesson to be learned is that age doesn’t necessarily equate to successful leadership. If General Muhammed, alongside General Obasanjo and General Danjuma could have been leading the affairs of Africa’s biggest country at the time, those politicians who participated in that political dispensation, should be brave enough to relinquish power to the younger generations of today.
The fact that many of them currently remain in power suggests that they are not after the good of the nation whose youths have over time been deceived to be future leaders, ostensibly for the selfish purpose of retaining power.
Source : ThisDayLive