IT is no longer news that two famous Generals of the Nigerian Army, General Adeyinka Adebayo and Brigadier-General Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia have transited to the world beyond. It is said that old soldiers never die. They simply fade away.
However, these two Generals have died. While General Adeyinka Adebayo is yet to be buried (it is being said that his burial may take place in May), Brigadier-General Osaigbovo Ogbemudia has since been buried in Benin about three weeks ago. The two Generals were Generals of repute. They cannot be forgotten in the history of Nigeria.
General Adeyinka Adebayo
General Adeyinka Adebayo was born in Uyin Ekiti (few miles from Ado-Ekiti) the Capital of Ekiti State). There is something associated with Uyin Ekiti in my life history that cannot make me forget the General Adeyinka Adebayo’s home town.
In 1956, I had gone in the company of my colleagues of the Boys Brigade in my primary school days to attend a Boys Brigade camp. I was then the Commander of a unit of the first Ekiti Boys Brigade squad.
I then did not know that two of my friends who belonged to my unit of the Boys Brigade Company were not happy with my appointment as the Commander.
The two adversaries of mine were able to hit me hard by removing my belt as a measure of discrediting my leadership. I never knew of their plot until my unit was inspected early one morning by the Boys Brigade Leaders.
On getting to my unit, I later discovered that my belt (the symbol of my leadership) had been removed. When I discovered this conspiracy, it was clear that my leadership had gone. I cried and was saved by the man in charge of the camp who was the Camp Brigade Commander. He was Mr. Maraiyesa from Ago Iwoye in present day Ogun State. Mr. Maraiyesa supplied a new Belt for me and consequently restored my leadership of the Boys Brigade unit.
When we returned to our various locations after the Camp experience, I reported this case to my father who was the Chaplain of our first Ekiti Company at Ifaki-Ekiti. I told my father the names of my adversaries and told him. I would never forgive the youngmen in life. My late father laughed and advised me to put the events behind me. My father said to me that it was not right as a Christian not to forgive those who have wronged us. I must however say that till today, I have found it difficult to forgive one of the two boys who was infact my primary school classmate.
When General Adeyinka Adebayo came into the political scene and was reported to have come from Uyin-Ekiti, it was obvious to me that the General was from a town that I simply cannot forget. My friends at the University of Lagos (during my undergraduate days Balogun our then Sports Secretary) and Omiyale aka “UPGA BUREAU” were all natives of Uyin-Ekiti.
General Adeyinka Adebayo came to the political scene after the assassination of General Aguiyi-Ironsi and Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi (the then Governor of old Western Nigeria) in the 1966 counter coup (this is a long story that cannot be told now). It was General Adeyinka Adebayo who had been appointed to succeed Adekunle Fajuyi as Military Governor of the old Western Region. With the murder of Fajuyi, the people of Western Nigeria simply lost confidence in the military leadership but to the credit of General Adeyinka Adebayo that it was he who restored the confidence of the people of the West in Military governance and restored stability to the region. General Adeyinka Adebayo never reneged on his programme of ensuring the stability of Western Nigeria in the military governance of Nigeria. The odds were many against him but he succeeded. He was easily the most senior military officer in the Nigerian military of his days. He however never allowed that to becloud his sense of judgment. He was a believer in Nigeria’s unity. He did everything to sustain the country’s unity. I respected him and never allowed the respect to wane until he (General Adeyinka Adebayo) left the political scene.
He joined politics in 1978 and became a member of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) that had the late Papa Akinloye as leader and Alhaji Shehu Shagari as President. Though I never believed in General Adebayo’s politics, I however never lost my respect for him. We were all irredentist supporters of Papa Obafemi Awolowo and could never have been associated with the NPN.
I however mentioned that General Adeyinka Adebayo carried himself well and had a matured understanding of the contending forces of Nigerian politics. He was a member of the Yoruba Council of Elders. Kunle Olajide aka “Express Obongo” was the Secretary that played vital role in the politics of Nigeria at that time.
Today, General Adeyinka Adebayo has gone to the world beyond. He now belongs to the ages. May his soul rest in peace!
Brigadier-General Samuel Ogbemudia
By the time you read this, Brigadier-General Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia would have been buried in Benin City (Capital of Edo State). I know Ogbemudia very well. We had served together as members of the first General Sani Abacha government put together in November 1993. Ogbemudia was a fine gentleman. He was a nationalist who understood well the politics of Nigeria.
He was a former Military Governor of old Bendel State that had in its midst today’s Edo and Delta States. He governed the Bendel region very well and he was able to assemble a team of patriots who never compromised with the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria.
As military Governor of Bendel State, his achievements will forever stand in his honour for all time.
He created the Afuze Sporting Village where sports men and women were trained. Bendel State of Ogbemudia’s days became the very best in Nigeria for years in sports.
I remember that a National Sports Festival held in Nigeria in early 1970, Bendel State had stolen the show with women driving the sportsmen and women of Bendel State into Lagos No state was able to push the Bendelites aside in sports when Ogbemudia was in charge as Military Governor. Ogbemudia established the Observer Group of Newspapers and had the very best among the Nigerian journalists to manage the newspapers. He had the late Uncle Tayo Akpata as Commissioner for Education. Tayo Akpata was from the famous and political Akpata family of Benin that produced the likes of the late Senator Olu Akpata, Mrs. Onajide (nee Akpata) a militant and ideological female journalist who ignited the socialist image of the Akpatas, the late Bankole Akpata who was a Pan Africanist colleague of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, the first revolutionary President of Ghana. The late Bankole Akpata was nicknamed “BANKIE FOR EVER”.
Uncle Tayo Akpata was a close friend of “Egbon” Femi Okunnu and the two men were foremost members of the Committee of Ten. The Committee of Ten became loudly opposed to the politics of Papa Obafemi Awolowo. We (supporters of Papa Awo) never liked them and we said so in several articles we had published at that time to oppose the Committee of Ten. What must however be said is that Uncle Tayo Akpata was very much behind all the successes of the Ogbemudia administration in Bendel State.
Brigadier-General Samuel Ogbemudia also established the ETHIOPPE PUBLISHING HOUSE. It was this beautiful publishing outfit that had published the Samuel Goomsu Ikoku’s book on his sojourn in Ghana during the Action Group crisis of the first republic. The book was titled “LE GHANA DU NKRUMAH”. The analysis of this book is for another day.The book was first published in French by MAESPERO, Paris.
Ogbemudia was a man of ideas whose touch on situations simply became a Midas touch. He was an accomplished man that will never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria. He has been buried but his revolutionary spirit goes marching on. The two Generals have departed this world of sin but we will continue to sing their achievements to the high heavens.
Good-Bye and Good-Night!
EBINO TOPSY – 0805-500-1735 (SMS ONLY PLEASE)