Abuja—Former spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Kukasheka Usman (rtd), yesterday, revealed how ex-Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), was pressured to topple President Goodluck Jonathan following the passing of President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2010.
The Authority newspaper reports that Usman made the disclosure in Abuja at the 2022 Blueprint Newspapers Annual Public Lectures and Impact Series/Award.
He said Dambazau not only resisted the pressure from people the former army spokesperson described as enemies of Nigeria, but he also promised the international community, which got wind of the development, he would do no such thing.
The revelation came as Dambazau suggested a drastic reform of the entire security sector after the 2023 general election.
Recounting how Dambazau resisted pressure to overthrow the Jonathan government, Usman said, “One thing Nigerians do not know is that if we are counting champions of democracy in this country, there is no way you will not mention Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, and I will tell you why.
“Way back in the days when President Umar Yar’Adua was sick, he was the Chief of Army Staff and I had the privilege of being public relations officer in the office of the army chief. I had the privilege of moving with him. We always moved together and I knew.
“Even though he is a prolific writer, he is yet to come out with his memoir and part of that memoir should be an expose of those people that undermined democracy in this country.
“I am saying this with every sense of responsibility, because that time the same group of politicians were the ones lobbying him to take over government unconstitutionally.
“We have the records and when he started writing the memoir, with due respect to him, I told him that he had to mention the names of the individuals so that posterity will remember them for who they are.
“Up till now, we are still contending with that issue and I know that the international community showed concern, to the extent that they had to meet with him, where he promised that he will not take over government.
“We still live with the flaks, where in some parts of the country, they call us women, because an opportunity came and we did not take advantage of it to take over government.
“Now, what am I driving at? All these issues that we are talking about lack focus on critical issues, discussing mundane issues; they are threatening the very corporate existence of this nation.
“When we visited 44 Reference Hospital, Kaduna, people were asking when is the announcement going to be made about taking over government. I’m so happy Gen. Akinyemi, the GOC 3rd Amoured Division (Jos) is still alive. You can ask him.
“A simple phone call to him to roll out the tanks and Gen. Dambazau would have been head of state, but he resisted that temptation, simply, because he had the interest of this nation at heart and he knows that democracy is the best form of government for this country.”
Recall that Dambazau was at the time accused of ordering troops to Airport Road, Abuja, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport without Jonathan’s authorisation at the death of Yar’Adua.
It was also alleged that the then Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike (rtd), once restricted Dambazau’s movement to his residence as army chief over his suspected “ambitious moves”.