From far away United States,former Abia State Governor Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu literally triggered cannon shots as he wished one time Kano state governor, Col.Sani Bello who clocked 70 recently, more fruitful years ahead.He also paid tribute to late General Mohammed Shuwa,a statement by Emeka Obasi, media adviser to the former governor said.
Kalu explained the eulogies.”Col. Bello and Gen.Shuwa were professional soldiers who obeyed the rules of engagement all through service to the nation.And the good thing is that when they left the Army, they distanced themselves from controversy,”Kalu said.
Accordind to him,”Not many remember that Bello,as a young Lieutenant,was Army Aide-De-Camp[ADC] to Gen.Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi.And we should all remember him for saving the life of Ironsi’s Airforce ADC, Lt.Andrew Nwankwo during the July 29,1966 coup.”
Kalu tells the story.”Troops led by Lts.Garba Dada Paiko and William Walbe had pushed Ironsi,Col.Adekunle Fajuyi,Nwankwo and Bello into a Land Rover.Among those soldiers were Useni Fagge,Tijanni Maiduguri,Clement Dabang and Ibrahim Rabo.Instead of taking their ‘captives’ to Mokwa Guest House as ordered by Major Yakubu Danjuma,they were driven to Olodo village near Ibadan.As they were marched down,Nwankwo managed to escape miraculously.His saving grace was Bello, who also risked his own life.”
On Gen.Shuwa,the ex-governor said,”Having taken over command of the 5th Battalion Kano from Col.Emeka Ojukwu, Shuwa curtailed the pogrom in the North.At a time,Shuwa was willing to shoot those killing and maiming Igbos in Kano. In fact,he ordered his troops to fire bullets into the air to control the bloody situation.
Shuwa,Murtala Mohammed,Ibrahim Haruna and Iliya Bisalla joined the army same day.From Teshie,Ghana in 1958,the quartet moved to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst,Britain as part of Intake 27,1959-1961.All four were General Officers Commanding[GOC] during the Civil War,They also attained the position of minister.
“I wish the living a happy birthday,and the dead a peaceful rest,”Kalu summed up.