Last week, I promised to reproduce today some of the responses I got to my columns of the previous two weeks. The tribute to General Muhammadu Buhari elicited 43 texts while the subsequent one on the centenary of Government College, Bida, my alma mater, got 53. Both also elicited a few emails.
My usual approach whenever I decide to publish readers’ reactions to a previous piece is to write on my topic of the day first, and end with the feedback. This time I started out with copying and pasting the reactions I’d promised before writing the week’s piece. By the time I’d copied and pasted the more interesting and insightful responses, 11 on Buhari, 15 on my old school, they added up to nearly 2,200 words; about 700 more than the word limit for the column.
So I was left with a choice between devoting the entire page to the readers and writing still. I chose the former because, besides giving me a week’s break, the reactions, as the reader would probably agree, were germane to the crises of political leadership and education that have bedevilled this country, what with the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, for instance, threatening to implode over jockeying for vantage positions by its heavyweights ahead of the 2015 general elections.
In choosing to devote the entire page to the responses, I had, of course, to reduce the number from the original 26 and edit several of those left to fit the column space and spell out the text spellings and jargons. I hope you find the reactions as insightful as they are interesting.
First, on General Muhammadu Buhari at 70…
I am an admirer of Gen Buhari. He represents the ideal of humanity and our collective hope to rebuild a new Nigeria. But Buhari’s greatest obstacles are the Northern elites that have been manipulating and skewing electoral processes to favour their candidate whom they trust would protect their interests. Buhari, to them, would pursue policies that are likely send them to the gallows. The North betrayed Buhari in 2011 through the governors elected on the platform of PDP. If the North supports Buhari in 2015 most southerners will queue behind him just because we are tired of this inept and corrupt leadership.
The question is, is the North ready to queue behind Buhari?
Barr Kolade Ilesanmi, Ise Ekiti. +2348030640311
The ‘MORTAL’ fear of my people is that Buhari will ISLAMISE Nigeria. I strongly doubt this because he can’t play God. I need information on how to join his party.
Gen. Buhari remains the darling of many Nigerians. The media war against Buhari was symbolic of the cynicism of the other parts of the country towards Chief Obafemi Awolowo when he was alive. His respite only came after his passage. In the case of Buhari I hope we will not count our loss much later. Tunde Esan +2348033109878
You are speaking for Gen Buhari as if he is a saint. We have not forgotten history when he chose to cancel bridge construction in Lagos. Most of the PTF roads he constructed were done in the North on a ratio of 4:1 against the South. This same man refused pardon after backdating the sin of Bartholomew et-al. Shagari (the president) was under house arrest while Ekwueme (the vice-president) was jailed by Buhari for years. Several southerners were also jailed while few Northerners like Rimi were jailed because they talked.
I never loved this man, Buhari. In fact in 2011, I not only did not vote for him but vigorously campaigned against him. But if he comes out today, I will not only vote but will campaign for him because I have come to realize that he is the only man neat enough to clean this our beloved country from its excreta of corruption. GEJ, who has lost the capacity to lead, has failed us and any attempt to give him a second chance will be catastrophic for our nation. We need nationalistic leaders now and not presidential ethnic champions.
Comrade Chris E. Onuoha +2348033423615
Northerners feel the media is against Northern leaders. Not true. Tell me which Nigerian leader, from the colonialists to President Jonathan that has not come under the fierce and relentless fire of the Nigerian press. I have come to see that it’s God’s democratic way to ensure that Nigeria never ends up with a Mobutu or a Gaddafi. Notice that no Nigerian leader, military or civilian, no matter the scheming, has been granted by the Almighty to reign up to 10 yrs. The media hounds them out.
… and the GCB Centenary
I refer to your article of January 2nd 2013, extolling the college and singing the praises of our heroes and shining stars. But here I come again. In paying tribute to the fallen GCB heroes you omitted Capt. Haruna A. Auna. He was the one quoted by you in an earlier article on Magaji Danbatta’s autobiography “Pull of Fate” and erroneously referred to therein as Capt. Abdu Auna. Capt. Haruna Auna was in the same class as Gen. Wushishi. He was killed during the July 1st 1966 riots in Kano because he did tried to stop the mutinying soldiers from doing as they pleased.
Buhari A. Auna. Gwarimpa, Abuja.
Your piece on Government College Bida’s centenary was quite revealing except for your omission of some notable old boys like late Ambassador lsa Koto (1920), renown educationist, late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene and His Royal Highness OHIMEGE Igu Kotonkarfe (1922).
Secondly in your mention of outstanding premier secondary schools in the north you left out Okene College, now Abdul Aziz Memorial College, renamed after the former federal super permanent secretary who was a prince of Okene.
Please next time you are writing a piece like this you should be fair and generous because some of the ones omitted also made sacrifices just as those mentioned. You should not concentrate on military products alone as you appear to have done.
Your write up as an alma mater of G.C. Bida on its one hundred years of establishment is commendable! But one missing old boy worthy of note is the late Alh Idrisu Alhassan Kpaki (1956-1961), Chief Imam of Kpaki, Niger State, and one time Minister of State, FCT. He became the first old student to serve as its principal.
A slight correction, if you will, on your take regarding GCB as, “the only secondary school to have produced two military leaders of this country…” Barewa College, Zaria, had Generals Gowon and Murtala. Also if you count General Murtala Mohammed’s remove class (JSS) then Rumfa College, Kano, too had him and General Sani Abacha.
Military School, Zaria, has produced the highest number of generals in the armed forces.
Except for your mention of late Col Taiwo, I would have accused you of beaming your searchlight on Northerners only! I became a friend of the College in 1955 through Ladiji Gbadamosi, my age mate and bosom friend. He was of 1958 set, an all-round athlete who represented the school in many competitions and one of the first boy-scouts to visit Britain with my own classmate, late Gen Martin Adamu. Ladiji was a bank manager who travelled all over this country before retiring to become a world class businessman.
Deacon Fehintola, Former National President, KURU OLD STUDENT ASOCIATION(KOSA). +2348033835939
In your write up on Govt College Bida Centenary you mentioned Col Garba Dada Paiko as late. We belong to the family of late Col Abogo Largema who was killed in the 1965 coup in Ikoyi Hotel. Col Dada served as his ADC. We lost contact with him for some time until I read your write up. May his soul rest in peace.
Alhaji Ali, Maiduguri. +2348033141078
This is wishing your old boys’ association the best of luck as you set about redeeming its lost glory. However, like Caesar the poet, the school deserves a few knocks on the head for producing the highest number of dictators and feudal lords.
Ogacheko Opaluwa, Abuja +234806709090
Your column on Government College Bida Centenary makes interesting but shocking revelation i.e. the dismal failure of its last WAEC result – less than half a dozen of 200 students had four credits and above. We came to GSSB (then) in 1966 as the first batch of HSC students, about 21 of us. At the end three of us were withdrawn due inadequacies in WAEC, 15 were directly admitted to universities while the remaining three came in through back-up preliminary studies. That was the Bida we knew and cherished. Alhaji Yunoos F. Oyeyemi, the principal at the time, is very much alive and active. May be BOSA may need to change strategy now to qualitative HUMAN RESOURCE SUPPORT. For me it was a very remarkable two-year sojourn.
Mohammed A. Ahmadu. +2348032103986
Please why have you not mentioned the Sokoto Middle School, now Nagarta College, among the older Northern schools? I think it is older than the Bida. Sardauna himself went to the college. So also did former president Shehu Shagari, late Sultan Abubakar III, Sultan Dasuki and host of others.
Mohammed Augie. +2348039660007
Note Alhudahuda College, Zaria City, established in 1910, has been outstanding too.
Bulus Saliyuk. +2348055125945
Ambassador J.T. Kolo was never SSG in Niger State. He was Head of Civil Service.
Baba Akote +2347083581112