There were glowing tributes as associates and friends of the former Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, late General Tunde Idiagbon attended the 20th year memorial lecture organised in his honour in Ilorin. UMAR BAYO ABDULWAHAB reports on the encomiums.
The man Idiagbon
He was simply known as a ‘fearless General’; some even said he rarely smiled but once in a year, yet others remember him with the ‘War Against Indiscipline’ (WAI) mantra through which sanity was restored in society.
Whichever way one wish to describe him, one thing everyone seems to have agreed about the former Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, (CSSH) General Abdulbaqi Tunde Idiagbon is that he detests indiscipline.
As CSSH under General Muhamadu Buhari’s regime, the late Idiagbon championed policies that many Nigerians viewed as stringent in the nation’s history.
Notable amongst them was the ‘War Against Indiscipline’ (WAI) and the ‘Anti-Drug Abuse War’ which he spearheaded ruthlessly in a manner that has never been witnessed since Nigeria’s attainment of Independence.
How Idiagbon is remembered at home
Twenty years after his death exactly Sunday March 24th, 2019, friends and associate of the late Ilorin born General converged at GRA Ilorin to grace the 20th year memorial lecture organised in his honour.
The lecture on the theme, ‘Patriotism and Selfless Service, Key Ingredients towards Nation Building- A Case Study of Late Major General Tunde Idiagbon’ was held at the instance of the Zealous Kwara Youths.
It was indeed a moment of sober reflection as speakers took turns to eulogise the virtues of the late General and recommended his leadership style to the new crop of Nigerian leaders
Amongst notable dignitaries at the lecture was a former military administrator of Kebbi state, Brigadier General Saliu Tunde Bello, a renowned labour leader, Comrade Issa Aremu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo and an Ilorin-based cleric, Ustaz Abubakar Aliyu- Kamal, former chairman, Teaching Service Commission, Haja Raliat Sanni
Like the saying that prophets are not respected at home, that almost became the case as only his former professional colleague in the army like Brigadier General Bello. Blueprint gathered that Bello, who was chairman of the occasion, wanted a more befitting honour for the late General.
Bello, in particular, asked the federal government to ‘properly’ immortalise the late Idiagbon as a mark of honour. for his service to the country.
Bello, for the first time, used the opportunity of the occasion to extol the virtues of the late general saying his outstanding virtues of discipline and orderliness is what Nigeria needed to attain nationhood.
Bello recalled, ‘‘As Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, the late Idiagbao worked enormously trying to correct the ills of the society, he introduced a lot of innovations in government and the economy, part of which was the War Against Indiscipline.
‘‘The federal government should give him proper recognition. We in Kwara state want to start working very hard to recognise him as our son of the soil: we should start including discipline in our ways of lives; we should start inculcating discipline and nature it,’’ he said.
He said Nigeria was lucky to have President Muhammadu Buhari re-elected to continue with anti-corruption war which he and the late Idiagbon started 20 years ago.
Nigeria in dire need of patriotic leaders
In his presentation, Comrade Issa Aremu, poured encomiums on Idiagbon for standing tall, saying he was incorruptible, faithful and audaciously loyal to the country.
He absolved both President Buhari and Idiagbon from the 1984 coup, which toppled the administration of late President Shehu Shagari, pointing out that the coupists of the period only needed the integrity of the duo to legitimise their actions.
Aremu lamented that Nigeria was still in short supply of patriotic leaders like the duo.
He said the lack of quality leadership is responsible for the situation the country found herself in the comity of other nations.
The labour party gubernatorial candidate in the just- concluded governorship election in the state, stated that some leaders in the country currently parade dual citizenship, declaring that they did not have total allegiance to Nigeria.
He said Nigerians owe it a duty to henceforth check profile and accomplishments of those striving to lead them before entrusting them with their mandate.
Aremu, thereafter, heaped praises on late Idiagbon for standing tall, saying he was incorruptible, faithful and audaciously loyal to the country.
“Before electing any leader, we should check their profile and accomplishments. Idiagbon was incorruptible, faithful and audaciously loyal to the country
“Today, loyalty is in short supply among our leaders. Idiagbon was committed to the war against indiscipline
“The coupists of 1984 needed the integrity and forthrightness of the duo of Buhari and Idiagbon to legitimise their action. They were never involved in the coup. That informed the invitation of the duo to head the government
“Today, we have unpatriotic leaders; they hold double nationalities. It means they do not have total allegiance to Nigeria. The point I’m raising is that we should check the level of patriotism of our leaders.
“To me, Buhari stands out tall as a patriot. He does not have money but integrity which is working for him,” Aremu said.
The unsung hero
In his remarks, the president of The Zealous Kwara Youths, Comrade John Adegboye, said his association will continue to single out people like the late Idiagbon whom he described as ‘unsung Hero’ for honour.
“General Tunde Idiagban is an example of unsung hero who deserves to be celebrated and it is the likes of him that Kwara Zelous would be celebrating.’’
He urged youths of the state to stand on the path of truth that would usher in growth and sustainable development.
While recalling the late General’s anti- corruption posture embedded in his war against indiscipline (WAI) mantra, Adegboye expressed concern over rising wave of corruption in the country.
He said the scourge has made a mess of economic and political sectors.
“Look around you today, the evidences of indiscipline and corruption are so visible that we do not have to search before we are confronted with them. Indiscipline and corruption has made a mess of our economy.
“Indiscipline and corruption made a mess of our political sector to an extent that we now have touts, miscreants and tyrants occupying highly exalted political offices.
“Senior politicians, senior public officers and senior military officers have through their actions and antecedents turned our beloved country into a laughing stock among the comity of nations of the world. It is disheartening,” he said.
The civil service under Idiagbon- Sanni
Also speaking, the former chairman, Kwara State Teaching Service Commission and chairperson at the lecture, Hajia Ralita Sanni said the late Idiagbon symbolises discipline and as such challenged organisers of the programme and all those who claimed they love him to always show discipline to reflects in whatever they do.
‘’They show discipline in all they do so that they can really show that they emulate the person they are being honoured in terms of war against indiscipline,’’ she said.
She recalled that the polices introduced by the Buhari/Idiagbon regime brought sanity into the civil service during their administration.
A chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, Chief Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, who was represented by a veteran journalist, Alh Tunde Mohammed, extolled the virtues of discipline, honesty and transparency displayed by Idiagbon when he was CSSH when President Buhari was a military Head of State.
Also speaking, Ustaz Abubakar Aliy- Kamal, an Islamic cleric recommended Idiagbon’s leadership style to Nigerian leaders.