From GEORGE ONYEJIUWA, OWERRI
A former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamsa Al Mustapha (rtd) has blamed what the country is going through today on years of bad leadership.
The ex-Army officer who spoke with Saturday Sun in Owerri where he attend ed the fifth memorial anniversary of the late Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, however, admitted most of the attributes needed to lift Nigeria up were possessed by the late Ikemba.
According to him, “During my own travails after the death of my boss, General Sani Abacha, I had the privilege of being allocated the same cell room in which the late Dim Ojukwu was detained after the military coup that sacked the civilian government of President Shehu Shagari in 1983 and learnt that while most of the politicians then had gone into hiding, the late Dim Ojukwu who was not occupying any position in the then NPN government had personally reported to the authorities. So, that is the hallmark of a great and courageous man, and Ojukwu understands the essence of unity and good leadership which has been the problem of the country and that was his spirit.”
He revealed that he had continued to honour invitations to attend Ojukwu’s memorials because of his deep respect for the late Biafra leader, who he said, was not only a distinguished military officer but a sincere leader of Ndigbo who had sacrified his comfort and his inheritance to ensure the survival of his people against all odds.
Al Mustapha who was accompanied to the event by a large entourage said, “I have continued to honour the invitation of Chief Uwazuruike to attend the memorial anniversary of the late Dim Emeka Ojukwu because he was a nationalist who preached unity, equality and equity irrespective of where you come from.”
Referring to the decision to lead Igbo to war, Al-Mustapha stressed that “Ojukwu was a nationalist, a reliable and sincere leader whose legacies should be cherished. Ojukwu had taken the decision he took at the time because of the circumstances and did what a true leader should have done. So, those who still view the actions of the Dim Ojukwu as trying to break the country are not true leaders because no real leader would be happy to watch his people suffer.”
Also speaking with Saturday Sun, founder and leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Dr. Fredrick Fasheun said Ndigbo should continue to celebrate Ojukwu for his uncommon leadership attributes even when most Nigerians do not recognise that.
According to him, “Ojukwu means a lot to Nigeria and the world, not only to the Igbo. The Igbo are only lucky that he came from Igbo land. That we are here today in great numbers celebrating, means that Ojukwu is not dead because he continues to live in our hearts. The Yoruba will continue to support the cause of justice, equity and fairness which Ojukwu represented while he was still with us without which the country will know no peace. Ojukwu had left a legacy of service not only as a military officer but to Ndigbo and Nigeria because he was a rare breed. Nigeria is in quest of leaders in the mould of Ojukwu who is not afraid to speak the truth at all times. And it is the proper time to honour such a man because Nigeria never value rare heroes until they are gone.”