Abeni Aso-Oke

Chairman, Editorial Board, Ebony Herald International Magazine, Mallam Ilyasu celebrates distinguished public servant, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji on birthday. By Binta Haruna

Abeni Aso-Oke

It was in April 23rd 1990 in Jeddah KSA, a day after April 22nd attempted coup in Nigeria where I had a close contact with Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji.

Abeni Aso-Oke

It was the time when a faction of Armed Forces officers, led by Major Gideon Orkar, attempted to overthrow the government of General Ibrahim Babangida.

He sent for me and met him in the company of late Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmed, then the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Abeni Aso-Oke

His requests bordered on two critical issues, namely the fate of the regime and his wife’s return journey to Nigeria.

The meeting was short. Yes, there was an attempted military coup to topple the government, but it was foiled and the President was alive and well.

The other request was succinct. He said to me and I quote: “I am leaving you in charge of my wife to ensure her safe passage back to Nigeria as I intend to catch the next available flight back home.

I’m informed that there would be flight to London from where I would connect and I don’t intend to miss it.”

Two things immediately came to my mind. One is Loyalty and the other is Patriotism. How could he be thinking of coming to Nigeria when the political climate was very precarious?

Even though the coup attempt was crushed, his influence in the government was envied by most people in and out of government. He was a very important cabinet member of the regime whose perceived dominating influence was to the envy of most cabinet members.

It was something like no love lost if he was to suffer in the hands of those whose intention was to change the sitting government.

Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji was true to his words and intention. He came back to Nigeria and continued to work culminating his career as the Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the UK.

To remain loyal and patriotic to Nigeria and served close to 6 years as High Commissioner in London. In order to avoid being accused of undermining General Abacha’s government, he disengaged his services from London when his father in law, late Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki ran into problems with the late Head of State Gen Sani Abacha.

He relinquished his appointment to the satisfaction of his wife and return home where he continued to advice the governments of Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi until he voluntarily disengaged himself from being active.

Our prayers are with him for longer life in good health of body and mind. He remains the epitome of hope for all Nigerians. He served Nigeria to the best of his abilities.

Congratulations and happy 85th birthday Sir. Wishing you a more prosperous years ahead.


M. K Ilyasu,

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