Wife of Anambra State Governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano laying a wreath at Ironsi’s tomb. (It is a humiliation for a great General who had considered himself a lion)
In a country of wrong values, where heroes are rarely recognised, President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Major General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin and other top political and military office holders shunned the 50th memorial anniversary of the assassination of Nigeria’s first military Head of State, Gen Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi. Only the CDS, sent a representative.
However, there were glowing eulogies yesterday, at a church service marking the “dark jubilee” with those in attendance lauding the late General as epitome of patriotism.
They called on Nigerians to emulate the late General and imbibe patriotism, love and unity which they said characterized his life.
At a memorial mass held at St. Finbars Catholic Church, Umuahia, wife of the President, Aisha Buhari (who should not be the right person talking about the lives and times of Ironsi) described the late head of state as “a great patriot and a soldier’s soldier”, saying that from “all indications he stood for everything good about Nigeria in the beginning”. Represented by the wife of Anambra state governor, Mrs. Ebere Obiano, Mrs. Buhari said that Ironsi as the first military head of state worked for the unity of the nation and urged that the unity he stood for be emulated by all Nigerians for the good of the nation.
“From all indications he stood for one Nigeria. We appreciate and support the ideals he lived and died for,” she said.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Olonishakin, who was represented by Maj. Gen Edward Nze, reminded the nation that the event that led to the death of General Ironsi was as a result of the actions or inactions of past leaders which, in his view, is still having effect on the nation.
Olonishakin advised present leaders in the country to be thoughtful of their actions or inactions and consider the impact on future generations. “We should therefore learn from experience and think deeply before we take actions. Let us aspire to serve our country, love more, hate less and build a nation where justice and peace reign.”