The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari’s military government was toppled by the Ibrahim Babangida regime in 1985 is no longer news. But many of the‘behind-the-scene‘ events that led to the coup seem to be finding their way to the media since Buhari came back to power less than 3 months ago.
One of those who actively participated in the coup is retired colonel Abdulmumini Aminu, the Borno state military governor during Babangida’s regime. Aminu was the one who led some soldiers and officers to pick up Buhari from Dodan Barracks in Lagos then.
In an extensive interview with Daily Trust, Aminu revealed what led to the coup and the events that culminated before, during and after the successful coup. He also spoke about the insurgency in the North East, his foray into politics and his assessment of the Buhari’s administration and the general state of the nation.
Read the excerpts of the interview below:
His role in the coup
“I must confess that I led that operation. I went to Dodan Barracks that time in company of two other officers – then Major John Madaki and Lawan Gwadabe. Three of us went, but specifically I was the one that went upstairs to bring Buhari. With due respect, I have been reading in the papers and listening to radio, people saying that we manhandled him, we disrespected him. That was not true.”
On the insinuation that he handcuffed Buhari
“It is a blatant lie. In an operation of that nature, we don’t carry handcuffs. I did not salute him because according to military tradition and norms when the flag is lowered, you can only pay compliments the way you deem fit, not salutation. We met at 2 a.m. and at that time, we don’t salute because the flag is down, until 6 am again when the flag is up. To insinuate that he was handcuffed, that is far from the truth. We only accorded him all the respects he deserved. I still hold him in very high esteem.”
Responding to a question about his present political status
“I left the PDP, which was on a personal ground. I am in the APC. I have been in APC for long. I and Buhari met in Katsina before our governorship election.”
His assessment of the Buhari administration so far
” To be slow and calculative is a strategy. I don’t know what he might have met. Now, he is in a position to know how he would govern the country. First of all, he has to align all the dismantled areas. He has to put them right because he can’t just start doing things blindly. So, I have no complaint about that, I don’t have any worry about it, they should allow him to do things at his own pace and to do what he deems fit, because he is the person on the ground.”
His general assessment of the state of the nation
“Today Nigeria is being supported, respected from the outside world because of our number. Today, it is not because of our oil or economic potential that we are being recognized and respected, it is that number particularly. That number alone is why some people don’t joke with Nigeria. So we should harness that advangate into strength by being each other’s keeper and respecting ourselves.”
In a related development, Nigeria’s former national security adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has responded to allegations that he maltreated Buhari when the president was removed as the military head of state in the 1985 coup.
Details on Daily Trust