Nigeria Lost Momentum In Its Stride To Greatness With Murtala’s Assassination, Says Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari-Murtala Mohammed LecturePresident Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said that the demise of former military Head of State, Late General Murtala Mohammed, made Nigeria to lose momentum in its stride to greatness.
Mohammed was Nigeria’s head of state from 1975 until his assassination in 1976 in a bloody military coup.
Speaking at the Murtala Mohammed 40th Memorial Lecture in Abuja, President Buhari said that the head of state was loyal and dedicated to one Nigeria.
He challenged Nigerians to always demonstrate the virtues of loyalty, honesty and determination like Mohammed rather than mourn his death.
Imbibing these virtues, he said will make Nigeria better.
President Buhari, who was a young army colonel when Murtala Mohammed was assassinated, noted that Nigerians mourned the death of the late military ruler because he was on his way to putting Nigeria back to the path of order and discipline, after years of drift, corruption and near despair.
According to him, the late Mr. Mohammed’s motto was to get the job done as quickly as possible, stressing that no one could doubt his inspirational qualities or call into question his love and dedication in the service of Nigeria.
Buhari also listed two major developments among Murtala Mohammed’s legacies to include movement of the capital to Abuja from Lagos and the creations of seven new States.
Pointing out that the late elder statesman was his senior in the Army, the president said that he developed a great liking and respect for him on account of his professional excellence, competence, straight forwardness and genuine interest and concern for up-and-coming officers like him.
But he said: “Of course, no one is without flaws. He was a man in a hurry, and sometimes this could make him appear abrupt or even moody.
“But what he could not tolerate was incompetence and idleness. By the time Murtala was given Command during the Civil War, the Federal side was on the defensive.
“The rebels had over-ran the then Mid-West, and reached as far as Ore, just 100 miles from Lagos.
“By dint of sheer bravery, improvisation and resourcefulness, he mustered a rag-tag group of soldiers, integrated them into an entirely new division, knocked them into fighting shape, recovered Mid-West and ventured across the Niger”.
The Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Murtala Mohammed Foundation, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (Rtd.), expressed great joy for being associated with the late head of state early in life.
He commended the efforts of the foundation and advised its leadership to embark on aggressive media campaign with a view to educating members of the public on its activities and achievements so far.
The guest speaker at the event, Mr David Richards, who spoke on the topic, ‘Regional Security and State Building: Portents and prospects’, noted that inter-state and intra-states rivalries had continued to make the world unstable for mankind.
Richards, who is a former Chief of Staff and professional head of the British Armed Forces, therefore, challenged leaders to find lasting solutions to socio-political crises across the world.
The Chief Executive officer of the Murtala Mohammed Foundation and widow of the late head of state, Mrs Aisha Mohammed-Oyebode, hailed President Buhari for embarking on the crusade against corruption in the country.
She also commended the efforts of the Buhari-led administration towards the fight against Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.
Mrs. Mohammed-Oyebode was hopeful that the abducted Chibok schoolgirls would soon be rescued in view of the successes being recorded by the Nigeria Army and other security agencies in the country.