ICYMI: A simple phone call could’ve removed Jonathan, made Dambazau head of state – Ex-Army spokesman

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A former Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman (rtd) has disclosed that only a sense of patriotism and entreaties from foreign diplomats stopped then Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau from removing former President Goodluck Jonathan from office in 2010.

Usman, who retired voluntarily in 2019, made the disclosure at the 2022 Blueprint Newspapers Annual Public Lectures and Impact Awards on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said he was among senior Army officers that worked with Dambazau to foil a brewing coup d’etat among military top brass which could have plunged the nation into crisis.

Usman, “One thing Nigerians do not know is that if we are counting champions of democracy in this country, there is no way you will not mention Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, and I will tell you why.

Sani Kukasheka Usman
Sani Kukasheka Usman

“Way back in the days when President Umar Yar’Adua was sick, he was the Chief of Army Staff and I had the privilege of being public relations officer in the office of the army chief. I had the privilege of moving with him. We always moved together and I knew.

“Even though he is a prolific writer, he is yet to come out with his memoir and part of that memoir should be an expose of those people that undermined democracy in this country.

“I am saying this with every sense of responsibility, because that time the same group of politicians were the ones lobbying him to take over government unconstitutionally. We have the records and when he started writing the memoir, with due respect to him, I told him that he had to mention the names of the individuals so that posterity will remember them for who they are.

“Up till now, we are still contending with that issue and I know that the international community showed concern, to the extent that they had to meet with him, where he promised that he will not take over government.

“We still live with the flaks, where in some parts of the country, they call us women, because an opportunity came and we did not take advantage of it to take over government. Now, what am I driving at? All these issues that we are talking about lack focus on critical issues, discussing mundane issues; they are threatening the very corporate existence of this nation.

“When we visited 44 Reference Hospital, Kaduna, people were asking when is the announcement going to be made about taking over the government. I’m so happy General Akinyemi, the GOC 3 Armoured Division, is still alive. You can ask him,” Usman said.

He noted that a phone call from Dambazau to Major-General Akinyemi could have led to Jonathan’s overthrow.

Usman did not say whether Jonathan was briefed about the coup moves.

He also did not say if the army personnel that prepared the coup moves and demanded the announcement were punished.

Dambazau was removed as Army chief while on a trip to the United States with Jonathan in 2010.

President Muhammadu Buhari made him Minister of Interior in 2015.

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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