Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 30 July 2016 | 3,736 times
The Nigerian military has warned the country’s leaders to be wary of the impact of their actions on future generations.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, issued the warning on Friday during the memorial mass held at St Finbarr’s Catholic Church, Umuahia, during the 50th memorial of the assassination of the country’s first military Head of State, General Johnson Thomas Umunakwe (JTU) Aguiyi-Ironsi.
The CDS, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Edward Nze, blamed the death of Ironsi on the actions or inactions of past leaders, adding that it was still having effect on the nation.
He, therefore, advised the present crop of leaders to be wary of their actions or inactions and consider the impact of such on the future generations.
“We should, therefore, learn from experience and think deeply before we take actions,” he said, adding: “Let’s aspire to serve our country, love more, hate less and build a nation where justice and peace reign.”
Also speaking at the occasion, the wife of President Muhammadau Buhari, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, described Ironsi as “a great patriot and a soldier’s soldier,” saying that “from all indications, he stood for everything good about Nigeria in the beginning.”
The First Lady, who was represented by the wife of Anambra State governor, Mrs. Ebere Obiano, noted that the first military Head of State worked for the unity of the nation hence what the stood for should be emulated 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 noted
Mrs. Buhari also commended Ironsi’s widow, Lady Victoria, for being steadfast in running the family for the past 50 years after the death of her husband. She said that Mrs. Ironsi has over the decades showed commitment, courage and selfless service.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu, who was represented by his wife, Nkechi, said that “Ironsi lived and died for the unity of Nigeria.” Ikpeazu urged Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of hard work, patriotism and love for fellow men.
The first son of the late Head of State, Ambassador Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, in his remarks profusely praised the late Lt.-Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, the then Military Governor of defunct Western Region, who died with Ironsi, his guest at the time of their assassination.
“Lt.-Col. Fajuyi was a great man. He became a sacrificial lamb and followed the Head of State to death,” he said, adding: “We salute the entire Fajuyi family and urge them to keep the flag flying.”
Earlier in his homily at the memorial mass, Rev Fr. Aloysius Nwabeke noted that 50 years after the assassination of Ironsi, nationhood was still elusive, adding that the only people that really believe in Nigeria are those benefitting from the inequitable system.
According to him, Ironsi was “a champion of unity, who gave his life for his country and yet is not remembered by his country.”
He said that majority of Nigeria’s population still wallows in poverty while corruption thrives in spite of the numerous churches in Nigeria as people worship and praise money, instead of worshipping God in spirit and in truth.
The cleric condemned the selfishness of Nigeria’s present leaders, warning that “Nigeria is too big to be ruled by one selfish man. We need constitutional democracy; we need a change.”
One of the highlights of the event was the blessing of Ironsi’s tomb by the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji, followed by the laying of wreaths by the representatives of President Buhari, Governor Ikpeazu, the CDS, and the Nigerian Legion.
•Photo shows Gen. Olonisakin.
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