A former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd), has claimed that former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), overthrew General Muhammadu Buhari in 1985 and promoted indiscipline in the armed forces.
In his new book “Vindication of a General”, Bamaiyi stated that a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), was the first Nigerian president to encounter the problem of indiscipline.
He said that Gowon made efforts to restore discipline in the armed forces.
“The efforts were successful until 1985, when General Babangida overthrew General Buhari and declared himself President,” Bamaiyi stated.
He also revealed how Buhari’s removal by Babangida brought back indiscipline into the armed forces.
“I was then the Commander Officer Guards Battalion, Keffi. The unit was in charge of security for Abuja, and it handled General Buhari’s security anytime he was in Abuja. Discipline was thrown to the winds when General Babangida used majors to arrest Gen. Buhari, a head of state and a major general.
“These majors had known Babangida at the Defence Academy, and he mostly influenced their postings to the armoured corps.
“It was bad enough that junior officers were used to arrest a head of state, a major general, but these same majors were compensated by being appointed as military governors,” Bamaiyi stated.
According to him, under IBB, Majors and Lieutenant Colonels were posted to states which were supposed to be governed by Major-Generals and Brigadiers.
“In the Army, majors are supposed to be company commanders in charge of 90 to 100 men, at best, they are battalion second-in-commands in charge of battalion training. They are supposed to run around in the field with soldiers in training,” he stated.
“As a result of their special relationship with President Babangida, these majors had free access to the President. It got to a stage that senior officers who wanted to see the President had to go through them.
“This made some of these officers arrogant and sometimes rude and they became uncontrollable. Eventually, this attitude spread to other officers, who were close to them.”