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Thursday, 28 November 2019

‘I wrote my biography to tell my story’

‘I wrote my biography to tell my story’

Former Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Alison Madueke (Rtd), has broken silence on his position on the incarceration of the late Moshood Abiola, winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential election annulled by the former military president General Ibrahim Babangida and the arms deal allegation that led to his retirement from the military.

Madueke, a former member of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFRC), who presented his autobiography “Riding the storms with God in my sails”, in Lagos on Wednesday, said he wrote the autobiography in order to tell his story.

He disclosed in the 500 page book that he warned that the continued detention of the late MKO Abiola by government was unconscionable, given that ‘we all knew that he won the June 12 election fair and square, and that our continued usurpation of his mandate was not justifiable.’

“I suggested that we have a dialogue with him, persuading him to accept release from detention and allowing government to restart a one-year political programme that would enable him to resume his journey to Aso Rock.

I noted that the demand by the NADECO for his immediately handover of government to Abiola was not feasible, knowing that a lot of water has passed under the bridge since the June 12 saga. Besides, it would be tantamount to a loss of face for the government,” he said.

On terminal date, he took the position that ‘as men of honour we should start a political programme immediately knowing that the Head of state in one of his addresses had promised Nigerians that his administration would not be in office more than 18months. ‘

“Some of us wanted Abiola out of detention and advocated an immediate commencement of a one-year political programme to end in the election of a democratic government. We asked that the Constitutional Conference be allowed to conclude its mission and provide recommendations that would guide the government on the way forward…

“Tension was reaching a peak in government and meetings with the C-in-C became few and far between, stalled by the apparent ill health of the man or his outright refusal to see the members of the Defence and Security Council and the Provisional Ruling Council,”  he said.

According to him, there were lots of rumours and crises of confidence worsened as no one knew what and who to believe and even the government was not sure of what it wanted and how to go about achieving them. He noted that blackmail, witch-hunt and misinformation became the order of the day.

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He said that to justify his sack, stories were spurn that he was importing arms in naval ships into the country, which was published in Classic Magazine then.

On the circumstances that led to his replacement as CNS, he recalled that in one of the council’s meeting he saw a newspaper report on his way to Abuja stating that he has been tipped to replace Gen. Oladipo Diya as the Chief of General Staff.  “We waited for an unusually long period expecting the Head of State and his Deputy to join us for the meeting.

When the ADC  to the Head of State came in, he invited the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Chris Alli, to the office of the C-in-C. Not quite fifteen minutes later, he returned to the conference room looking rather angry but saying nothing. I was later invited to see the head of state.

“On entering his office, I saw Abacha, his eyes screened by his dark goggles, seated behind his table with the Chief of General Staff, General Diya, sitting on the visitor’s chair in front of the boss, his chair slightly inclined and facing me.

I saluted and waited. Starring at a slip of paper in his hand, and not making eye contact with me, the Head of State said: “Well, Alison I have decided to change you as CNS. I effected no change in mien. Deliberately, I put a question to the Head of State.

“Why have you decided to change me? There was momentary silence in the room, because it was not expected that I should ask any question. ”Because I decided to change you, he blurted out.

I surveyed the two officers sitting, with me standing, and again deliberately replied: “Sir, since you have decided to change me, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve the country.” I saluted, turned to the right and marched off, back to the conference room.”

Prof Paul Egbuna Modum reviewer of the book, “Riding the storms with God in my sails”, an auto biography of Admiral Alison-Madueke in Lagos on Wednesday, described the author as a conqueror.

Present at the launch were former top military such as Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Akin Aduwo (rtd), His Royal Highness, Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, Alake of Egba Land, His Royal Highness Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Oniotsha, Dr. Paschal Dozie, Prof George Obiozor, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd), Major General Chris Ali (rtd), and representative of Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas.

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