Lt. General Ipoola Alani Akinrinade claimed (in a viral WhatsApp message) that Obasanjo’s sense of judgment is defective, we decided (as usual) to take a deep dive into the past and evaluate his claims.
Fact Checking Akinrinade's Historical Account
Akinrinade wrote that: … Some of us who knew him in the military and were privileged to see him operate during the civil war know if there is one thing Obasanjo is not blessed with, it is a good sense of judgement. Nigeria unnecessarily lost thousands of soldiers because of his poor judgment at the war front.
The statement that Obasanjo's poor judgement was responsible for the death of thousands of Nigerian soldiers is false, it is pure misinformation. Observe the only commander that was relieved of his duties for losing almost 6,000 troops in a single battle is late Murtala Muhammad. His convoy was ambushed at Abagana and his troops were decimated (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abagana_Ambush for details).
Another commander whose troops equally suffered heavy casualties was Buhari. His mission to prevent supplies from reaching Biafran troops resulted in heavy loss of lives (see page 78 of Momoh’s recollection of the war).
Surprisingly, Akinrinade’s personal account of the incident as documented by a Vanguard reporter (see https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/07/they-nearly-foxed-akinrinade/) is factually challenged, there is no secondary authority to support his claims. The interview quickly revealed a man hungry for attention and resentful that Obasanjo (a true war hero) is hogging the spotlight. A major suspect in his story is his claim that he refused to carryout Murtala’s orders without suffering any consequence – interestingly no secondary authority backed up his claim.
He further wrote that: “Alabi Isama has done justice to this topic in his book – The tragedy of Victory - so one need not repeat” - Why did he specifically mentioned Alabi Isama? Short answer, both are aggrieved that they are not recognized for what they perceived as their contributions to the war (see https://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/09/war-hero-on-biafra-years-no-peace-in-nigerias-53yrs-of-hausa-igbo-rulership-gen-alabi-isiama/ for details). It is obvious that both men are attempting to drum up their contributions and rubbish the contributions of their celebrated commanders.
Curiously, Alabi Isama revealed his pettiness and littleness with this statement: “Obasanjo has claimed so much for what he did not know, and where he didn’t visit, let alone attack. He didn’t attack anywhere, or capture anywhere; he didn’t command a battalion or even a brigade. Now he was saddled with a division, the best division of the Nigerian Army at the time and that was difficult for him. But he didn’t want us to see that it was difficult for him.” - Alabi Isama is trying hard to rewrite written history, if Obasanjo did not visit or attack or capture anywhere, how come his division (of which Alabi claimed to be a member) split Biafran territory in two before engaging in the final showdown that led to the end of the war? It is obvious that Alabi is bitter. We rate the statement that Obasanjo found it difficult to lead his division as false. It exists only in the bitter mind of Alabi.
Akinrinade’s other argument against Obasanjo are the same old and stale complaints that Obasanjo failed to install Awolowo as President. However, he repackage this old and staled argument by including Nnamdi Azikwe as the second southerner whom Obasanjo should have installed while leaving office. Observe, the war decimated millions of southerners (from the East and West) whom were eligible to vote, on the other hand, it rarely affected eligible voters from the North. The predominant North simply used their majority to vote for their kinsman, while the Igbos snubbed Awolowo because they felt he sold them out during the civil war, hence their refusal to vote for him.
Perhaps Akinrinade and his kinsmen expected Obasanjo to break the will of the majority, rig the election and enthroned Awolowo his kinsman! In the light of the foregoing, we rate his claim that Obasanjo rigged the election to favor Shagari as false!
His remaining claims are not worth mentioning since they are all factually challenged. The fact that his post favors President Buhari (who appeared with him in the image above in 2015) speaks volumes. I rest my case.
Final Verdict: Both Akinrinade’s and Alabi’s claims are factually challenged. They shouldn’t be taken seriously.
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