By CHIDI OBINECHE
LT Gen Ishaya Bamaiyi, Retd, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, COAS in the turbulent post June 12, 1993 political upheaval is smarting from self- evident hurt. In his book “The Vindication of a General” which is currently raising dusts, he exculpates himself from the bloody wrangling that characterized the period. He may have taken the bath of the hornbill donning innocence, but like the proverbial bat in the tale, he is yet to be accepted as a winged bird of the air or the sure- footed mammal of the earth by those he is straining to convince.
For many who are desirous of unveiling the undiluted truth of the scary events that snuffed out the lives of the presumed winner of the annulled June 12 ,1993 presidential elections, Chief MKO Abiola and the maximum ruler at the time, General Sani Abacha, his new effort is suspiciously viewed from the prism of self – conscious laundering and the fatalistic bludgeon of a posteriori by historical authors. A simple understanding of a hero suggests that he is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to preserve and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacle, but hardly squirms. To situate his circumstances in Peter S Beagle’s The Last Unicorn that “Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is part of the fairy tale” may not be totally incorrect. Madeline Miller in the Song of Achilles goes further to demand that “name one hero who is happy.” All through history, heroes are besmirched, a condition that has led to the aphorism that “ There are no heroes … in life, the monsters win.” Under the prevailing cloud of secrecy that has attended the June 12 convulsions, Bamaiyi emerges straight with the mark – of Athena. For has it not been said that in a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.
The former army chief has come full circle in shock and rivalry. In his hey days, he was the maximum opus in the deification of rulership. His shocking rivalry with his sibling, another military general and then fire eating chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Musa Bamaiyi rocked the epitome of decency. Some heroes are said to be usually suicidaly gloomy when sober, and homicidally insane when drunk. Therein we locate the army general, and upon this we find him guilty and his new work helplessly boring. According to Frank Miller, The noir hero is a knight in blood caked armour. He is dirty and he does his best to deny the fact that he is a hero all the time. Bamaiyi casts himself as the ultimate protagonist, a knight in flying armour, a saint among sinners, and the troubadour that overwhelmed and soared beyond reproach. His plight and misery glean from the fact that he worshipped the late Abacha. For was it not said by Aidous Huxley in “ Ends and Means” that “ So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.” He forgets in his haste to score that no man’s a hero to himself. He may want to look like a court dandy, but next time he ventures into this orbit he must come with a comb. Unwittingly, he may have ended up complicating the simple instead of simplifying the complicated.
He was born on September 21, 1949 in Zuru, Kebbi State. He was commissioned into the Nigerian Army infantry Corps on short service in 1968 as a member of SSC4. He attended the following courses; Nigerian Defense Academy, NDA Kaduna, 1968, Young Officers Infantry Corps, 1971, Advanced Infantry Company Commanders Course, UK, 1976, Command and General Staff College, United States, 1981 – 1982, International Management Course, USA, 1986, and Senior Executive Course, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, in 1992.