Twenty-five years after he was unceremoniously retired by the late Nigerian maximum ruler, General Sani Abacha, former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Alison Madueke, has revealed why he was sacked from the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC).
Speaking at the launch of his autobiography, Riding the Storms with God in My Sails, at the Muson Centre, Lagos, yesterday, he said it was because of his support for the release of the elected civilian president, Chief MKO Abiola, whose victory in the June 12, 1993 elections, was annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida military government a year earlier.
“I decided to tell my story so that no other person tells it for me. When you have been in public office, all your actions can be interpreted in different ways. I will tell you a story. The one that comes straight to mind is the incident that led to our retirement and my fellow victim is here (Rear Admiral Akin Aduwo). One of the stories in this book is ‘The Arms Deal’ published by Classic magazine. It was two weeks after I had been retired, and I was inspecting a project in Lekki when I saw the story. Two of us agreed not to talk to the press, and that’s what we did.
“Now, to justify our sack, stories were spurned that I was importing arms in naval ships and that, when it landed in Apapa, the security came, and before they came, they were told they had been sent to a warehouse outside Lagos. And when they traced it, they only found a cigarette seller.
“…I was accused of joining forces with MC Ali. But, as we have it here, many months after I was retired, we were in Enugu and a journalist met with us, and told us that negative newspaper publication was given to them to syndicate to newspaper houses, and no media house accepted to publish it except Classic that collected N250,000 naira to publish it.
“So that is the reason I have to come out to say what really happened. From all intents and purpose, we took a stance that was for the benefit of this country, and we agreed that, if we were sacked, frankly, we don’t belong to this place (Provisional Ruling Council). So we went; we’re still here. Some of the people who sent us home are no more alive.”
Major General Chris Ali (retd), member of Abacha’s PRC, rated Madueke as one of the finest officers Nigeria ever produced: “There are two officers from the eastern part that we respect. They are both accomplished. They are both well trained. They are both gentlemen. They are the hallmark of leadership from the character point of view. Admiral Alison Madueke is one. The other is General Ike Nwachukwu.
“Anyone these could have been chief of army staff or chief of naval staff in UK or US, and they would give the right leadership. So, I want to say I am impressed with Admiral Madueke’s intellect in the book. I’ve not read it, but I know what he stands for. He’s the kind of man you’ll like to go to war with, and, if he’s at your back or moving you forward, you’ll see, and have confidence that he’ll achieve his objectives. In the Nigerian Defence Academy, they teach you about General Montgomery. We have our own Montgomery in Nigerian military. We have own Ike Nwachukwus. We have our own Alison Maduekes. There is no need training our men through the character of other people. You tell them about our own heroes. That’s how you build the national consciousness in your country.”
Rear Admiral Akin Aduwon (retd), former Chief of Naval Staff, commended Madueke for writing his autobiography, which showed his sterling quality as a writer.
“For a former sailor to have sat down and written this voluminous autobiography. This makes it an important performance, because it is from the mind of that man, that writer, personally putting down his experiences, not copying from the Bible or from the story of Nelson or Napoleon. It is a very marvellous thing,” he said.
He revealed that it was his ingenuity that prompted him to appoint him as a naval attaché to the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States.