Emulate Murtala Mohammed’s virtues to make Nigeria better, Buhari urges Nigerians

Photo: www.vozafric.com

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday urged Nigerians to always demonstrate the virtues of loyalty, honesty and determination to make Nigeria better as demonstrated by former Head of State, late Murtala Mohammed.

The President made the call while speaking at the Murtala Mohammed 40th Memorial Lecture in Abuja.

He said Nigerians, irrespective of their age brackets, should always exhibit the good virtues of Murtala Mohammed rather than mourn his death.

Mr Buhari noted that the country mourned the death of Mr Mohammed because he was on his way to putting Nigeria back to the path of order and discipline, after years of drift, corruption and near despair.

He said Mr Mohammed’s motto was to get the job done as quickly as possible, saying no one could doubt his inspirational qualities or call into question his love and dedication in the service of Nigeria.

”We are here to honour a national hero and patriot, not to mourn him, and to take a few lessons from his achievements:

”His love for Nigeria and Nigerians, from wherever they came; His intense professionalism; His impatience with incompetence and lack of patriotism; His loyalty to friends and colleagues.

”His life, short though it proved to be, was marked by an extraordinary passion, energy and determination to do better, and to make Nigeria better.

”These are values that young and old alike should all remember and celebrate.

”On assuming the role of Head of State in 1975, Murtala set out with a single-minded determination seldom seen in Nigerian leadership. Decisions were on fast-track,’’ the president said.

He also stated that many major developments were prominent among Murtala Mohammed’s legacies, and these included the move of the capital to Abuja from Lagos and the creation of seven new States.

The president, who noted that late Mr Mohammed was his senior in Army, said he developed a great liking and respect for him on account of his professional excellence, competence, straightforwardness and genuine interest and concern for up-and-coming officers like him.

According to him, of course, no one is without flaws. He was a man in a hurry, and sometimes this could make him appear abrupt or even moody.

”But what he could not tolerate was incompetence and idleness.

”By the time Murtala was given Command during the Civil War, the Federal side was on the defensive.

”The rebels had over-ran the then Mid-West, and reached as far as Ore, just 100 miles from Lagos.

”By dint of sheer bravery, improvisation and resourcefulness, he mustered a rag-tag group of soldiers, integrated them into an entirely new division, knocked them into fighting shape, recovered Mid-West and ventured across the Niger.

”Alas, there were terrible casualties on both sides, but sacrifice and loss were part of the risks of war,’’ Mr. Buhari said.

Retired Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, who is the Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the Murtala Mohammed Foundation, organisers of the annual lecture series, expressed great joy for being associated with the late Murtala Mohammed early in life.

He commended the efforts of the foundation and advised its leadership to embark on aggressive media campaign with a view to educating members of the public on its activities and achievements so far.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who also represented former President of Namibia, Mr Lucas Pohamba, noted that the death of Murtala Mohammed, 40 years ago, left an indelible mark in African history.

He extolled the virtues of the former Nigerian Head of State, describing him as a natural leader.

The guest speaker, David Richards, former Chief of Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces, noted that inter-state and intra-states rivalries had continued to make the world unstable for mankind.

Richards, who spoke on the topic, ”Regional Security and State Building: Portents and prospects,’’ challenged leaders to find lasting solutions to socio-political crises across the world.

The Chief Executive officer of the Murtala Mohammed Foundation, Mrs Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, saluted President Muhammadu Buhari for embarking on the crusade against corruption in the country.

Muhammed-Oyebode also commended the efforts of the Buhari-led administration towards the fight against Boko Haram insurgency in the North Eastern states of the federation.

She expressed the hope that the abducted Chibok schoolgirls would soon be rescued in view of the successes being recorded by the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the country.

Murtala Mohammed was assassinated in a military coup on Feb. 13, 1976.


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  • Mali

    the moron want us to emulate a war criminal. It will not be well with you

    • MilitaryPolice01

      how is Murtala a war criminal

      • onyema22ohaka

        Murtala Mohammed & Ibrahim Taiwo were the butchers of Asaba. Massacredi innocent civilian women,children & men.

        • Julius

          Just like Achuzie was killing and rapping young Ijaw boys when he invaded them.

          • onyema22ohaka

            You are just another idiotic yoruba gibberish commentor.I pray that the same evil murtala mohammed & Ibrahim Taiwo visited on innocent people in Asaba & onitsha be visited onto too.Amen.

          • Julius

            Yea, I see you have nothing to say about what Achuzie did. I guess that was okay with you.


            Achuzia did not fight in Ijaw land,he was not on that front.

          • Julius

            I bet you lead the invasion of the Ijaw land and all the way to Ore !


            It was Ifeajuna and Banjo fighting to Ore.

          • Julius

            oh Really ? What do you know, a Yoruba officer fighting on the side of biafra. Is that the reason you call us cowards and hate us so much ? Ojukwu murdered him and some others. Another fine officer he murdered was Njoku, for dare to tell him the truth that he cant win a war without weapons and fighting the Federal Government will be disaster . He was right. Wasnt he ?


            Banjo was a man of conscience and a hero irrespective of his circumstances……just like Wole Soyinka,he stood against injustice and pogrom.

          • Julius

            Wow, another Yoruba man on the side of biafra. There were lots of them but, facts has never meant anything to you people. Dont forget the Col. that gave up his life defending an Ibo man. He could have simply let them kill him and walk away. He didnt.All cowards, right ?


            Banjo remains a hero,I do not care about the circumstances leading to his demise.

          • Julius

            More of a hero than the Gen. that ran away with his car. His Car !!. I cant get over that. He left people behind but, took his car with him. Chei !! By the way, It was Fajuyi that died protecting Ironzi, an Ibo man


            Fajuyi was a man of honour,an example of loyalty and dignity at it’s best he will remain. The great Ojukwu an everlasting Icon of self determination and the indefatigable General of the peoples army of Biafra. A hero will he remain.

          • concernednigerian

            He was in Port Harcourt.


            Is PH Ijaw land ?

          • concernednigerian

            Yes. You’re an highly educated man based on your output hence you would not argue blindly. Port Harcourt consists of the Township which was the original Port Harcourt and the suburb which consists of Diobu, Umumashi, Rumueme and all the Rumus’. Both the Township and the Suburb make up today’s Port Harcourt. That should not be strange just as what was ceded to the British by the rival Houses of Kosoko, Akitoye and Dosumu was originally Lagos Island. THe British eventually expanded to include the mainland hence Lagos became the Island and the mainland. With respect to Port Harcourt, Okrika chiefs sold the Township to the British who wanted more land hence the Chiefs brought in their allies, the people of Diobu village. In short the suburb of Port Harcourt is owned by Ikwerre villages while Port Harcourt Township was sold to the British by the Amanyanabo of Okrika Ijaw. The suburb is by far bigger than the Township because expansion was Northward since a Southern expansion would mean dredging mangrove forest. I repeat Diobu, Rumueme, Rumumasi, Rumu-okoro and so on are owned by Ikwerre villages and they are part of expanded Port Harcourt. The Township which is original Port Harcourt has not expanded. Dr Obi Wali failed in his bid for a Port Harcourt state before the Justice Irikefe Panel because he was disowned by Okrika Chiefs who presented the agreement they signed with the British selling Port Harcourt. Obi Wali was left stranded because he came from the suburb of Port Harcourt. Had he asked for Diobu or even Ahoada State with Diobu as the Headquarters who knows? You cannot come from Ikeja and ask for Lagos Island State. Our brothers from our Northern boundaries are so fascinated with Port Harcourt without bothering to find out the history. You now understand our reluctance in joining the IPOB demonstrations because it is being whispered that our brothers have excessive interest on Port Harcourt which is not entirely Ikwerre. At present, when Ikwerre chiefs die, they confine their demonstration to Diobu but never to Port Harcourt Township. I am sure you have learnt something today that Port Harcourt consists of the Township and the suburb. The Township though smaller is Ijaw and the expanded suburb is owned by Ikwerre villages. Based on your level of education you will recognise the need not to exhibit irredentism because it militates against unity in the former Eastern Nigeria. I thank you.


            Well,Igweocha as it was called before the name PH came to be is owned by more than one tribe and the Ijaw inhabited the margins by the Atlantic in some areas but generally,it is not an Ijaw town.

          • concernednigerian

            Irredentism was the basis of disunity in the old Eastern Nigeria and will continue to be. One has respected you and explained the situation both historically and contemporaneously yet you’re holding on to a fallacy on an issue that you know nothing about. You’re not a son of the soil yet you’re determined to cause trouble for others. You have been told that there is a legal document of purchase between the Okrika Ijaw and the British which also torpedoed Obi Wali’s quest for Port Harcourt state and you’re still arguing. What is Igweocha? What was the name before the arrival of the Whiteman? Or you think Igweocha refer to Onitsha people? There is no basis for unity between the entities that make up the old Eastern Nigeria. I now understand the lukewarm attitude towards the agitation for Biafra. We cannot live together because of the attitude of our bigger neighbours.


            ..But you confirmed my assertion that more than one tribe owns the area today known as PH,what is your discontent then ?

          • concernednigerian

            One tribe sold Port Harcourt (Township) to the British and still have the agreement of Sale. They own original Port Harcourt. These are the Okrika -Ijaw. Others own the suburb of Port Harcourt. They are the Ikwerre villages and nobody will fight them over their land which is massive. There is a difference between the Township, which is Port Harcourt, and the suburb of Port Harcourt. The Township has access to the high sea whereas the suburb does not as you would expect of an hinterland community. Hope you have learnt to confine your claim of Port Harcourt to the suburb. If Obi Wali, a man from the suburb could not succeed in claiming Port Harcourt and was disgraced at the Irikefe Panel, how can hinterland Igbo further afield claim Port Harcourt? Confine your interest to the landlocked hinterland suburb of Port Harcourt and nobody will fight you for as long as the Ikwerre, who are neighbours to the Ijaws accommodate you. I must confess I am now despondent about a united Biafra consisting of the old Eastern Nigeria. We do not have to stay together to fight over Port Harcourt.


            I was actually born in Port-harcout,no one is claiming PH you are being too sensitive and unnecessarily paranoid……you can sell out to the Fulani then and remain “safe”.

      • Julius

        Because he kicked their asses !!

  • JM

    From all angles, Murtala Mohammed was like any other Nigerian, full of contradictions. The good thing is that he had an opportunity to change for the better and for the good of Naija and he did. The question now is, will you and I change for the betterment of Nigeria instead of just talking rubbish and pointing accusing fingers? Just look in the mirror, not APC or PDP, for the change you are looking for.

    • Julius

      Thank you ,well said !

      • onyema22ohaka

        Provide the link or facts to substantiate your claim. All the information you need are on line as I imagine you belong to the generation that were denied the study of history of project Nigeria zoo.

        • Julius

          Get out , move to biafraud !. That should be simple enough.Online fake, scam and chest beating about how you hate Nigeria wont make your utopia fraud of a country happened. Just do it. MOVE !!!

  • Screw-em

    Murtala shook the foundation of Nigeria in the short time he lead the nation. Everyone , l repeat everybody showed up at work promptly at 8am or pick up your pink slip from Human Resources. No other leader in the history of Nigeria has come close, managed such feat or sowed such fear and dedication to duty as the indomitable LION of Kano….Sai changii- Buhari is the only leader that has come close.

  • Murtala Muhammad and his generation of dictators are better forgotten than to emulate. Look no further to how Nigeria became a mess it is today. Just look at the series of mediocre and autocratic governance foisted on us for 45 yrs. Nigerian history will not be kind to all the dictators.

  • Otile

    Colonel Murtala Mohammed’s looting of £10,000,000.00 from the Bank of Binin City is nothing to emulate, nothing to write home about. May the soul of Colonel Suka Buka Dinka rest in peace. Amen.

  • favourtalk

    Maybe is soul rest in peace. Thanks for the kinds words you said right there my able president. God will continue to be with you in he fight against the corruption and cabals


    Murtala Ramat Mohammed led troops who carried out a lot of massacres of civilians in Biafra,we do not love him and honestly we are more interested in the repose of the souls of his victims.

    • 3rd Marine Commando

      When trouble sleeps, let no Biafran buffoons go wake it up. If they do as blockhead Nnamdi Kanu is vituperating lately, PALAVER is what they’ll collectively find by the Power of God Most High, Chineke. Amen.


        Murtala Mohammed is surely in the hottest part of hell for his crimes against innocent civilians. May Amadioha bend your neck !

        God bless Bukar Sukar Dimka !!

  • 3rd Marine Commando

    I was still a little boy when the horrible civil war started in 1967. Despite all entreaties, the Igbo Biafran rebel leader Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, launched an attack on his former military colleagues of the Federal Republic of Nigeria army in a futile attempt to create a utopian state east of the Niger which he rightly called REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA since history has it that the Igbos originally migrated to the area they currently are located from Biafra mountains and jungles of the place now known as Gabon and Cameroon.

    The mistakes Ojukwu made were many but a major one was in trying to make the ETHNIC MINORITIES Biafrans, those that solely by virtue of federal geo-administrative division, found themselves in EASTERN NIGERIA and had as their then military governor Col Odumegwu Ojukwu. Modern day neo Biafrans, having no deep and good knowledge of all issues of those pre-war days and weeks, erroneously carry on as if the Kalabaris, the Ijaws, the Ibibios, the Ogonis, and other minorities of then Midwest (known today as Edo and Delta States and also South South) – the Aniomas, Tshekiris and Uhrobos – were happy to be part of a dream Biafran Republic, not knowing that the minorities detested Ojukwu and his henchmen and all they stood for, for none of the minorities willingly or voluntarily partook of Biafra’s dinner of secession, BUT RATHER, WERE FORCED by the marauding Biafran murderers to do so, giving them Ibo family names in place of their own original ethnic names in order to, if I may neologise, IBOLISE every dweller and citizen of the new Igbo-rule nation so-called Biafra. Reader can imagine!

    The second mistake the Biafrans made was to have faced Yoruba Lagos in a fatalistic dream of making Yoruba Lagos part of a Greater Biafra, slaughtering DEFENCELESS farmers, women and children of villages and towns of Midwest and Western Nigeria along the way up until ORE town on the Benin-Lagos highway. Imagine the bloody subhuman nature of the Biafrans of those gory and dire days!

    These Igbo Biafran troops, armed with machine guns, artillery and poisons were marching to Lagos of the hospitable Yorubas, the latter who gave the Igbos shelter when the Igbos were being slaughtered like fowls in the Hausa north.

    But God, Chineke, is not mocked! Glory to God for Brig Murtala Mohammed who gathered boys of northern and middle belt extractions, trained them for a few weeks and marched from the northern direction on the Biafran troops in Ore. The Yorubas and the Binis and the Tshekiris and Uhrobos likewise also got mobilised and marched from Lagos in the west and both the Murtala Mohammed and Lagos forces surrounded the Biafran murderers in Ore town in the historically very poignant BATTLE OF ORE, wiping them all of the Biafran misadventurers out with WAR DEATH that was DIVINELY due those wild Biafran savages, hence the popular Lagos Yoruba phrase and folk song: “Ole ku, ija Ore!” (Meaning: Tough till death, the Ore Battle!)

    With the greatest warrior that Nigeria ever had, the Yorubaman called Lt Col Benjamin Adekunle already encroaching on the Biafran defence of the city of Port Harcourt (a city built in Ijaw land by LtCol Harcout of the British colony army) that earlier on had been stolen by the Igbo Biafrans, of course it was no more a matter of IF but WHEN would be the end of the MADNESS called Biafra!

    Lt Col Benjamin Adekunle having finally broken through the Biafran defence of Port Harcourt, decimated and moored the Igbo Biafrans till the Igbo farming village of Umuahia and another great Yoruba warrior by name of Major Olusegun Obasanjo took up the challenge from Adekunle and encircled Enugu where the Biafran warlord himself was hopelessly and cowardly hiding in a bush under a baobab tree.

    For anything the Igbos may want to babble about the Yorubas or Obasanjo, they collectively owe their good existence and salvation to the Yorubas and Ojukwu singularly owed his escape to Obasanjo, the latter, which allowed the escape with the light aeroplane sent by Dr Houiphoit Boiny, then president of Cote d’Ivoire, to taxi and take off from Enugu airport tarmac with the contents being the humiliated and defeated leader of a failed Biafran state.

    May God deliver our dear fatherland/motherland and Republic from the likes of Andy Ubah, Nnamdi Kanu and Ralph Nwazuruike, who had not bothered to seek for the truth or maybe, in all possibilities, do have the Truth but have decided to ignore it, agitating for yet another civil war, the end of which the Igbo as another people, may no more be in existence as a CORPORATE BODY OR TRIBE, but with all lands, east of the Niger, being populated by representatives of ALL OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS AND TRIBES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.

    I plead the holy Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.