By Tajudeen Olanrewaju

I am deeply saddened by the passing of my treasured friend, General Ahmed Abdullahi Aboki. He will forever occupy a pride of place in the development and growth of our nation. His contributions to his nation as an officer and a gentleman will remain imperishable. His non-regimental postings as the military administrator of Kwara State and later as a minister of the federal republic are equally noble and important.

My relationship with Aboki predates our encounter in the Nigerian Army. I fondly recall our formative years in the early 1960s when Aboki intelligently spurred discussions on contemporary affairs with the Alli brothers, the late Maikasuwa Sule, Kabir and other friends. The Lagos Central Mosque environ was our favourite haunt for these meetings.

Aboki led a distinguished career in the Nigerian Army, and was a passionate patriot, devoted to duty and country.

Earlier in our military career, Aboki and I served together at the Onitsha warfront, where we deepened in friendship and martial comradeship in the cause of protecting our nation.

I vividly remember his last days in the army. During a particular visit to my office, when I was the Minister of Communications, Aboki observed prophetically, “Gasper, now that I am being pushed out, I suspect that you will be the next. His words were both a friendly warning and eventually, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

However, Aboki’s early retirement from the Nigerian Army – an event driven by polical intrigues and power plays – did not detract from his years of meritorious military service, or preclude his contributions to national development as the Minister of Communications, Social Development, and Youth and Sports. Indeed, his devotion to national service was unfaltering, resolved and true.

In spite of various challenges, Aboki remained affable and selfless. Perhaps, the foundation of his sincerity to friends and family was the fact that he always stayed true to himself. In this vein, Aboki remained an unwavering patriot till his final days.

While words cannot begin to capture the pain of losing a bosom friend, I must now believe that he is in a better place.

Adieu Ahmed. May The Almighty Allah accept your soul and watch over you. Aljannah Fridaus.

•Major General Olanrewaju rtd, former GOC Third Amored Division, Jos, was also a former Minister of Communications.


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