Professor of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, Ifeolu Adewumi, has narrated how General Muhammadu Buhari, who was the General Officer Commanding, 2nd Mechanised Division at the Command’s Office in Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State, cut off military supplies to voluntary paramilitary organisation, Man O’ War Club in 1981.
The 69-year-old academic and former President of National Union of voluntary paramilitary organisation, Man O’ War Clubs in Higher Institutions of Nigeria, stated this in an exclusive interview with Saturday PUNCH.
He said, “As members of the Man O’ War Club, we did community service in those days. That was the main objective and not to run after politicians or guard any big man as it is today. We looked for what to do in communities and we assisted in terms of security. Also, if there were no latrine, we built it; if there were no footbridges, we provided it. Our duties were purely about serving the community.
“Usually, soldiers from the Nigerian Army came to train us. They also took care of our camping materials, food, uniform and others. I recollect meeting General Buhari. That was in May 1981. I went there as the Commander-in-Chief of Man O’ War club in UNIFE.
“I went there with other officers in the Man O’ War. When we got there and filled the form to say that the commander-in-chief of Man O’ War was there to see him, we waited for about 20 minutes and when he (Buhari) came out, he said, ‘I was told that there is a C-in-C in the Office of a GOC, I think it should be the other way round.’ Buhari is a very humorous person. I got the joke and I saluted him and got up. And he said, ‘Now that we know who is in control, you can come into my office.’
“I went in and introduced everybody and requested logistics support for Man O’ War. The next thing General Buhari asked was that. ‘How many northerners are in your university?’ I said, ‘Sir, University of Ife is a regional institution in the Western Region, there will be more people from here than from other tribes. In ABU (Ahmadu Bello University), there will be more northerners than other tribes and in (University of Nigeria) Nsukka, there will be more Igbo there.’
“He said, ‘Okay, okay, how many of you have joined the Army?’ I mentioned a few people. He then asked how we managed (to get) our uniforms and I told him. He studied us and said, ‘I am writing my handover notes. By the time you come in two weeks’ time, you will meet the person in charge, he will tell you our decision’.
“Two weeks later, we went back and we met General Joshua Hananiah. He is late now. After retirement, he was appointed the Corp Marshal for the Federal Road Safety Corps. Then, he said, ‘I have bad news for you. By the next time you come, we must not see you in Army uniform. If we see you in Army uniform, we will treat you as impersonators and you know what that means’.
“I tried to raise an objection but Hananiah said, ‘Don’t you know when a senior officer has given an instruction, you don’t go against it? That is an order’. As the Commander-in-Chief for all Man O’ War clubs in Nigeria, I told the other commanders to come over to Ife and told them not to use the Army green uniform anymore for our safety and that was why we changed the Man O’ War uniform to brown khaki that you see today. That was how the military cut off supplies to Man O’ War Clubs.”
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