JUST IN: Obasanjo’s Organic Father An Igbo Man From Onitsha – Rtd Col (Dr.) Majekodunmi

JUST IN: Obasanjo’s Organic Father An Igbo Man From Onitsha – Rtd Col (Dr.) Majekodunmi

…I Retired From The Military As a result of Of Abacha

…Insecurity: Tinubu Inherited Most Of Nigeria’s Issues

Chief (Dr) Sunday Adekunle Majekodunmi is the present Aare Ona Kakanfo of Egba-land, and the Otun Ba’asegun of Egba-land. On this explosive, unique interview with YEMI ADEBISI and TITILOPE JOSEPH, he speaks on sacred topics that border on life, drugs, politics and nationhood<<>>

At the same time as he celebrates his ninetieth birthday on Monday, March 18, Majekodunmi, former Chief Medical Officer to the Normal Officer Commanding (GOC), TY Danjuma, bares all of it, leaving no matter too controversial. He additionally weighs in on the present state of the nation and his hopes for all times after loss of life.

Inform us about your youth.

I used to be born on March 18, 1934 at Ijebu-Ode as a result of my father was working with UAC; he was promoting motor components and that’s the place he met my mom. I spent a few years in Ijebu-Ode earlier than I moved to Abeokuta the place I spent my early years. I attended a missionary faculty in Ikereku space, and after secondary faculty I went to Oke-Ona United Faculty (OUS) at Ibereke, Abeokuta. I used to be within the faculty until 1947 December. After I was younger, I moved with a nasty gang and we gained’t go to high school. Ogun River was near the college, and earlier than exams, we might go to a Babalawo (herbalist) to provide us voodoo that might assist us keep in mind the reply within the examination corridor and he would give us a handkerchief to wipe our faces and we truthfully believed him then.

Sadly, I used to be solely being promoted on trial every year. Considered one of my huge cousins, who was a instructor within the faculty, was the one who uncovered me at residence and informed my household that I used to be not studying somewhat, it was voodoo that I used to be relying on.

That was how I discovered myself in Ibadan Boys Excessive Faculty in 1948. When there was no ‘babalawo’ anymore, I began finding out. Throughout the first yr leaving certificates examination in 1951, I got here first and since I used to be doing nicely, my father acquired me a faculty the place I’ll have my secondary schooling in the UK (UK), as a result of we have been underneath colonial rule.

I didn’t take any Unity Faculty examination; if I had taken, I might have come first once more.

Whereas my father was planning on taking me overseas to review, considered one of his aunts ‘Iya Ibadan’ visited and he informed her of his plan for me and the girl stated to her youthful brother, that, if you wish to ship Sunday (that’s my identify) overseas to review, you could embody in his baggage, a lady or a woman as a result of ladies won’t permit him to review nicely and that put an finish to my ambition to go abroad. I ended up in Lagos Boys Excessive Faculty in 1952 the place I spent one yr.

In 1956, I completed my faculty leaving certificates and was employed at Adeoyo Hospital in Ibadan as a clerk. My father used to inform everyone that his son was going to be a medical physician.

I acquired to the UK on December 2, 1957, throughout winter. At the moment, you would solely go abroad formally via Western Area. It was a part of what Baba Awolowo did for us, and I used to be met at Liverpool by a consultant of Western Area.

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After I was in Nigeria, I used to be working with the Ministry of Well being, so that they took me to a well being heart within the South of England.

Whereas I used to be within the UK, there was no person to oversee me, we have been simply shifting from one dancing corridor to a different. So, I moved to London to complete all my papers for O’ stage. I heard about Coventry Technical Faculty, which is now a college and I noticed a few of the boys there who have been my classmates, not in the identical faculty, however from totally different faculties. So, I ready for my GCE.

By 1960, I handed my topics, so by October 1, I used to be already within the College of Glasgow. I stayed in Glasgow for six years to do drugs. I accomplished it on June 1, 1966.

In 1963, I used to be passing out blood in my urine after my second Masters in Bachelor (MB), they usually thought it was schistosomiasis. It’s a illness that we get once you go to swim within the Ogun River, which I did rather a lot.

They found that I had congenital illness of the bladder, which I used to be born with it. They name it cystitis cystica.

I heard the professor inform the registrar that it’s not curable.

They stated I had 10 to fifteen years plus or minus within the medical area. What it means is that I can solely dwell 10 to fifteen years. Once they completed speaking, I didn’t look forward to a prescription as a result of it was not curable, so I went again to Glasgow. I don’t wish to inform you what I did then, I imply, for somebody who was ready to die.

Each weekend, we should have a celebration at quantity 42, Buckley Road, Glasgow.

From there, I did my home job, surgical procedure in Glasgow, after which drugs in Leeds in England. In my closing yr, I had a girlfriend, a white lady, Jennifer. She got here to do midwifery. I acquired her pregnant and she or he gave beginning to my first son. Regardless that we have been by no means married, she was actually my first spouse. I returned residence to Nigeria on July 28, 1967.

You will have a vivid reminiscence, how can you keep sharp even at your age?

I ascribe it to a superb life. I don’t get entangled in one thing I can’t deal with. I’ve been careless up to now, no person’s good. I additionally imagine in future; if God says you will attain one place, you’re going to get there. I imply, I didn’t know that I might even attain this my current age due to what they informed me within the theater, that I’ve 10 to fifteen years, plus or minus. So, yearly, I have a good time my birthday. My spouse used to ask me why, and I inform her I don’t know, I simply really feel like I’m somebody that was informed he’ll die and remains to be alive in the present day.

I joined the Military in April 1968, I got here residence the identical month in the course of the warfare, and College Educating Hospital Ibadan (UCH) paid for my ticket, Jennifer and our son, Mark.

After I acquired residence, my mom stated I need to not marry the white lady. Alongside the road I met my Nigerian spouse whom my mom authorised of, and we acquired married on April 7, 1969.

How did you be a part of the Nigerian Military?

Keep in mind I informed you that I used to be despatched to Lagos to help with the warfare effort. They used to convey casualties from the warfare entrance, and we helped in eradicating their bullets. That was through the Civil Warfare.

By January 1,1968, I used to be already in Lagos on the Navy Hospital, Yaba. I used to be their first Commandant.

After I noticed the best way the warfare was going, with Ojukwu promising to have breakfast in Lagos. I stated, ‘over my lifeless physique’.

So, I joined the Military by April 26, 1968. I used to be commissioned as a Captain. I used to be shipped to 44, Navy Hospital, Kaduna as a Normal Obligation Medical Officer (GDMO).

After staying there until the warfare completed within the first week of October 1970, I went to the UK to do a postgraduate in Preventive Well being Drugs. I spent two years there. My spouse additionally acquired a scholarship at LUTH, so she joined me there. She’s a professor of ophthalmology.

We got here again residence collectively, and whereas she went again to LUTH, I went again to the Military as a result of we have been each on scholarship.

After I acquired to Lagos headquarters, they shipped me to 3D. It was once 3 Marine Commando however now, 3 Armored Division because the Chief Medical Officer to the Normal Officer Commanding (GOC), TY Danjuma because the CO 3 Area Ambulance in Port-Harcourt earlier than we moved to Jos in 1975.

Inform us about serving within the Nigerian Military; the great and the dangerous.

What I’ll say concerning the Nigerian Military is that not all of the folks that have been killed have been responsible of mutiny or coup plotting, a few of them have been simply unlucky to be there on the fallacious time. I keep in mind the case of a younger officer. He was an evening obligation officer who went to submit a report however he was unlucky to be within the room the place the coup plotters have been simply coming from. They noticed him and stated he was amongst them.

Nonetheless, the military is a pleasant place, you simply should be content material together with your life. Don’t get entangled with stealing. There was one Main Yaya, who was a Kano boy underneath my command on the Navy Hospital. He was a awful officer, who didn’t watch what he stated. He was in a Nigerian airplane from Ghana with different officers and he was naive sufficient to say he dreamt that there was a coup and Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), who was all the time afraid of his personal shadow, acquired wind of it from his boys. So, after they got here to arrest Yaya, I stated, the one weapon he had was the one he signed for on the hospital armory the place we stored ammunition, so, he couldn’t have been planning a coup. Why would he? He was within the Pharmacy Division. I wished to go and pleaded on his behalf, however one of many officers requested me to watch out and that I mustn’t participate, as a result of that they had made up their thoughts on what to do with Yaya.

However I nonetheless wrote one thing good, as a result of I knew he was naive. Nonetheless, they didn’t kill him, they only retired him. So, what I’m saying is that someone needs to be cautious about what he says and the place he says it at any given time.

Are there any memorable occasions that come to thoughts?

Oh sure. It was about T.Y. Danjuma in 1973. I used to be allotted a plot of land in Surulere by the LSDPC, via my mother-in-law for nearly N4,000, in Bode Thomas. Actually, I didn’t have a penny to my identify as a younger officer then, so I approached one of many senior officers. I used to be going to die inside 10 or 15 years, so I used to be not pondering of tomorrow. I approached Main Normal Bajowa and I informed him I wanted N4,000. I had so many issues I may use that weren’t within the file, that got to us through the warfare effort. Bajowa stated I mustn’t go to that space. He informed me to jot down a letter to T.Y. Danjuma who was my boss, however he warned me that if he wasn’t in good temper, I mustn’t submit my utility for a mortgage. We’ve got what we known as welfare vote, we known as it ration money allowance, that was not auditable.

However some officers like Abacha won’t purchase the thought. That was why I made a decision to retire, when Abacha was going to be made the Chief of Military Employees. I stated I can’t work with him.

So, I watched Danjuma, as a result of I’ve to temporary him nearly day by day on what is going on within the division. I had my utility in my pocket and entered his workplace, saluted him and once I noticed that he was in a superb temper, I stated, sir, I’ve an issue. I requested for 10,000 from the welfare, and when he learn the letter, he stated, ah! And authorised N10,000. I thanked him and went to the paymaster who stated there was no cash that point. He gave me solely N5,000, which I despatched to my spouse in Lagos in order that she will pay for the land.

I’ll always remember that about Danjuma in contrast to Abacha. There was a time I used to be despatched from Lagos as an assistant director of Military well being to Mokola barracks the place there was a suspected waterborne illness, Cholera earlier than it was confirmed. The youngsters within the barracks have been dying from dehydration. So once I acquired to the barracks, I took some samples and it was confirmed that the kids have been dying of dehydration and electrolytes imbalance. I realised that they don’t have pipe-borne water, they have been ingesting from a river behind the barracks. I knew we would have liked to purchase some medication, so I requested the paymaster if there was cash to buy the vaccine for cholera and he stated sure. So as an alternative of going to Lagos to get the vaccines, I went to provide Abacha the report of my findings and requested him to provide his Chief Medical Officer cash to buy the drug. I used to be cautious to not point out the identify of the paymaster who informed me that they had cash to buy the drug, else he would have eliminated him.

You could hear what he stated; he was in contrast to TY Danjuma. If he was in that scenario, he can be the one to even ask you about what to do to remedy the illness. I couldn’t work with him. It was six months earlier than my retirement in 1998. I acquired a touch that he was going to develop into the Chief of Military Commander. I made a decision to retire as a result of I can’t work with him.

Would it not be proper to say that you simply retired from the Nigeria Military due to the inhuman nature of Abacha?

That was what capped all of it. Regardless of how robust Obasanjo was, he didn’t joke with something that needed to do with welfare, identical as TY Danjuma, Abacha was the one totally different one amongst them. I used to be not asking for private cash however cash to deal with his folks. He insisted that if I didn’t transfer to Lagos to get the vaccine, he would put me on home arrest.

I needed to rush to Lagos to get the medication and have it despatched to his barracks.

At some factors, Obasanjo and Abacha led the nation. What’s your opinion on their management roles in Nigeria?

Obasanjo was a nice officer. It was Abacha that despatched Obasanjo to Yola Jail, however it served him proper as a result of he was the one which promoted him citing balancing being an Hausa man. All his report after coaching has all the time been that he was not grade-able.

Abacha shouldn’t even have gotten past the rank of a Main. He was skilled on a lot of issues overseas, however this officer was stated to not be grade-able.

Abacha and IBB didn’t like opposition, however I like Obasanjo for all the time saying what’s on his thoughts. He criticises appropriately.

In the meantime, Obasanjo comes from a really poor household. He by no means preferred us the Yoruba folks that have been within the military. You can’t say that is what Obasanjo did for us as a result of he kinds of antagonised us.

There was this police officer who was a DPO at Lafenwa that had an affair with Obasanjo’s mom. However at the moment, the Igbos didn’t intermarry with Yoruba. He was posted out. After she had the kid, his adopted father now adopted him (Obasanjo). Obasanjo’s organic father was an Igbo man from Onitsha and from a royal household for that matter.

If you happen to see the image of Obasanjo and the ex DPO of Lafenwa, you will notice that they give the impression of being alike.

Once they ask him, he doesn’t discuss it. You see some Igbo folks like a former governor had as soon as referred to Obasanjo as his cousin as a result of he’s from there. Obasanjo left Yoruba folks to Igbo land to go and marketing campaign for Peter Obi at Onitsha.

If you happen to have a look at Obasanjo’s previous, you see that he has been particularly reasonable, greater than truthful, to the Igbos. He went to marketing campaign for the Igbo get together presidential candidates at Onitsha.

He has so many issues that we all know that he doesn’t wish to be reminded of. When he was becoming a member of the Military it was the DPO that gave him the backing and a superb suggestion. That’s how he left when he handed his GC in Kind 5 and he acquired into the military.

However when you’re speaking about courageous officers, you’re pondering of TY Danjuma.

Abacha was the best downside Nigeria ever had. Keep in mind I stated earlier that it was Obasanjo that promoted him to Lieutenant Colonel as a result of they stated he was not grade-able.

Abacha was additionally a superb coup planner. You will notice him on the tv accusing the civilian authorities of neglecting medical care, but he didn’t do higher when he was there. He was a really depraved officer. He has a workforce of killer squad headed by Al-Mustafa. No matter Al-Mustafa is saying, he’s simply telling lies. Many individuals left the nation via the escape route by way of Cotonou.

Abacha and IBB weren’t tolerant, and I feel Abacha was most likely essentially the most harmful of all of them.

So for the reason that day he stated that he was going to lock me up as a result of I requested for welfare vote cash to purchase a vaccine for the cholera that was raging in Mokola Barracks and he refused, I knew I couldn’t work with him.

So once I knew he was going to develop into the chief of military, I stated, no, I can’t work with him.

Regardless of all Obasanjo did for Abacha, he was the one which despatched him to jail.

As I stated, Abacha couldn’t tolerate opposition. You already know he was not lettered as such, however he knew Obasanjo may end him internationally as a result of he travels rather a lot and he’s extra educated and the world will imagine no matter he says.

So Obasanjo was criticising him and he didn’t like that. In reality, Obasanjo was fortunate that they didn’t kill him like some folks that they killed with the vaccine, the one which has no remedy. Obasanjo, other than his small, small downside, will not be a depraved officer. However when he stands by one thing, he works it down.

After leaving the military, what was life like?

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My social life revolved round what they informed me at King’s Cross Tropical Hospital. I’m nonetheless dwelling with that. I stored saying to myself that docs should not God. We docs, we wish to play God.

I discovered rather a lot from that. In December 2008, I used to be additionally identified with most cancers of the prostate, I used to be 73 then, so what they do, as soon as you’re 73 and above, is to form of wait and see.

Inform us about your relationship with the Alake of Egba-land and the way you rose to develop into the Aare-Ona-Kakanfo?

My chieftaincy title as Aare-Ona Kakanfo is from Oke-Ona, whereas the Otun Baa’segun of Egba means a medical physician. Oba Oludotun Gbadebo and I have been collectively within the Military. I met him formally in Jaji. He was considered one of our officers serving there.

He’s from the Training Corps, whereas I’m from the Medical Corps. So, we had what we name the welfare vote. After we go there for one yr, we don’t see our household. So every time I wanted to go see my household, I might method him and he would give me a ticket to fly to Lagos and see my household. That was how we turned pals, and we’re from the identical place. So, then he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

When he was made the Oba, in 1985, he made myself and my brother chiefs. My brother was the Bewaji of the Egba-land whereas I used to be the Baa’segun of Egba-land and we remained shut. He’s a really pleasant, very good individual, very unassuming and able to assist folks.

What’s your opinion on the present insecurity within the nation?

Actually, I by no means voted for Tinubu as a result of I do know that like everybody, all of them have skeletons of their cabinets. However to be truthful to Tinubu, he inherited most of those issues.

What we hope for is that after they wish to take Lagos, even in our church, they pray they usually preach that we must always vote for the Lagosian. In any other case, now we have to cope with that Igbo boy and you can’t separate them from Biafra. Do you keep in mind when Tinubu misplaced Lagos through the presidential election, the identical day they introduced the end result, these folks put their flag on the Alausa secretariat as a result of Ikeja was gained by the Labour Celebration. That was why Yoruba folks now got here out and stated, sufficient is sufficient.

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However since he got here in, there’s starvation within the land, the insecurity is there.

We are able to’t go anyplace with out listening to of kidnapping. And operating the governance is just too costly. If he needs to do it nicely, he should begin from the highest.

Think about a member of the Senate or a Home of Reps going residence each month with 30-something million. For God’s sake, we will’t afford it. I don’t thoughts even when they’ve to chop my very own pension, so long as we all know that this may assist the Nigerians ultimately. However the best way we’re going, inciting the navy to come back will not be the answer. The civilians can get collectively and cut back their wastage.

The price of operating governance is an issue. The opposite time, somebody stole 50-something million, by mistake all they stated is that they’ve managed to get well most of it. You see, there are such a lot of of them. Former CBN governor, Emefiele was stated to have opened 493 accounts in UK, US, and China and someone additionally cast Buhari’s signature for six.3 million {dollars}. How? And the banks too, the federal government must throw their searchlight at these bankers too. Considered one of them that died not too long ago in California was stated to have constructed a N30 billion home; for what? All these individuals are simply draining us. You see what occurred within the North not too long ago, the place a truck was looted. They looted a warehouse too, individuals are hungry. The state of insecurity is so excessive and now we have to do one thing about these items.

You possibly can’t simply say now we have an issue and you aren’t addressing it the suitable approach. It’s important to begin from up there. Present examples to the folks. If one is taking N28 to N32 million residence each month for what? We are able to’t afford it.

They usually carry on stealing our oil. We even heard that the safety folks joined them in looting within the warehouse in Abuja as a result of they’re hungry.

This isn’t politics. See, why Qatar virtually broke up with us as a result of they accused our immigration of asking for bribes from them. These are the folks that can make your life higher in the event that they make investments right here. However why do you ask them for a bribe? It’s an issue that we must always not permit the federal government alone to resolve, however they need to set a superb instance.

What would you wish to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered as somebody who put smiles on folks’s faces. I attempted to dwell an exemplary life. I’m not wealthy, and I’m not poor both. However, as they all the time say, honesty is the very best instructor.

No person’s good. I’m not good. However I’d wish to be remembered for being a superb chief.

Do to others as you want them to do to you. I all the time wish to respect folks’s views, be a superb listener. I wish to be remembered for the great.

It’s frequent lately that folks put together their tombs earlier than they die. Do you purchase that concept?

I’m a dwelling witness to that. I’ve a vault in Ikoyi Cemetery.

The vault I purchased for about N20,000 then is now going for over 1,000,000. I purchased it for my mom who died 50 years in the past, my brother and myself.

I purchased the land as a result of they gave me 10 to fifteen years to dwell and I do know that when issues go up in Nigeria, they don’t go down once more. As a physician, I’m additionally reasonable. In reality, I can inform you that, in a approach, I’ve already buried myself. Do you see my level? You possibly can most likely say I’m a realist<<>>

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