REVERED GENERAL MURITALA WAS ARROGANT AND CORRUPT
GENERAL MURITALA MUHAMMED WAS ARROGANT AND CORRUPT -U.S DIPLOMATIC CABLE 1975
‘POTENTIALLY TROUBLING INFLUENCE IS THE NEW NUMBER
ONE, HEAD OS STATE BRIGADIER MURTALA MOHAMMED. OVER THE PAST NINE YEARS BRIGADIER MOHAMMED HAS PROVED HIMSELF RUTHLESS, ARROGANT, AND CORRUPT. INDELIBLY IDENTIFIED WITH NORTHERN HEGEMONY, HIS BECOMING HEAD OF STATE MAY WELL FRIGHTEN IBOS WHO REMEMBER THE BEHAVIOR OF HIS TROOPS DURING THE CIVIL WAR. MOHAMMED HAS ARGUED RATHER WILDLY
FOR IMMEDIATE, UNILATERAL NIGERIAN MILITARY INTERVENTION IN SOUTH AFRICA
2. MOHAMMED’S CAREER DURING THE PERIOD OF THE FIRST TWO COUPS AND THE CIVIL WAR IS WORTH RECALLING. WHEN NORTHERN TROOPS OVERTHREW AND KILLED MAJOR GENERAL JOHN AGUIYI IRONSI EXACTLY NINE YEARS AGO YESTERDAY, A CONFRONTATION TOOK PLACE
BETWEEN MOHAMMED AND YAKUBU GOWON, THEN BOTH LIEUTENANT COLONELS. MOHAMMED ATTEMPTING TO LEAD THE NORTHERN TROOPS IN SECESSION, GOWON
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STRIVING TO WIN THEIR SUPPORT FOR NIGERIAN UNITY. MOHAMMED BACKED DOWN AND AGREED TO SUPPORT GOWON, BUT SEEMS TO HAVE TRIED TO
SUPPLANT GOWON IN NOVEMBER 1966. THAT EFFORT FAILED. SINCE THEN MOHAMMED’S NAME HAS BEEN FREQUENTLY LINKED WITH COUP PLOTTERS. MOHAMMED HAS DONE LITTLE TO DISGUISE HIS CONTEMPT FOR GOWON,
WHOM HE ACCUSES OF FAILURE TO PROVIDE STRONG LEADERSHIP. HE IS REPUTED TO HAVE ONCE SAID, “I PUT GOWON IN OFFICE…”.
THE OTHER HALF OF HIS BOAST WOULD NOW SEEM TO HAVE COME TRUE:
“… AND I CAN TAKE HIM OUT.”
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