by Paul Osas
Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) has said he has no regrets for not making himself a full General like many of his counterparts did while they reigned as Head of State.
He revealed this on Friday in Zaria while speaking at the presentation of a book “Nigerian Military in Politics, 1966-2011 and Politics of Transition to Civil Rule In Nigeria” by Nuhu Ramalan.
Buhari said he was more concerned with how to rebuild Nigeria and enthrone a regime of justice, accountability and transparency while he reigned as Nigeria’s Head of State between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985.
“It was the conviction of our regime that, being the Head of State and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, it does not mean that you are the overall General.
“My ultimate goal as at then was to ensure the integrity, justice, equity, accountability and transparency in the system. That was why I did away with unnecessarily promoting myself to General.”
With exception of Major General Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, who ruled Nigeria between January 16, 1966 and July 19, 1966 (when he was killed in a bloody military coup), all other military predecessors and successors of Mr. Buhari left or were forced out as full Generals. He broke tradition by refusing to promote himself to the rank of General. It was as Major General that his regime was sacked by dissident officers, led by Babangida in 1985.
Buhari, who unsuccessfully contested for the office of president in 2003, 2007 and 2011, said past military regimes were dogged by corruption and abuse of office. Buhari, who came in via a coup, said that he believed the military has no place in politics but insisted that past military interventions happened as a result of failure by politicians to uphold the rule of law.