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BREAKING: Murtala Ramat Muhammed – 48 years after, by Kola Johnson

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February 13,1976, 48 odd years ago, the late Nigeria’s military head of state,General Murtala Ramat Muhammed,was brutally felled via a hail of the assassin’s bullet.

It is true that infinitesimally inconsequential few detractors are wont to perceive within the context of his governance,a policy content of at best,a temporary superficial expedience,a meretricious flash in the pan,devoid of any element of seminal significance,for a revolutionary transformation of the nation

They are also wont to allude to the narrow locus of his Nigerianism,parochialy esteemed at the expense of the configurative paradigm of a wider national world view – with its associated catch-phrase of unity in diversity.

More to the fore-going were the coprolitic calumniation of ill-gotten acquisitions in which he was allegedly mirred by these unreckonable body of rantipoles

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They contend by these token, therefore,that time and no other than time,had as a Messiah,availed to save him the obloquy which a longer tenure would have cast by laying bare his limitations.

However,for all the trifling invendibles as were wont to be construed to his discredit – and deserving no dignity of response – one awesomely enrapturing marvel that refuses to fizzle in the mist of distant memory,in referencing this hero of a prosiliently unique stature is the stirring pathos of nostalgia he continues to evoke,fourty-eight years after his lamentable pall of exit

Indeed,Nigerians of diverse shades and classes,have never ceased to ponder on his propelling locomotive dynamo,his subliminal lucency encapsulated among several others,in amazing passionate intensity,in his ever refreshening bounce for the greater Nigerian vision.

Expressed in other words,his panoptic frame for a Nigeria, indivisible,united,and indissoluble,waxed to such intensity as could actually be seen,and touched in gravid corporeal substantiality – exuding a paradigm of statesmanship,as was rare in precedent – as evidentially expressed in those halcyon days of yore,that saw the teeming mass of Nigerians,gasping for breathe in the attempt to keep pace with his reformational momentum

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Of his avowed drive at an egalitarian socio-polity – he slept with it;dreamt it;woke with it; soliloquised it.His soul, spirit, his entire cells brimmed with this big vital question.He was possessed with it – to an amazingly mirific proportion,spawning something of a discarnate life of its own – hovering long after his demise,around the territorial stratosphere,groaning to be harnessed towards the cherished goal of an el-do-rado.

All through his chequered but eventful tenure,he paraded a splendiferous will and resilience that no force was strong enough to arrest as he charged forth, drawing Nigeria along in his avowed March for the Niravana.

The fire endemic in his spirit-person,was such that entertained no affinity with the demon of failure.Of that period,his entire mood and temperament was such that conjured an inherent combustible, standing to consume anything anathemic to his noble goal.

Nigerians would forever live to recount his broadcast mannerism as expressed in the severe tenor of his tone; his fear inspiring visage; the seismic fistic bang of his hand on the table,in justifiable fit of holy anger – all a veritable expression of his tough-guy fixation of no nonsense-ism,as they were notable symbolism of a man,possessed of a rabid impatience to kick-start the sleeping Nigerian elephant to a progressive March.It was a stern warning to reactionary forces and their cronies to beware and rather sit right.

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His declaration within the context of the Angolan liberation struggle was epoch making,as it was momentous,not only in the recognition of MPLA,and it’s catalytic accomplishment of Angolan independence,but also in accelerating the momentum of the independence project in the larger hemisphere of the South-African sub-region

Of the speech?It was fiery.Vintage Ramatism; spontaneously unguarded and no-holds-barred – the manner in which he told off the capitalist overlords of the west,to vamoose for a leeway to black determinism.It was a bold stamp of his personality;a stereo -typical rubb-off of his impatiently hurry pace and determined resolve in achieving for Africa,that which he would implant on the Nigerian canvass

The Abuja idea as a federal capital,was in all intent and purposes,predicated upon the neccesitous quest for a solution to the demographic conundrum of the Lagos geo-political space.

That the mandate was devoid of chauvinistic sentimentality of primordial tribal hue – none could better have attested – as they had indeed done,than the Late Justice Akinola Aguda, chairman of the panel and Tai Solarin,also of blessed memory;both embodying – as they were – an outstanding heritage of inspirational integrity,amongst a host of their Sterling credentials.

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The contagion of weeding which transpired in the civil service,as ruthless but fair as it was – though not without it’s own barrage of criticisms,were veritable take off-point of his reformational wind of change.

Throughout his definitive stay on the power- saddle,he conducted his stewardship with unparalleled probity,openness and accountability.The open wound of his conscience,was the motivating animus such as impelled him – as quoted in quarters close to him – to have vouched to appear personally before the court of law,to defend himself against allegations of embezzlement levelled against him by Obarogie Ohonbamu,an Oxford-educated scholar of constitutional law,now of blessed memory.

It was indeed also for this,that he shunned the flamboyant air of a potentate,and rather pitching his abiding living code along the lane of stoic self-denial – to such extent that he refused to kowtow to the paraphernalia of accompanying out- riders,choosing rather to live like the hoi-polloi,and feel like them,in order to get himself adequately informed of the wisdom of how best to address their needs.

It was no wonder therefore,that on that fateful day,amidst an excruciating bottle-neck of traffic,he refused to toe the line of least resistance,by refusing the exonerating exclusion of presidential treatment.Alas,as it turned out,it proved one sacrifice,so costly,as he was tragically shattered amidst a cacophonous volley of the assassin’s bullet,and Nigeria had never remained the same again.Though. felled, Ramatism marches on.

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