1985 Coup: How I Led Soldiers To Pick Up Buhari – Col. A. Aminu (Rtd)



In a recent interview, Retired Colonel Abdulmumini Aminu, Borno state military governor during President Ibrahim Babangida’s regime, narrates, among other things, how he led other officers to pick up current president Muhammadu Bahuri from Dodan Barracks in Lagos where he was as military head of state. check the excerpts from the interview below..


What have you been doing after your retirement from military service?

If you may recall, I retired from the military in 1993. Since then life has been very challenging. I won’t say it has been very bad, but manageable. I was opportuned in 1986 to be appointed as chairman of Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and I became President, West Africa Football Union (WAFU). I was also a member of CAF, FIFA and the rest of them. You know I am a lover of football. Well, sports generally but football in particular. Up till now I am a stakeholder in football affairs, because I cherish it. I follow football with passion. I always contribute my quota in many ways.

At a point in your military career, you were asked to arrest your superior officer, former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, the present president. During the IBB coup you were asked to arrest him and you did. What happened and how do you relate with each other now?

I must confess that I led that operation. I went to Dodan Barracks that time in company of two other officers - then Major John Madaki and Lawan Gwadabe. Three of us went, but specifically I was the one that went upstairs to bring Buhari. With due respect, I have been reading in the papers and listening to radio, people saying that we manhandled him, we disrespected him. That was not true. I and General Buhari are the only two who knew what transpired upstairs and there was nothing like that. We gave him his absolute respect as a superior, because even before that time, we had absolute respect for him, because of whom and what he was. We respected him a lot till today and there is no animosity between us and he knew it was a military assignment that we were carrying out from our superior. He even told me at one time. So for us, it is just like the other way round of when he came to power during the anti-Shagari coup. I was among those who played a major role in getting him to power. So, he knew the role I played. And even Buhari knew in 2003, I was arrested because of him. That time, I supported him. I worked for him at that time, without even him knowing anyway, but he later knew.You see, once you believe in somebody and you know he has the capability, you can do anything for him without even him knowing.

But, is it true that you handcuffed Buhari?

It is a blatant lie. In an operation of that nature, we don’t carry handcuffs. I did not salute him because according to military tradition and norms when the flag is lowered, you can only pay compliments the way you deem fit, not salutation. We met at 2 a.m. and at that time, we don’t salute because the flag is down, until 6 am again when the flag is up. To insinuate that he was handcuffed, that is far from the truth. We only accorded him all the respects he deserved. I still hold him in very high esteem.

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