Date: December 2, 2023 8:09 am
Former Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Chris Alli (MC Alli) famed for being chairman of the military caucus that presented General Sanni Abacha as military head of state in November 1993 has died.
GWG.ng reports that exactly thirty years ago this November that the Ernest Shonekan-led transition government cobbled by General Ibrahim Babangida to pacify angst against the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election was kicked out by the military.
That election was won by Chief MKO Abiola.
However, as simmering over the Shonnekan government reverberated in the polity a military caucus headed by Alli met a couple of times and finally pushed for the emergence of Abacha as military head of state to take over from Shonekan.
Among other military generals who were allegedly members of the caucus were David Mark, Ishaya Bamayi, Patrick Azazi, MA Johnson, Aboki Abdullahi, Sambo Dasuki, Lawan Gwadabe, Tajudeen Olarenwaju and FBI Porbeni.
Following the decision on Abacha it was learnt that Abacha had recommended that MC Alli should occupy the position of Chief of Army Staff, but Alli had retorted that Kogi State where he is from already had Air Vice Marshall FJ Femi as Chief of Air Staff. He said that it would not be tenable for the army chief to also come from Kogi State.
Abacha was said to have retorted that it would be no problem with him.
GWG.ng reports that that was how Kogi State became the first state to produce two service chiefs at the same time.
Along the way, Abacha and MC Alli began to differ on issues pertaining to the manifestation of June 12.
MC Alli who headed a military panel that surveyed the opinion in the barracks on the issue of June 12 was said to have come out with a report that claimed that Abiola won the elections in the barracks.
MC Alli’s repetitive injunctions on toeing the path of honour as respecting the mandate it was gathered made Abacha to hound him as NADECO General.
By August, 1994 to the shock of many, Abacha retired him as army chief.
It was suggested that based on his popularity in the barracks that Alli at that time had the capacity to move against Abacha but chose not to.
A source cites him along with the late General Tunde Idigabon as among the most respected officers in their generation of military officers.
Mourning the late army chief, the incumbent Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, expressed heartfelt condolences on behalf of the Nigerian Army.
The condolence message was contained in a statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig -Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), on Sunday in Abuja.
Nwachukwu said the former Army Chief succumbed to a brief illness in the early hours of Sunday at the Military Hospital, Lagos.
Born on Dec. 25, 1944, in Koton Karfe, Kogi, Gen. Alli’s sojourn in the army began on Oct. 20, 1967, as a member of the Emergency Short Service Combatant Course.
He served in various capacities, cutting across staff, instructional and command, and was, at a time, the Military Administrator of Plateau.
“The COAS, Lt.-Gen. Lagbaja, on receiving the disheartening news of his demise, profoundly expressed his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the Late COAS.
“He prayed for the repose of his soul and the strength and solace for the family in this difficult time,” the statement said. (NAN)
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