A former Chief of Defence Staff, Alani Akinrinade is reported to have escaped death by bombing during the Abacha era.
Sun News reports that for his role in the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) that fought military regime of the late Gen Sani Abacha to a standstill, former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Alani Akinrinade (retd), would have been silenced by bomb and bullets from a member of the Strike Force and Presidential Body Guard of Abacha, Sergeant Barnabas Jabila, fondly called Sgt. Rogers.
Former Nigerian Ambassador to the United State and Nigerian civil war veteran, Gen Oluwole Rotimi (retd) disclosed this at the 80th year birthday celebration of Akinrinade, held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan on Thursday.
According to Rotimi, the residence of Akinrinade at Opebi in Lagos State was bombed by agents of the military regime led by Abacha, adding that Akinrinade’s son who was in the house then narrowly escaped death. God, he said, helped Akinrinade to take the right decision at the right time by running into exile when threats to his life and his family were becoming very real.
By the time the residence was bombed, Akinrinade, according to him, was already out of the country on exile and had joined the likes of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was also a member of NADECO. He said the love that Akinrinade has for Nigeria made him to fight during the civil war between 1967 and 1970 to keep Nigeria one and it is the same love that made him to be actively involved in the activities of NADECO, though he could have sat down and enjoyed his retirement.
Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, who is the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGE), in his tributes, said the first set of transmitters used for NADECO Radio were bought by Akinrinade, saying the location of the radio has not been disclosed and it would remain so for now.
Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, described Akinrinade as a gentleman, “whose destiny is intricately linked to the destiny of our country, Nigeria.
Royal fathers on the roll call include Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III; Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo; Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji; Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Dokun Abolarinwa.
Former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd); former military governor Imo State, Senator Ike Nwachukwu; Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka; and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi; Nigerian civil war veteran, Gen Alabi Isama (retd) were also in attendance.
Representives of other governors in the South West also graced the programme. Also, former governor of Oyo and Osun States, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and Chief Bisi Akande were also in attendance.