AVM Mukhtar: Mourning A Gallant Gentleman

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BY OMONU YAX-NELSON, Abuja –

For the late AVM Mukhtar Muhammad, a cerebral soldier and refined gentleman, the end has come. The late AVM Muhammad breathe his last on Sunday, the 1st October, incidentally the date Nigeria was marking anniversary of its independence from the Colonial masters.

Though, death is an inevitable call all mankind must answer, because from the “Almighty Allah all flesh comes and to Him shall all return”, the passing into glory of  AVM Mukhtar Muhammad on Sunday, 1 October, at the age of 73, a time the valuable counsel of indubitable statesmen like him is needed, is the most painful.

Drawing from the well of experience and wisdom of statesmen like AVM Muhammad is one of the sure ways out of the disquiet in the land but Nigeria has missed the valuable contribution of an astute soldier man, a patriot per excellence, true father, and dependable community leader.

Enlisting into the Nigerian Army was part of his demonstration of love for fatherland. Smart and intelligent as he was, he could have succeeded in other spheres of human endeavors but preferred to venture into the military, in order to contribute to safeguard the territorial integrity of his fatherland.

He served Nigeria till date took him. As Wing Commander in the Nigerian Army, Mukhtar Muhammad served as the military governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria from July 1978 to October 1979 during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo. Appointing him as the military governor of old Kaduna State was not by accident. Kaduna enjoys the statues of home for all; a liberal state that inhabits the congregation of Nigerians from all parts of the north and beyond. As such, a detribalized man was needed. AVM gave good account of the confidence reposed in him by the government of the time.

Due to the necessity of the time: to set machinery in motion for the return of Nigeria to democratic rule, after serial failure, Muktar Muhammad played a key role in the coup that brought General Murtala Mohammed to power, and was appointed to the new Supreme Military Council on 30 July 1975. In continuation of his service to fatherland, Muhammad served as one-time Minister of Housing and Urban Development.

Ordinarily, others would retire to a deserved retirement rest, haven served Nigeria meritoriously, far be it from AVM Muhammad, as he continued his selfless service in retirement. Relationships in every human habitation are at intervals, subjected to scrutiny and review, when National Constitutional Conference in 2014 was convened in 1994 to discuss the way forward for the Nigeria he loved so much as served meritoriously; AVM was on hand to once again offer his service. Because of the careful assemblage of men of sterling character like AVM Muhammad, the resolution from that conference is credited to be one of the best so far!

Nigeria is a multi-ethnic state, and like other such countries, the values, aspirations and fears of each ethnic group are articulated at the level of their region before turning it in, as part of overall national consensus, as a statesman, AVM Muhammad distinguished himself as a Chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).

The United States famous statesman, Thomas Jefferson was quoted to have written to Edward Carrington in 1787. “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

In utmost regard for the freedom of speech and adherence to the rule of law, AVM Muhammed agreed to serve as the chairman, the board of directors of Freedom Radio, Kano, against the demand of his health.

AVM Muhammad was tenacious in battle, magnanimous in victory, humble in defeat and graceful all round. His, is a life rarely seen. So, losing such is a painful depletion of the nation’s moral reservoir. However, we submit to will of the Almighty Allah; the giver and taker of life.

Muhammad who until his death was the Wazirin Dutse in Dutse Emirate of Jigawa state, served as the minister of housing, urban development and environment from 1976 to 1977 after the coup that brought Murtala Mohammed, late former head of state, to power.

Even before his appointment as minister, the late AVM Muhammad was appointed to the supreme military council on 30 July 1975. He was appointed the governor of Kaduna in 1977 after which he was promoted to group captain.

In 2016, Muhammad was named the chairman of the governing council of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He was also the chairman of Freedom Radio, Kano and was deputy chairman of the board of trustees of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).

He is survived by a wife and six children.

Adieu true husband, father, statesman and patriot and moral reservoir!