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Obasanjo Was A Clueless War Commander —Gen Alabi-Isama  print

Published on June 20, 2013 by   ·   36 Comments

A retired Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff, 3rd Marine Commando, during the Nigeria civil war, Godwin Alabi-Isama, has disclosed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was not only clueless during the war, but acted as a weakling in many instances.

According to General Alabi-Isama, Chief Obasanjo exhibited a lot of weaknesses that did not portray him as a gallant soldier throughout the period he served the army during the war.

In an interview published in the current edition of TheNEWS magazine, our sister publication, the retired General punctured a lot of claims in My Command, a book written by the former President chronicling his experience in the war.

According to him, Obasanjo never wanted to be part of the war. He was so scared of death that he evaded every opportunity to go to the battle front.

He disclosed that retired General Alani Akinrinade picked Obasanjo to lead the troop after Benjamin Adekunle was dropped as the commander following an alleged unethical conduct.

“Gowon was not sure that Obasanjo would want the job of replacing Adekunle because he was an engineer…Gowon said we should contact him.

“When we met Obasanjo, we told him our mission and gave him a comprehensive briefing on the situation at the war front. We went with maps and explained to him the defects of Adekunle’s plan to attack the Igbo heartland.

“We aso told him about Operations Pincer 1, 2 and 3 and explained that if Pincer 2 was adopted, the war would end in 30 days.

“We spoke for three hours without food or drink. Obasanjo simply listened.

“And when he spoke, he said he was an engineer and he was not going to the war front. He also said we wanted to have him killed by nominating him for a spot at the war front,” the retired soldier said, adding that this comment got him angry and that he reacted instantly by reprimanding Obasanjo.

He said he reminded Obasanjo at the venue of their meeting how he and his engineering corps were unable to blow up the bridge in Ore when the Biafran army were advancing to Lagos and how the situation was salvaged by Mr. Akinde of the Public Works Department at Ibadan, assisted by men of the Ministry of Works.

“I was so incensed that I continued to pour venom on him,” he added.

Alabi-Isama said as against Obasanjo’s claim that he ordered the bridge to be blown up, the idea actually came from the wife of then Governor Adeyinka Adebayo. He explained that she was the one who suggested to Obasanjo that the action be carried out.

When Obasanjo eventually took over as the Commander of the 3rd Marine Commando, Alabi-Isama said he and Akinrinade gave him a comprehensive briefing, but that he refused to listen because of the grudge he haboured from his first encounter with Alabi-Isama.

As a result of this, his first battle experience, according to Alabi-Isama, was a disaster.

Emphasising Obasnajo’s cluelessness, he said the first decision he made when he took up the leadership of the troop was to start paying the soldiers on the battle field by allotment.

“He ordered an attack on Ohoba, some 40 kilometres from Owerri, just four days after taking over from Adekunle. He did not even know that we had to plan,” Alabi-Isama explained, adding that Obasanjo lost 1, 400 men in the attack, something that never happened before he took over, because he refused to listen to advice.

In another incident, the retired General said Obasanjo ran away from the scene of an attack claiming he was heading to Port Harcourt, an eight hour journey, to get ammunition for the same battle when he could ordinarily radio the army headquarters.

He described Obasanjo as completely incompetent and inefficient, saying the former President never went to battle even as a commander during the war.

“For instance, he went to inspect Colonel Iluyomade, but when he got there, there was shooting. He quickly got into his jeep and ran away.

“He was shot in the buttocks while running. A general will be shot in the chest, and not in the buttocks,” said the army general, who is set to launch a book titled The Tragedy of Victory: On-The-Spot Account of The Nigeria-Biafra War In The Atlantic Theatre, his own version of the war experience aimed to counter some of the ‘lies’ by Chief Obasanjo.

The book will be presented to the public in Lagos on Thursday, 18 July, 2013

—Eromosele Ebhomele

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Posted by on June 20, 2013, 2:38 pm. Filed under National, News, Today's Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

36 Comments for “Obasanjo Was A Clueless War Commander —Gen Alabi-Isama”

  1. olu

    I will love to read this book o

  2. baba iyabo no want die, olee ko le ja.

  3. bamikola

    } – Could all hope the Book covers warfronts-episodes ‘before-during-after’ Obasanjo, into finals days of Alabi-Isama’s military Career??

  4. Abdul

    A clueless that rose to the highest rank in the army, former chief of defense, former GOC, former head of state. This must be from a frustrated general

    • This old man should go and teach his grand children how to be brave. In my entire life I’ve never herd of this Aladin Osama or what do you call him self. Haba!!! you’re just coming out after 46 years, we don’t need Retarded Brigadier Gen. to tell us how we killed each during the civil war.
      I am sure this man want money somebody should help him. Yeye Retarded Brigadier General Aladin Osama. I would rather read about John MCcain a brave Navy Captain an America hero who became prominent and successful than read a book from Retarded Brigadier General Alabi-Isama or Aladin Osama

    • Datti

      This Alabi-Osama must be frustrated indeed. Who was more senior, Obasanjo or Osama? He couldn’t have reprimanded a senior. Lastly, this account is very different from what Theophilus Danjuma said in an interview in the Guardian.

    • John Aderotimi Bishopton

      i agreed with you wholly

    • Femi

      You must be very right. Maybe Obasanjo did not give him contract when he was the president!

  5. Akpos

    Thanks sir, I don’t need to read the book to understand how clueless Obasanjo is. His life typifies cluelessness. From sleeping with his daughter-in-law to wasting 16billion dollars on darkness! Obasanjo is a disaster to any group he leads.

  6. ola

    This Baba is looking for cheap popularity, which i think it is too late, this book would have been better written before OBJ became head of state in 1976 or voted for in 1999.

  7. Ben Akindele

    We have a lot of mediocres in this country whose ONLY ability is to say what they presume that people want to hear. That is, attack Obasanjo.

    I wonder whether military assignments are by negotiation or by order. Why will it require an obscure Alabi-Isama to order Obasanjo to the war front?

    I am about 55 years old and never for once heard of this new-found civil war hero called Alabi-Isama. Apparently, he has now made himself known using the usual pawn –Obj.

    Foolish Generals will get shot in the chest. Smart ones will get shot in the buttocks. Afterall, he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. Obasanjo may not be a hero, but he obviously is not, according to Alabi-Isama, “completely incompetent and inefficient”

    A word for Alabi –Isama – The race is not for the swift!!!

    You claim to be the war strategist. But if you had blended your intelligence with tact, diplomacy and loyalty, maybe Benjamin Adekunle would not have ambushed you as you claimed. Maybe you may also have risen to a significant position in the history of Nigeria and wouldn’t have needed to relocate to USA.

    Needless to wish you good-luck at the book launch. You picked your target right. So, success is guaranteed. But I don’t think you should be in this kind of controversy at your age. Afterall, we have many civil war heroes that are still alive and “sulking” quietly.

  8. ayo

    i agree wit Abdul and Ola. he is jst lukng for cheap popularity. it is clear evident dat he is not on god terms with Obasanjo so he is attempting to discredit him. Obasanjo was not a gallant soldier yet he rose to the highest rank in the military. Our Brigadier General who claimed he was gallant did not rise to Obasanjo’s level. where then is his gallantry. he is just a frustrated retired General who now wants to be relevant

  9. Adole Godwin

    What does any well-meaning Nigerian stand to gain by this show of cheap publicity? an incident that occurred some 46yrs ago should be long forgotten, because to my mind, no lesson has been learnt from the 30-month-old civil strife that nearly brought our dear country into total annihilation. If we don’t learn to forgive one another even after such a long time, nobody should deceive us that we can forgive ourselves for offenses of today. If we don’t get to learn forbearance from our elders and fathers, from whom are we to learn???

    • Akpos

      Why is history taught in school? Don’t equate search for historical facts with forgiveness or lack of… The war is a historical fact and there is no time limit for any body coming up with new evidence or books to throw up a different perspective to the war. Even people still write about world war 2. And me thinks suppressing facts/events does not bring healing but exposing it encourages true healing and lessons can be taught to your children. this is the practise all over the world. thank you

  10. lawrence

    @akpos, I guess you were not born at the material time in question and I know you are Niger Delta, please be objective.

    please note that it is the same bitterness and cheap corruption that their generation carried that has led Nigeria where she is, sentimental and unforgiving. What is the import of this information the General is giving now? I believe a politician hiding and using money to manipulate the General is behind tis and it is aimed at OBJ because OBJ accepts that his protege and annointed president, GEJ is a monumental failure. I beileve the instruction given to the General is to attack OBJ’s image as OBJ attacked GEJ (though with facts). Am no fan of OBJ but please be objective, this is no place to abuse people who have achieved what you may never achieve in your lifetime. I wish you God speed my brother

  11. Akpos

    Sorry where I come from does not matter. I am a scientist and for me, objectivity and forgiveness does not come together in the same sentence. Facts to me are sacred and people should be encouraged to always be guided by facts. Let whoever has more facts to reveal about the civil war come forth and state it and it will be subjected to historical validation. If obasanjo can tell his story in a book, why do you want to stop another General from writing about his own experience? As per abusing Obasanjo please point out where I abused him. is 16 billion dollars wasted on electricity(darkness) fact or fiction. Is his sleeping with his daughter -in-law an accusation made by me or by his own son? And if Obasanjo was such a great leader that you would be proud to call your father tell me how well your country has turned out after obasanjo ruled for 11 years? my objective view my friend is that I have searched for facts and my results show that Obasanjo is NOT a good leader of men and materials. thank you

  12. Abasiama Benson Akpan

    Hmm, this kind general na wao oo, where you bin dey sef all dis tym. Wonders shall never end.

  13. Iorkyase

    We did not need this rubbish at this point In our national life now. History knows Obj as a great man. Even though U had course to criticise his policies

  14. OGBENI NAIJA

    Who is this Gen Alabi Isama, what role has he played in development of the Nigerian Army & the nation as whole.I have never heard of him & this is th efirs time am reading or hearing about him.Obasanjo was in Congo & other peace keeping, everybody is awar eof his performance during th ewar, even the then Biafran Army will say better.He rose to Gen, ruled the country by God’s grace, handed over, returned as a civillian president & rulled for another 8 years & handed over.The old man is still going about freely (Am not saying Obasanjo is the best Nigeria will have).With God helping him.IT IS YOU GEN. ISAMA THAT NEED TO CHECK YOURSELF MAY BE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR CHEAP POPULARITY.

  15. Biodun gbade

    Why should anyone in his right frame of mind take this obsqure “general” serious.
    As an assumed general, his account is pedestrian. I suppose a war lord in any rag tag army will display a better sense or war!

  16. yeye general, medicine after death.
    His he trying to remind d people who lost their love ones how they were killed moreso, where was he when Obasanjo became head of state and also President.
    PLS TELL THIS YEYE GENERAL TO TAKE IT AS GOD WANT IT.
    YEYE GENERAL he should have say this when OBJ was is direct power to prove his a general

  17. OMO EKO

    The more books we have on the civil war, the better for scholars. It is refreshing to have alternative views.

    • Peter

      Omo Eko,

      I couldn’t agree any less with you Omo eko. The more perspectives, the better for scholars.

  18. Otunba

    What we heard was ‘dogs don’t bite dogs’. I wonder what’s happening to our retired ‘Warlords’ The war had been fought, won and lost as it were, lets address the other aspects of the hostility as it affected our unity as a country today.

  19. Prince T

    i have just written a book about how OBJ slept with a dog in my backyard. please buy my book, it is about obj

  20. The interview fails to dig deep into Mr. Isama’s activities during the warand his past. I respect him as a strategist but he was a saboteur because he collaborated with the rebels during the war. He was hiding in an obscure town in the delta when the war was raging. He should tell Nigerians why he was booted out of the military. Throughout his military career, at first he said he was a Northerner from Ilorin. Later, he switched that he came from an obscure village in the Delta. It is hard to pin down Alabi whose career in the military was like a chameleon.

  21. eric

    Even though Obasanjo is not loved by Nigerians,because of non-performance, how can a junior officer reprimand a superior officer.

  22. tony

    NIGERIAN SHOULD NOT BE DECEIVED BY THIS USELLESS GENERAL CALLED OSAMA OR WHAT HIS NAME . HE ONLY WANT TO SELL HIS BOOK BY ATTACKING OBASANJO . WHERE WAS HE SINCE ALL THESE YEARS . WE DONT WANT ANY USELLESS GENERAL TO REMIND US THE HORROR OF CIVIL WAR . PLEASE TELL THE OSAMA GENERAL TO GO AND SIT DOWN AND FIND ANOTHER WAY OF MAKING MONEY FOOOOOOOOL.

  23. WITH THIS WRITE-UP BY GENERAL ALABI, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT ALABI DOES NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE MILITARY. HIS COMMENTS ABOUT GENERAL OBASANJO IS UNETHICAL. HOW CAN YOU MENTION TO THE PUBLIC THAT YOUR MILIARY COLLEAGUE LOST 1400 SOLDIERS AT THE WAR FRONT? WHAT IMPRESSION ARE YOU GIVEN THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE NIGERIA MILITARY? ALABI SHOULD BE ARRESTED FOR LEAKING OFFICIAL MILITARY SECRETS AND BE COURT-MARSHALLED.

  24. YEMI

    MY QUESTION IS THIS ..WHO PROMOTED THIS USELLESS OF A MAN CALLED ALABI OR OSAMA. OLE BARAWO . I THINK THE MAN NEED MONEY . PLS LET US CONTRIBUTE MONEY FOR HIM . NIGERIA USELLESS GENERAL WHO ONLY KNOW HOW TO DISTABILIZE ANOTHER MANS HOME BY FLIRTING WITH OTHER PEOPLES WIFE OLE. HE IS HUNGRY …….. OLODO. GENERAL

  25. omooninkan

    this level of utterances by seemingly well educated nigerians is disgraceful. alabi -isama wrote abt what he did in the war and what he saw with pictures and facts but most of u discredit him and went so low to bastadize his name.
    obj himself wrote in my command how he lost 1400 men in an attack.
    he also wrote in my commanbd abt the brilliance of alabi isama

    do you all want the truth abt history or you want your children to contiinue consuming lies. you all may never have heard of alabi-isama but u have all heard of the crooks ,and the vagabonds like obasanjo that have become our super stars in nigeria

    obj your hero also fired most of the yoruba army officers in the army and created the likes of babagida and abacha who later overthrew the civilia govt obj installed
    i feel sorry for the future of nigeria with silly and unproductive comments that i have been reading .God bless our country

  26. You could tell from the comments of most people that they never bothered to study the past and have focused their sight on the future, but how can there be a future without a past and that is why medicores are celebrated. If you have not heard of Alabi Isama then its very unfortunate. Obasanjo was purely as described, no sentiment, we was incompetent then and still is even now. Its not harassing civillians that makes one a brave soldier. Alabi Isama was an asset to the Nigerian army.

  27. Ajikobi mathew

    I think this is the high time we listen to other war veteran.Thank God for FOIB and globalisation,gone are the days we will be limited to information given by govt agencies.All the info given by Gen.isama is out their for validation.Thank you General isama for the reveletion of the untold story about the civil war and some other info about the personalty of our over-celeberated leaders

  28. Eleshindudu

    I guess most you guys didn’t watch the interview, because this man doesn’t look like frustrated man from point of view and I’ll not doubt what he said of Baba iyabo,he was @ war front whit him (Obasanjo) and baba iyabo still much alive to prove him( Alabi-isama) wrong in public.

  29. oti

    The deconstruction of OBJ has started. All the gloating and self delusion will dissolve and the truth about the real OBJ will emerge and those who have written history in a deliberate haste may have a rethink if they are honorable.

  30. chrisnija

    Too late brother Isama

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