The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has ahead of the 2023 general elections, named three former army generals/service chiefs as members of his presidential campaign council (PCC).
Naija News had reported earlier that the PDP National Organising Secretary, Bature Umar, announced last Thursday the party’s National Campaign Management Committee (NCMC).
While party stakeholders were given various positions ahead of the 2023 presidential race, Governor of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel was made chairman of the PCC and his counterparts in Bauchi and Oyo State, Bala Mohammed and Seyi Makinde, were appointed as his deputy in the north and south respectively.
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, was named the director general of the campaign council.
The Army Generals In Atiku’s Campaign Team
Just like his contenders from other political parties, Atiku is making use of notable and respected faces in different parts of the country to fuel his 2023 presidential ambition; hence, the former Vice President invited the likes of Ishaya Bamaiyi, Kenneth Minimah and Martin Luther Agwai, all retired lieutenant generals and former chiefs of army staff, to serve as members of the PCC which are responsible for organising campaigns.
What Nigerians Must Know About The Former Service Chiefs
Ishaya Bamaiyi is a retired Nigerian Army Lieutenant general and former Chief of Army Staff. The Kebbi State indigene served as army chief between 1996 and 1999 under the administrations of late Head of State, Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Bamaiyi was in office when Nigeria transitioned from military to democratic rule.
Know This – Years ago, Bamaiyi was alongside some persons detained and subsequently charged by the Lagos State Government over the alleged attempted murder of the Guardian newspaper publisher, Alex Ibru.
He was subsequently discharged and acquitted in 2008, Naija News understands.
Despite being a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP, there were controversies over when the former army chief joined the umbrella camp.
Kenneth Minimah – Naija News reports that the Rivers State-born is a retired Nigerian infantry soldier and former Nigerian Army Chief of Army Staff.
The 63-year-old served as army chief between 2014 and 2015 during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
It is also unclear when Minimah who appeared on the PDP PCC member list joined the party after his retirement from service.
Know This – Minimah and two of his predecessors; Abdulrahman Dambazzau and Azubike Ihejirika as well as over 290 serving and retired officers were invited by the Presidential Committee on Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian armed forces in 2016 for questioning.
The individuals were interrogated alongside those who worked with them over the procurement of arms, ammunition and equipment between 2007 and 2015.
Subsequently, in 2021, Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused Minimah of fraudulent activity involving the alleged misappropriation of N13 billion meant for arms purchase.
Naija News understands that the former service chief was charged alongside an erstwhile Chief of Accounts and Budget of the Nigerian Army, A. O. Adetayo, a major-general, and a former Director, Finance and Accounts of the Nigerian Army, R. I. Odi, a brigadier-general, at the Federal Capital Territory High in Abuja.
However, in May this year, he filed a suit against the EFCC over the criminal charges preferred against him by the commission. He was reported to have returned some money to the government though this could not be confirmed by this newspaper.
Martin Luther Agwai – The 73-year-old Kaduna State-born is a retired Nigerian army officer who served as Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army Staff.
Having served as CoS between 2003 and 2006, and also COAS between 2006 and 2007, Agwai became the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Calabar.
Naija News understands that Agwai from retirement bagged an appointment by the then administration of Ebele Jonathan and served as the deputy head of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (Sure-P), a government intervention agency.
He later became the head of the agency after the exit of Christopher Kolade, who was the chairman.
Know This – Agwai was later fired in March 2015 after attending Chief Olusegun Obasanjo‘s birthday celebration in Ogun State.
Reports said that the former service chief preached “change” while delivering a lecture at the event held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The development did not go down well as the term ‘change’ was the slogan of the then-opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Naija News understands that the three former service chiefs listed in Atiku’s team ahead of the 2023 election would head the security subcommittee of the campaign council.