A former Head of States, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has said that the loyalty of a former Minister of Defence and member Armed Forces Rulling Council (AFRC), Gen. Domkat Bali (rtd), saved the country the loss of many innocent lives during the nation’s three-year civil war.
Gowon said this on Saturday in Abuja at the 80th birthday celebration of Gen. Bali.
According to him, Gen. Bali was leading some commands in the south-east and when the war was coming to an end, we ordered the cessation of hostilities.
Gowon said this was difficult for the government troops who wanted to win the war, but that the loyality of Bali and other top military officers made them to obey the command to stand down a planned offensive and end the war.
“By his loyalty, Gen. Bali saved the lives of many soldiers and several other innocent lives from being killed,” Gowon said.
The special guest of honour, President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said Gen. Bali, since their first meeting till when he retired in 1990 and still now, remained a man of honour.
He commended the retired General for his selfless services as the pioneer Commandant, Command and Staff College, Jaji and as a former Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff among others.
“He has truly served our dear nation selflessly and passionately and you truly deserve to be celebrated at 80,” Buhari said.
Speaking earlier, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, said the life of Bali was that of a legacy worthy of emulation.
He said the over 30 years of service by Gen. Bali will continue to be celebrated.
In his keynote, a former Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, urged Nigerians to celebrate issues that united the country rather than divisive circumstances.
He also called for a re-think on the nation’s leadership and political structure, saying the United States and other developed nations engaged in periodic restructuring.