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Major General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi (1940-2021)

On Sunday, December 4, 2021, Nigeria lost its former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi. A well-respected patriot and professional, General…

On Sunday, December 4, 2021, Nigeria lost its former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi.

A well-respected patriot and professional, General Wushishi served as COAS in the Second Republic under President Shehu Aliyu Shagari between October 1981 and December 1983.

He died at a London hospital where he was receiving treatment.

Born on January 1, 1940, in Wushishi, headquarters of Wushishi Local Government Area of Niger State, he attended Wushishi Junior Primary School from 1947 to 1950, Paiko Junior Primary School from 1951 to 1952 and Minna Senior Primary School from 1953 to 1954.

General Wushishi was at Bida Provincial Secondary School between 1955 and 1960 before attending Mons Officer Cadet School Aldershot, United Kingdom (UK) from 1961 to 1962 after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Military Training College in 1963. He was also at the Staff College, Camberly, UK in 1972 and US Army War College 1978 to 1979.

Commissioned as a Regular Officer in 1962, he served as Platoon Commander, 1962 to 1964, Battalion Adjutant General, 1968 to 1969, Sector Commander, 1969 to 1971, Deputy Commander, School of Infantry, 1972 to 1975, Federal Commissioner for Industries in 1975, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 4 Infantry Division Nigerian Army Staff College, Jaji in 1979 and Chief of Army Staff in 1981.

General Wushishi received several honours and awards including Commander of the Order of the Niger (CFR) in 1981. He was decorated with Republic Medal (RM), Defence Service Medal (DSM), Nigerian Crisis Medal, National Service Medal, and the United Nations Medal for service in The Congo (Zaire) in 1961.

On October 1, 1981, General Wushishi was appointed Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff and retired from service on January 3, 1984, after the December 31, 1983 coup in which General Muhammadu Buhari came to power.

As a private citizen, he became a businessman, serving as chairman of the board of directors of UAC of Nigeria, retiring on January 1, 2010, at age 70. He was also chairman of the board of UPDC and a director of Stanbic IBTC Bank, MTS First Wireless and Acorn Petroleum.

General Wushishi also coordinated the activities of elder statesmen in Niger State from where he made contributions to the peace and growth of the state and Nigeria as a whole, offering useful counsel that helped in the development of the society.

He is survived by his wife, Kande Wushishi, and seven children – four men and three women – including the former commissioner for investment in the last administration in Niger State, Kabiru Wushishi.

At his death, the nation was thrown into mourning. The Niger State government described him as a disciplined, dedicated soldier who distinguished himself in his professional career, a perfect gentleman, father, soldier and an administrator of high ethics and impeccable morality.

At his burial in Kaduna last week Wednesday after a combined, well-attended, military and Muslim ceremonies, there were tributes by many dignitaries.

President Buhari succinctly captured the essence of the late general’s life, describing him as a man who strengthened the Nigerian military’s support to civil authority under democracy. The president added that “General Wushishi was a thoroughbred professional soldier, an officer and a gentleman whose contributions to the fatherland are immeasurable.

“He had a distinguished military career and we are proud of his impressive service to the country. He was an epitome of discipline and dedication to service and a role model for both the officers and the rank and file.”

This is the man that Nigeria and Nigerians would miss. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

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