October 1st: Celebrating a Nation and its Defence Minister
By Mohammad Abdulkadri

All nations of the world have peculiarities and commonalities in terms of their very rich historical evolutions, their sovereignties and clearly defined geographical entities as well as their human capital assets and Nigeria as a sovereign state is not an exception.

Certain things normally and naturally shape the course of history in the anals of the developed and developing countries including Nigeria.

It is therefore gratifying for an individual to be historically linked and connected in one way or more to the very important milestone records and dates in the chequered events in the life of one’s country.
That is the untold story of the Honourable Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi, CON, CFR ( rtd)

One of Nigeria’s distinguished Generals Heroes and elder stateman whose birthday coincides with the National Day Anniversary celebration on October 1st of every year is the Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd).

What a pleasant coincidence and double celebrations for the Defence Minister and his other birthday mates as Nigeria marked her 61st Independence Anniversary Celebration.

Reflecting on our nationhood at 61 and the life of an extraordinary soldier who has given his all (with emphasis) —and is still serving dedicatedly and diligently —is the very motivation for writing this piece.

Certainly, the intimidating and unblemished pedigree of service to one’s country, in no small way, defines the character and personage of Gen. Magashi.
Thus one is justifiably and unarguably convinced that it is not by happenstance that Magashi by happenstance shares the same birthday anniversary date with Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.

Born on October 1st 1949, precisely 11 years before the nation got her independence on October 1st, 1960, Gen. Magashi is a product of “Destiny” and a rare gift to Nigeria in the realm of her cherished human capital asset ranking and ratings.

As a school boy at independence, the young Magashi was among the children who lined the streets holding the national flag and chanting “Nigerian we hail thee” on October 1, 1960. Unknown to him then that providence was symbolically preparing him for a role in the nation’s defence and security architecture.

As a product of the famous Barewa College, Zaria, Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA (RC 5), National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru; and a Law graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, his wide academic accomplishments laced with professional trainings locally and internationally fired his nationalistic enthusiasm, ethos and patriotic zeal to render selfless service to the country.

Hence he enlisted in the military and served meritoriously at various commands, brigades and battalions as well at various levels even as a member of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council under the Late Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
History favoured the man of history, Magashi who fought the nation’s Civil War to defend her Territorial Integrity; served as Brigade Commander, 15 ECOMOG; GOC 2 Mechanised Brigade; Ibadan; Governor of Sokoto State and Commandant Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA); up to his current position as Minister of Defence.

Gen. Magashi’s example of a man who shares the same birthday with the country is simply that of impecable service to the country. His love for Nigeria is legendary and his humility as well as his simplicity distinguishe him as a special brand and breed for upcoming Nigerians to emulate in the task of building a virile nation.

The historical connect between the birthday of General Magashi and Nigeria is indicative of two of a kind.
It also portrays providential undertone of commitment and confers a moral nationalistic burden of God’s defined task for magashi to play unique roles in the making of a great Nigeria.

A cursory look at his unblemished records of service in the various positions he served the country are vindictive of his uncommon patriotic zeal and Pan- Nigeria disposition.

The accomplished General is leading by example in the best ways possible to prove that the country deserves unwavering service towards making it a haven of peace and a great nation as envisioned by her founding fathers.

At 72, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi, CFR, remains a quintessential leader, an incorruptible administrator, a symbol of national defence and a man of peace whose believability in Nigeria is second to none.

The Kano born general and Politician is by choice and as a matter of patriotism and principle often maintains a dignified silent on his birthday while thinking, talking and giving more to the celebration of nationhood than celebrating self.

A disposition that has shown to all around him that elaborate birthday celebrations are ruled out in preference for prayers annually.

Happy birthday Nigeria and happy birthday to a dogged, disciplined and a highly distinguished retired General Magashi.

Mohammad Abdulkadri
Media Aide to Defence Minister

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