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FG, Danjuma, Osoba shower encomiums on Bali at 80

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Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma


The Federal Government through the office of the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development has eulogised the virtues of Lieutenant General Domkat Bali (rtd), who joined the club of octogenarian yesterday as he clocked 80 years.

In a similar vein, a former Chief of Army Staff and erstwhile Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), and erstwhile Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, showered encomiums on Bali whom they described as a professional military officer to the core and a detribalised Nigerian.

In a statement yesterday, the minister, Dame Pauline Tallen, said she joined others to congratulate Bali on attaining the remarkable ago of 80.Describing the ex-military chief as one who fought for the unity of Nigeria, she added: “You so deserve to be celebrated as one who has sacrificed a lot over the years.”

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The minister said Bali’s exemplary lifestyle is a true reflection of the saying, “Some people are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. Sir, I say more, you are a man of history, an icon and a legend.”

Danjuma, in his comment, said: “Domkat Bali served as my artillery commander in 1 Brigade, Nigerian Army throughout our advance from Nsukka to Umuahia. As his brigade commander on the war front, I had ample opportunity to observe and appreciate his military skills and capability closely. After the civil war, our paths crossed again when I became the Chief of Army Staff and Bali the Inspector of Artillery.

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“Consequently, I can justifiably claim to have written more annual evaluation reports on Bali than anybody else throughout his military career.”Labelling Bali as a perfect gentleman, an excellent and a brave soldier, the one-time Minister of Defence added: “His humble and unpretentious disposition may be mistaken for docility, but at critical moments, Bali’s true nature comes to the fore. He would assert himself and defend his position without mincing words.

“Bali is humane and he mixes easily across religious and tribal boundaries but he does not suffer fools gladly.“At Army Headquarters, I found Bali as a dependable and loyal officer. He was diligently in the performance of his duty and he was honest and transparent in his handling of public funds. I rated as a possible future Chief of Army Staff in my last and final report on him. I was not surprised when he eventually surpassed that and ended his career as a four-star general. He fully earned every one of those stars.”He added: “On this happy occasion of his 80th birthday, my wife, Daisy, joins me in wishing Gen. Bali continued God’s blessing with good health and longer life.”

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When asked to make a comment on Bali’s 80th anniversary, Osoba exclaimed! “Ha, do you mean he is just clocking 80? I thought he is older.”The former governor said he became closer to the celebrant during the Nigerian Civil War, as “he is a perfect gentleman and a core professional who loves his country and people.”

Bali is one of the renowned military generals that played significant roles in the 1983 and 1985 military coups. He was one of the arrowheads of the December 31, 1983 putsch led by the incumbent president, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, which truncated the Second Republic headed by the late President Shehu Shagari of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).

He also played an active role in the August 27, 1985 coup led by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd) that toppled Buhari’s regime. Bali’s significance cannot be overemphasized in both the military regimes going by the positions he held as a Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff and member, defunct Supreme Military Council (SMC) under the Buhari regime while the Babangida government appointed him as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, member, Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) and Minister of Defence. He retired as a Lieutenant General in 1990.

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