Malu:  Patriot or  Whistle Blower


Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues




October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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Professor Omo Omoruyi



Yes, I would have been shocked if General Victor Malu had said that his retirement was politically motivated.   What could he have said?  But the Minister of Defense, Lt. General TY Danjuma put it correctly, that he ‘shall miss Victor Malu’s BRUTAL frankness’.   Is this not a Freudian slip?  Is he not indirectly admitting that General Malu’s BRUTAL frankness was the source of his problem with the political bosses, the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the Minister of Defense?   He became an irritant; he would not keep mouth shut; he persisted in saying it like it is!  

Was General Danjuma not referring to Victor’s Malu’s BRUTAL frankness about the military pact?   This was a mark of patriotism.   General Malu put it correctly the source of his BRUTAL frankness arose from his commitment to his fatherland.   His commitment to his fatherland made him to be BRUTALLY frank! 

General Malu’s commitment to his fatherland made him challenge the ‘master-servant’ relationship being foisted on Nigeria by his political bosses under the ‘US-Nigerian Military Pact.   Would General Malu’s former political bosses now take up General Malu’s challenge?   Would they be willing to tell Nigerians the truth about the implication of the US-Nigerian Military Pact or what they refer to as the Nigerian-US Military Cooperation Agreement?   Why are the American GIs (troops) in Nigeria?   Was this not the question General Malu was trying to ask and he never got an answer from his political bosses? 

General Malu was trying to tell his political bosses that the Nigerian army wants technology but that is must be on our terms and not on the terms determined by the Americans.   This was his BRUTAL frankness in the Army Headquarters and in the Ministry of Defense.

I am not competent to comment on General Malu’s military professionalism.   What is military professionalism, which is inconsistent with patriotism and commitment to the fatherland?     It is this commitment to the fatherland, which we should demand from all those who serve Nigeria in any capacity, including the President, Commander in Chief and the Minister of Defense.   We should commend General Malu’s attribute to the Nigerian people including her leaders to come forward and tell Nigerians what the US troops are doing in Nigeria.

It would appear that General Malu’s political bosses were not as committed to their fatherland as General Malu.   Was this why the Minister of Defense or the Presidency could not dispute General Malu’s interpretation of the Military Pact between the US and Nigeria?   It is a matter of record that up till now General Malu’s former political bosses could not defend the Military Pact, either publicly or privately.   May be General Malu was right in his publicly expressed apprehension about the intention of the US and the effect on the Nigerian national security.   May be his former bosses were wrong in keeping Nigerians in the dark.

What has changed after retiring General Malu?  Nothing except that the man who blew the whistle and voiced the misgivings about the President Obasanjo’s Policy of Unilateralism in matter of national security is gone with his BRUTAL frankness.    Should this be the end?  I pray not!    Nigerians have the right to know what the President entered into in the name of Nigeria with the US President.

The Minister of Defense who always enjoyed Victor Malu’ BRUTAL frankness would no longer have him to bother the Minister.   General Malu with his BRUTAL frankness did not say that the issues he raised on the Military Pact between the US and Nigeria or between President Clinton and President Obasanjo was not true at the time he raised them.   And no where did he say that his apprehensions and fears had been addressed or allayed since the time he raised them.   They were true then and they are still true today.   The President or the Minister of Defense should tell the Nigerians the truth.

The President, Commander in Chief, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo or the Minister of Defense, Lt. General TY Danjuma still has to address all the constitutional issues in the Military Pact or in what the planners called ‘the military cooperation between the US and Nigeria’.   The fears expressed by General Malu are real and should not die with the retirement of General Malu and his colleagues.   The National Assembly should play its part.  




I started the queries in October 2000 immediately after the return of President Clinton from Nigeria where he went to celebrate the pact.   These queries were contained in the paper, which dealt with my reaction to the various announcements after the visit of the US President to Nigeria during which ‘the military cooperation between Nigeria and the US’ was made public.  My reaction in form of an essay titled ‘Nigeria-US Military Pact: Recipe for Danger’ was published in The News of October 2, 2000.   This essay was written after everything about the visit of President Bill Clinton to Nigeria in late August 2000,   had died down.  The issues I raised were no more news worthy, even though serious.   After that, I even forgot everything about the essay.  

When I sent the paper to the publisher of News, a magazine in Nigeria, my intention was just to let him know that the Nigerian journalists did not ask the right questions about the proposed US-Nigerian military cooperation.   I had thought that with the earliest opportunity maybe they could still ask some questions using my paper as a prompter.   Later I discovered that the magazine published it, unedited as an essay on October 2, 2000.   It was a foreign correspondent in Germany who asked for a copy of the paper if what appeared in the magazine was an edited version of another paper.  Of course, when I finally got the paper, it was what I sent to the magazine.   It is one of those papers, which I did not save in my disk.  Reading it today, I am happy that the issues I raised then are true today, as they were true at the time I raised them.   It is one of those papers in which I was also BRUTALLY frank!   General Malu’s fears confirmed some of issues in the essay.




My intention then was not to criticize anyone in government even though this is an accepted pastime in a democracy so long as the criticism is constructive.   I just wanted to alert those in charge of the defense policy in Nigeria of the danger in the military cooperation with the US.   What was my motive?   Simple!

From a patriotic motive, I thought I should let my countrymen and women know that from the nature of the armed forces and from what military cooperation with the US had led to elsewhere, especially in Vietnam, there was some danger in the unquestioning acceptance of the ‘Greek Gift’.  I was concerned with cooperating with the US, a democracy with a concern with human rights cooperating with an institution in Nigeria that misruled the country for over thirty years.   I raised this apprehension in the context of what the country had just gone through in the hands of the military.   I wanted the US to live up to its laws that the US should not aid a military institution with a history of human rights violations.   I am referring to the famous Senator Patrick Leahy’s Amendment.   I wanted the National Assembly, especially the Senate, which has special responsibility for matter of war and peace to scrutinize the military cooperation. 

Needless to emphasize that my message in the News of October 2, 2000 did not sink until the Chief of Army Staff started raising alarm after seeing what the US military officers were demanding from him in furtherance of the implementation of the cooperation arrangement.   Instead of the Senate acting as an institution for the defense of the Nigeria’s national security interest as demanded of it by the Constitution, unfortunately the regional outfit called the Northern Senator Forum took over the work of the Senate, thus further compounding the issue.   




It is elementary in international politics that no nation commits herself to the training or retraining of the other nation’s army except the trainer has something to gain from that enterprise.   The US policy makers know this except the Nigerian policy consumers.   Are they so ignorant of the implication of the military cooperation arrangement or maybe they simply want to adopt a benign neglect for personal reasons at the expense of the national interest.  

 It is also elementary that a nation, which had been conquered or defeated such as Germany or Japan after the Second World War that surrenders her ‘strategic doctrine’ in the name of ‘professionalization’ or re-professionalization’ to another power.   This is what Nigeria under President Obasanjo is leading Nigeria to.   For what purpose!   President, please tell Nigerians what the US troops are doing in Nigeria.  




Do we know that the US now determines (a) who our enemy is, (b) how we are to fight that enemy, and (c) what equipment we should use to fight that enemy?       Since the US would be determining these three elements of ‘strategic doctrine’, Nigeria automatically becomes an extension of the US national security apparatus, which has three ingredients: ‘oil’,peacekeeping’ and ‘protection of the nascent democracy’.    Please read my essay again from the NEWS of October 2, 2000.  

The above issues are raised and discussed in the essay of October 2, 2000 and I do not want to repeat myself.  Readers should request the News publisher to re-issue the essay for its import now that the issues raised then are still valid and are in need of resolution by Nigerian political class especially the National Assembly.




After the retirement of the Service Chiefs, and since the Military pact between the US and Nigeria was raised as the main issue, I decided to raise the matter in a larger context in another essay.  The essay takes off from my reaction to the retirement of the Service Chiefs and the reaction to the retirement by the northern Senators.   I placed the new episode in the context of the nature of the Nigerian armed forces.    What is troubling me is that the US does not understand the nature of the Nigerian military and the interest it is socialized to serve.    This is not  function of re-professionalization as the US planners call their mission in Nigeria.  This is part of the fear I expressed in October 2000.   It is real; we should not encourage the President through his policy of unilateralism complicate the picture for the country before he leaves the Presidential Villa in 2003.

 I called my most recent essay, ‘FUNDAMENTAL RESTRUCTURING AS THE ANSWER TO THE ‘MILITARY IN POLITICS’.   Some of the issues in first essay in the News of October 2, 2000 were also discussed.   This second essay can be found in and obtained from the <> and the <>.




I complained to the publisher of the News that the issues in the pact were not new and that it would appear that commentators talk about the pact as if they are hearing of it for the first time.   They do not refer to what others said on the same question and published in a major magazine since October 2000.   Even when the Vanguard and the Guardian wrote their thought provoking editorials on the subject, they did not only fail to refer to my essay, their editorials were not followed up by the Nigerian political class.  

I call the debate on the military pact between the US and Nigeria as a dialogue of the deaf where everyone is just talking and no one is listening.   This is not new to me; I had a similar experience with the debate about the one-term pact President entered into with his sponsors in 1998.   People forget that a Senator who is till alive and in the Senate from Kano in March 1999 immediately after the Presidential election and two months before President Obasanjo was sworn in, in May 1999 first raised the issue.

The Military Pact between the US and Nigeria has a life of its own, hence I shall take readers through a set of papers numbering 12, which dealt with the issue between May 2000 and May 2001, one year.   These papers are available for readers to assess for what they are worth.   This will be the next essay.   There has been a lot said about the issue except that those who have been talking have been engaged in a dialogue of the deaf.

What I shall be doing in the forthcoming essay is deal with various announcements and the reactions by the following actors:

(a)   the US in Washington and the US through its Embassy in Nigeria;

(b)   the Chief of Army Staff;

(c)    the Federal Government through the Minister of State, Army;

(d)   the former Vice President; and

(e)   the Editorials of the two major newspapers, Vanguard and the Guardian.  

           Unfortunately there are no comments from the following key actors:

(a)   the President, Commander in Chief;

(b)   the Minister of Defense;

(c)    the other elective body at the Federal level; the National Assembly; and

(d)   the politicians in general and the National Assembly in particular.

I shall take these two Nigerian papers, the Vanguard and the Guardian for what they represent.   Maybe there were others who expressed the same sentiments or contrary sentiments.    What I want to do is tell Nigerians from May 2000 to may 2001 what was said through these papers about the military pact between the US and Nigeria.   They shall be arranged in sequence, that is in order in which they were published.   They shall be accompanied with notes.  However these notes should not be taken as a substitute for actually going back to these papers for your personal judgment.


Professor Omo Omoruyi.

Research Fellow

African Studies Center,

Boston University.




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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.