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May 22, 2006

Col Yohanna Madaki is dead

Colonel Yohanna Ateyan Madaki (rtd), former military governor of the defunct Gongola and Benue states during the early years of the Babangida administration, died at the weekend in a London hospital at the age of 62 after a brief illness.

From Sani Babadoko
Monday, May 22, 2006
Rabi'ul Thani 24, 1427 A. H

The deceased who was the immediate past national legal adviser of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and had been practising law in Kaduna since his retirement in 1986, often provoked controversy by his actions and pronouncements for which he was described as an “iconoclast.”
Madaki has been engaged in many legal battles on behalf of the oppressed in the society, particularly those in the military, often free of charge.
He played a prominent role during the Zangon Kataf crisis and in the prolonged legal battle to wrest former military governor of Rivers State, Major General Zamani Lekwot (rtd) and his kinsmen from the hangman’s noose.
In fact, for him, making sure that the downtrodden, the oppressed and the under privileged belonged in the centre-stage of national affairs, was more like an obsession, a conviction which he saw through with zeal and with cadour until his death.
Perhaps, the most controversial and far-reaching of his actions was the decision to sack the then Emir of Muri in the present day Taraba State, Alhaji Umaru Abba Tukur (now late), boasting, “I have dealt a lethal blow to feudalism.”
Madaki was born at Zuturum, Zangon Kataf local government, Kaduna State. He had his primary education at St. Paul’s Primary School, Zuturum between 1952 and 1955. He attended the famous Nigerian Military School (NMS), Zaria; University of Ibadan and the Nigerian Law School.
The deceased who rose from the ranks in the Nigerian Army was in-charge of Administration, 2 Mechanised Division, Nigerian Army, Ibadan, 198-83; posted to the Nigerian Army Legal Services Department, 1984-85; appointed military governor of Gongola State, 1985-86; military governor of Benue State, August - September, 1986.
Reacting to Madaki’s death, a Kaduna-based human rights activist, Mallam Shehu Sani, described him as a man of courage and conviction who was a vanguard of freedom and justice as well as a soldier of democrary, a man who spoke the truth to the power that be at the time of great danger.
His words, “he will be remembered for his revolutionary approach and strategy. His deposition of the the Emir of Muri in the 80s and his outspokeness against the Babangida regime even when he was a military governor set the trend of resistance against exploitation and domination by the defunct military dictatorship; and the oppression of the talakawas by the Emirs and aristocracy in the North.
“He was a symbol of resistance of the ethnic minorities in the North and a symbol of defiance by the talakawas in the North. He was Nigeria’s version of Christopher Columbus as he was remembered for his discovery of the Koma people on the Adamawa Hills.”
According to family sources, late Madaki will be buried in his village on Saturday. He is survived by a wife, five children, and three grand children.
He was a member, Special Military Tribunal, Ibadan Zone, 1984-85.

Posted by Publisher at May 22, 2006 11:29 AM


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