Meet Patrick Aziza The Army General Who Sentensed Obassanjo To Prison in 1995

It must be remembered that from 1960 when Nigeria attained her independent from great Britain and till 1999, the country was ruled by 10 leaders out of which 7 were military men, and most of the military head of state were privilege to attain that position as a result of coup d’etat.

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One thing the military government will never take for granted is an attempt to usurp their regime, although they get their through similar means but whenever they apprehend anyone trying to do the same and they were caught the punishment for it in most cases is death.

From 1993-1998, the country was under the rule of general Sani Abacha who was known for been a ruthless man and a prolific coup plotter, he seized power through a coup from the interim regime of Earnest Shonekan and he solidified his hold on power with an iron grip.

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The coming of Abacha to power was met with negative uproar because the country thought they had return back to civilian rule before he snatched power, due to this action he had many critics like chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Wole Soyinka among many others.

But OBJ was more critical of Abacha administration, he had called Abacha and warned him not to hijack the government from Shonekan and also began warning those who care to listen that the country is heading towards another civil war along ethic line.

Obasanjo was causing Abacha numerous troubles with his negative remarks, but trouble started for OBJ in March of 1995 when he was in Denmark for a UN Summit on Social Development, during the course of the meeting he was informed that general Yar’Adua had been detained under the directives of Abacha and that he would probably be subjected to the same fate if he returned to Nigeria, he claimed he had done nothing wrong and decided to return.

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On his return back to Nigeria, he was apprehended at Lagos Airport, his passport was seized and the police accused Obasanjo of links to a coup against Abacha being plotted by Brigadier General Lawan Guadede, another person accused of been part of the plot was Colonel Bello-Fadile, who implicated Obasanjo during his trial, where he claimed that he had gone to Ota to inform Obasanjo about the coup.

During Obasanjo trial he denied that Bello-Fadile had ever met with him, and later on Bello Confessed that he had signed the statement implicating Obasanjo under duress, but the court rejected this retraction.

Summarily, On 14 July the military court sentenced Obasanjo to 25 years in prison, general Yar’Adua and fourteen others also accused of being part of the conspiracy were sentenced to death, Abacha later commuted their death sentence to imprisonment and OBJ sentence was reduced to 15 years after then America President Bill Clinton threatened to placed an embargo on nigeria oil.

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The military tribunal under which Obasanjo and the others were tried was chaired by Major general Patrick Aziza, he graduated from the Nigeria defence academy Kaduna in 1970 and also participated in the Nigeria civil war between 1967-1970.

He was the first military governor of Kebbi state during the military reign of Sani Abacha, a former minister for communication also minister for culture and tourism.

Aziza was the Brigade Commander of the Amphibious Brigade in Calabar, however he died in 2014 after battling with cancer at the age of 66.

Although it has been alleged that the chairman of most military tribunal always get compromised by the military head of state to do their biddings, meaning that they only serve as the vacuum to pass across the wish of his boss to the accusers.

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