|Murtala Ramat Muhammed|
In the short span of 201 days in office before he was assassinated forty-two years ago today [February 13, 1976], General Murtala Ramat Muhammed’s dynamic administration gave the country a new sense of direction, duty and patriotism.
|The bullet-riddled Mercedes Benz limousine in which Murtala was assassinated. His peaked cap which fell off on the rear could be seen in the direction of the arrow in the picture|
The following are some of the highlights of his administration:
· Cancellation of the 1973 census which was weighted in favour of the north
· Establishment of Public Complaints Commission
· Review of the Third National Development
· Disengagement of more than 10,000 public officials on account of age, incompetence or malpractice
· Taking over the operation of the country's two largest newspapers
· Demobilization of 100,000 troops from the swollen ranks of the armed forces
· Making broadcasting a federal monopoly
· Bringing remaining state-run universities under federal control
· Creation of 19 states, etc.
|Olusegun Obasanjo consoling Murtala's young widow, Ajoke|
In recognition of General Murtala Muhammed’s service to his fatherland, the following are some of the things done to immortalize him:
· Naming of the largest and most modern airport in the country then after him
· Introduction of the country’s then highest currency denomination with his image on it. He was the first Nigerian to have his image on a Nigerian currency
· He was declared a National Hero alongside Sir Herbert Macaulay, the first Nigerian to qualify as an engineer; Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister; and Dr. Alvan Ikoku, a great educationist
· Naming of streets, parks, gardens, buildings and other monuments after him in almost every major city in the country
Credit: Toyin Falola and Matthew Heaton, A History of Nigeria; Ahmed T. Abubakar, A Polity in Transition; and Olusegun Obasanjo, Not My Will.