Brigadier-General JohnShagaya, a member of the so-called Langtang mafia during the military era, was an IBB acolyte. They planned coups together. And here comes my point. Executing a coup is such a risky business. Shagaya didn’t die during such risky ventures but in a common road accident.

Which reminds me of one instance years ago. I had wanted to invite Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar(rtd) to Lagos to speak at an event. So, l contacted a friend who was very close to Umar. And my friend told me Umar would not accept the invitation because he had a phobia for flight and he could not probably drive all the way from Kaduna to Lagos. Taken aback, l asked my friend how Umar, a former head of the armoured corps who had planned and executed coups with his boss IBB, be afraid of ordinary flying?

My friend said he equally asked him this same question and that Umar’s reply was that , ” Flying is different from battle front. Flying is an unconventional warfare because when you are flying, you can’t see your target or enemy. You are fighting an invisible enemy and you are at the mercy of the pilot”.

So, Shagaya who didn’t die during coups, succumbed to death yesterday in a road accident because driving on Nigerian roads is an unconventional warfare. You can’t see your target or enemy. It’s like the case of the Ghanaian pilot of the Nigerian Airways plane that crashed in Emene, Enugu in the early 80s, killing some passengers. The pilot survived the crash. He later relocated back to Ghana where he died in a road accident. Someone who survived a plane crash but died in a road accident. That is the mystery of life.

May the soul of Brigadier Shagaya rest in peace.

By Richard Akinnola

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