Muhammadu Ribadu

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Muhammadu Ribadu (1909 – 1 May 1965) was a Nigerian politician, who was the first Minister of Defence after independence. [1] [2] The son of a district head from Adamawa's Balala district, he was educated early on at a Koranic school before proceeding to the middle school at Yola.

The Minister of Defence of Nigeria is a senior cabinet official in the Nigerian Federal Executive Council in charge of the Nigerian Ministry of Defence. The Defence Minister's main responsibility is to manage all branches of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to maintain a modern, competent, and professional military force for the protection of the national territory, maritime interests, airspace, and constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Adamawa State State in Nigeria

Adamawa is a state in northeastern Nigeria, with its capital at Yola. In 1991, when Taraba State was carved out from Gongola State, the geographical entity Gongola State was renamed Adamawa State, with four administrative divisions: Adamawa, Michika, Ganye, Mubi and Numan. It is the home of the American University of Nigeria in Yola and Modibbo Adama University of Technology Yola. It is one of the thirty-six states that constitute the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Early life and education

Ribadu was born in the village of Ribadu, old Adamawa Province, the son of Ardo Hamza, the district head of Balala and Adda Wuro, the daughter of Alkali Haman Joda from Yola. [3] He started studies under the tutelage of Liman Yahaya, an Islamic scholar. [4] He then attended Yola Middle School from 1920 to 1926. While in Yola, he received private tutorship under a colonial officer. Afterwards, he was a teacher at his alma mater, Yola middle school. He was made a treasurer at the Yola Native Authority in 1931. On the death of his father in October 1936, Ribadu became the district head of Balala. [5] In 1946, he proceeded abroad on a scholarship from the British Council to study local government. Like a few of his colleagues who partook in the scholarship, after his return, he became interested in the nation's political process, he was appointed a member of the Northern House of Assembly in 1947 and was re-elected in 1951. In 1948, he served in the Hugh Foot committee of the Nigerianisation of senior posts in the civil service. [6] A year later, he was a member of the Nigerian Board of Agriculture and he also served in the Northern Regional Development Loans Board. In 1950, he was a delegate to the Constitutional Review Conference in Ibadan. According to the British District Officer in Adamawa Province in the late 1930s and 1940s, Ribadu had been a notorious cattle-rustler, heading a 'gang of cut throats' who stole cattle and sold them in the French Cameroons. [7]

Adamawa Emirate Traditional state (1806-1901, located in: Nigeria and partially in Cameroon)

The Adamawa Emirate is a traditional state located in Fombina, an area which now roughly corresponds to areas of Adamawa State and Taraba state in Nigeria, and previously also in the three northern provinces of Cameroon, including minor Parts of Western Chad and the Central African Republic. It was founded by Modibo Adama, a commander of Sheikh Usman dan Fodio, the man who began the Fulani jihad in 1809. The capital was moved several times until it settled in Yola, Nigeria on the banks of the Benue River in Nigeria around 1841. At the time of Adama's death his realm encompassed parts of modern Nigeria and much of north Cameroon. It was technically part of the Fulani Empire, and it had to pay a tribute to the leaders in Sokoto.

British Council Organization promoting cultural and linguistic knowledge of the United Kingdom

The British Council is a British organisation specialising in international cultural and educational opportunities. It works in over 100 countries: promoting a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom and the English language; encouraging cultural, scientific, technological and educational co-operation with the United Kingdom.

Ibadan Metropolis in Oyo, Nigeria

Ibadan is the capital and most populous city of Oyo State, Nigeria. With a population of over 3 million, it is the third most populous city in Nigeria after Lagos and Kano; it is the country's largest city by geographical area. At the time of Nigeria's independence in 1960, Ibadan was the largest and most populous city in the country, and the second most populous in Africa behind Cairo.

Political career

In 1952, he was made Minister for Natural Resources as part of an indigenous Council of Ministers. In 1954, he was elected the second Vice-President of NPC and became literally, the third Northern Nigerian leader behind Ahmadu Bello, NPC's president and Tafawa Balewa, NPC's First Vice President. He was federal Minister of Land, Mines and Power in 1954, and in 1959, he was federal Minister of Land and Lagos Affairs. In 1960, he was appointed the Nigerian Minister of Defense. In the 1960s, he was described by diplomats in Lagos as 'the most sinister figure in Nigerian politics ... a cattle thief elevated into a public brigand'. [8]

Ahmadu Bello Nigerian politician

Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello KBE was a Nigerian politician who was the first and only premier of the Northern Nigeria region. He also held the title of the Sardauna of Sokoto. Bello and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa were major figures in Northern Nigeria pre-independence politics and both men played major roles in negotiations about the region's place in an independent Nigeria. As leader of the Northern People's Congress, he was a dominant personality in Nigerian politics throughout the early Nigerian Federation and the First Nigerian Republic.

Defense minister

Ribadu took over the Ministry of Defense as the country became independent in 1960. His administration oversaw an increase in the numerical strength of the armed forces, an upgrade of military hardware, the development of the infant Navy and the establishment of a Nigerian Air Force. He also built and renovated military barracks across the country. [9] His colleagues often refer to him as "power of powers". He completed the Nigerianisation of the Nigerian Army. He is credited as one of the most outstanding Defence Ministers Nigeria ever had. On May 1, 1965, he was to be honoured along with the then Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1912–66) by the then Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello (1909–66) with gold medals of the Usmamiya order in Kaduna. He died on the morning of that day at the age of 55.

Nigerian Air Force Air warfare branch of Nigerias military

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is the air branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces. It is one of the largest in Africa, consisting of about 10,000 personnel and aircraft including 12 Chinese Chengdu F-7s, and 11 Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jets, 12 Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, armed helicopters, and military transport aircraft.

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Nigerian politician

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, KBE was a Nigerian politician, and the first prime minister of an independent Nigeria.

Kaduna Place in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Kaduna is the state capital of Kaduna State in north-western Nigeria, on the Kaduna River. It is a trade centre and a major transportation hub for the surrounding agricultural areas, with its rail and road junction. The population of Kaduna was at 760,084 as of the 2006 Nigerian census.

No doubt, Alhaji Ribadu was a towering figure. A giant among men. In Lagos he acted as deputy Prime Minister in all but name - with considerably more authority than Abubakar due to his stronger following in the Northern Region. Many also suspected that he was blackmailing the Sardauna - claiming that he 'possessed proof which he would use if necessary to show that the Sardauna's devotion to Islam was a sham' - and was thus able to exercise significant influence over the premier. [10] While serving as Minister of Defence, Ribadu presided over a rapid expansion of the Nigerian Army, Navy as well as the creation of the Nigeria Air Force. He established the Defence Industries Corporation in Kaduna, the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna and a Second Recce Squadron in Abeokuta. Many scholars and historians believe till today that if Alhaji Ribadu had been alive the January 15, 1966 military coup could not have taken place. That he would have prevented it and that the first republic in spite of all incidents would have survived. And that we would not have been in this mess today. [11] [12]

Abeokuta City in Ogun State, Nigeria

Abeokuta is the largest city and state capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria. It is situated on the east bank of the Ogun River, near a group of rocky outcrops in a wooded savanna; 77 kilometres (48 mi) north of Lagos by railway, or 130 kilometres (81 mi) by water. As of 2006, Abeokuta and the surrounding area had a population of 449,088.

Ribadu's official residence was later part of the Dodan Barracks, the official residence of Nigerian military rulers from 1967 to 1991.

Dodan Barracks is a military barracks occupying a large area located off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria. Dodan Barracks was the residence of the heads of state of various Military Governments in Nigeria, and also the Supreme Military Headquarters from 1966 until the move to Abuja in 1991. The name "Dodan" originated from the site of a battle fought during the Second World War by the 82nd West African Division in Burma.

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  1. Raph Uwechue (1991). Makers of Modern Africa Know Africa. Africa Journal Limited (University of Michigan). p. 653.
  2. James Ohwofasa Akpeninor (2013). Merger Politics of Nigeria and Surge of Sectarian Violence. AuthorHouse. p. 339. ISBN   9781467881722.
  3. Abba, Isa Alkali (1989). Mahmudu Ribadu : a statesman and Nigeria's first Minister of Defence. Kaduna: Arewa House, Centre for Research and Historical Documentation, Ahmadu Bello University. p. 12. ISBN   9783077902.
  4. Abba. P. 13
  5. Abba. P. 17
  6. Abba. P. 39
  7. Detailed in telegram from H.V. Britten (Deputy High Commission, Laduna, to Lagos, 25 August 1964, United Kingdom National Archives, DO 186/6
  8. Lagos Despatch No.20, High Commissioner to Secretary of State, Commonwealth Relations, 5 December 1964, UK National Archives, DO 195/281
  9. Abba. P. 45
  10. 'Note on a Visit to Northern Nigeria', in Ewan to V.C. Martin (Commonwealth Relations Office, London), 21 August 1964, UK National Archives, DO 195/280.
  11. Rosalynde Ainslie; Catherine Hoskyns; Ronald Segal; Frederick A. Praeger (1961). Political Africa: A Who's Who of Personalities and Parties.
  12. Sidi.H Ali. Power of Powers: A Biography of the Late Alhaji Muh. Ribadu.