Tunde Idiagbon

Last updated
Babatunde Idiagbon
6th Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters
In office
31 December 1983 27 August 1985
President Muhammadu Buhari as Military Head of State
Preceded by Alex Ekwueme as civilian Vice President of Nigeria
Succeeded by Ebitu Ukiwe
Governor of Borno State
In office
July 1978 October 1979
Preceded by Mustapha Amin
Succeeded by Mohammed Goni
Personal details
Born(1942-09-14)14 September 1942
Ilorin, Kwara, Nigeria
Died24 March 1999(1999-03-24) (aged 56)
Ilorin, Kwara, Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Political partyNone (military)
Spouse(s)Biodun Idiagbon
Alma mater Nigerian Military School
Pakistan Military Academy
Nigerian Defence Academy
Naval Postgraduate School
Military service
AllegianceFlag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
Branch/serviceFlag of the Nigerian Army Headquarters.svg  Nigerian Army
Years of service1962–1985
Rank Major General

Babatunde "Tunde" Abdulbaki Idiagbon (14 September 1943 24 March 1999) was a Nigerian Army major general who served as chief of staff at Supreme Headquarters (de facto vice president) under the military regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari from 1983 to 1985. He was also a key member of Nigeria's military governments between 1966 and 1979, serving as a military administrator of Borno State under General Olusegun Obasanjo's military government. He died on 24 March 1999 in Ilorin, Kwara state, Nigeria. Idiagbon was one of Nigeria's egalitarian military leaders.

Nigerian Army Land warfare branch of Nigerias military

The Nigerian army (NA) is the largest component of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and is responsible for land warfare operations. It is governed by the Nigerian Army Council (NAC). It bears the brunt of the nation's security challenges, notably the Boko Haram insurgency.

Muhammadu Buhari Nigerian president

Muhammadu Buhari is a Nigerian politician currently serving as the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired major general in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation's head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d'état. The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government.

Borno State State of Nigeria

Borno, also known as Borno State, is a state in north-eastern Nigeria. Its capital is Maiduguri. The state was formed in 1976 from the split of the North-Eastern State. Until 1991 it contained what is now Yobe State. It is the homeland of the Kanuri people in Nigeria.


Early life

Idiagbon was born into the family of his father Hassan Dogo and mother Ayisatu Iyabeji Hassan Idiagbon on 14 September 1943 in Ilorin, Kwara State. [1] He attended United Primary School, Ilorin from 1950 to 1952 and Okesuna Senior Primary School, Ilorin, 1953–57. He received his secondary education at the Nigeria Military School, Zaria between 1958 and 62.

Ilorin Metropolis in Kwara, Nigeria

Ilorin is the state capital of Kwara in Western Nigeria. As of the 2006 census, it had a population of 777,667, making it the 7th largest city by population in Nigeria.

Kwara State State of Nigeria

Kwara is a state in Western Nigeria. Its capital is Ilorin. Kwara is located within the North Central geopolitical zone, commonly referred to as the Middle Belt. The primary ethnic group is Yoruba, with significant Nupe, Bariba, and Fulani minorities.

Zaria LGA and city in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Zaria is a major city in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria, as well as being a Local Government Area. Formerly known as Zazzau, it was one of the original seven Hausa city-states. Today, it is known for housing Nigeria's largest university, Ahmadu Bello University, as well as being home to a number of prominent Nigerians.

Military career

In 1962, Idiagbon joined the Nigerian Army by enrolling in the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC). In February 1964, the college was renamed the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).

The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna, is the first of two Military universities in Nigeria. Nigerian Army University established in 2018 in Biu, Borno State is the other military university though it does not offer military training. The duration of training at the Nigerian Defence Academy is 5 years for Army cadets(4 years Academic + 1 year Military) and 4 years for Navy and Air force cadets after which they proceed to Nigerian Naval College, Onne, Port-hacourt and 301 Flying Training School(301FTS), Kaduna respectively for 1-year training at their respective services.

From 1962 to 1965, Idiagbon attended the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul (PMA Kakul), Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in economics. Upon arrival to Nigeria from Pakistan he was commissioned second lieutenant in April 1965. He was company commander, 4th Battalion from August 1965 to February 1966. In 1966 he studied for the junior commander course at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. From 1966 to 1967 he also served as an intelligence officer, 4th Battalion and General Staff Officer, 3rd Intelligence, 1st Sector. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1966. He was made commanding officer, 20 Battalion from October 1967 to February 1968. In 1968, he was promoted to the rank of captain. He was the commanding officer, 125 Battalion, from 1968 to 1970. [2]

The Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), also known as PMA Kakul, is a two-year accredited federal service academy in Kakul near Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Pakistan Military Academy is similar in function to Sandhurst, Saint-Cyr, and West Point, and provides training to the officers of Pakistan Army and Allied countries. The academy has four training battalions, and 16 companies. Approximately 2,000 invited guests from over 34 countries tour the facility each year. Many close allies of Pakistan send their own cadets and officers to receive premier training in modern military doctrine at PMA.On July 22, 2015 the COAS inaugurated the incoming 4th battalion for training.

Abbottabad Place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Abbottabad is the capital city of Abbottabad District in the Hazara region of eastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It is about 120 kilometres (75 mi) north of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and 150 kilometres (93 mi) east of Peshawar, at an altitude of 1,260 metres (4,134 ft). Kashmir lies to the east.

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

In 1970, he was promoted to the rank of major. He was made brigade major and deputy commander, 33 Brigade from March 1970 to March 1971 and the commander, 29 Brigade from March 1971 to December 1972. In January 1973 he served as the general staff officer, Grade 1 and later, principal staff officer (PSO), Supreme Military Headquarters. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1974. He was made brigade commander, 31 and 15 Brigades from August 1975 to August 1978. In 1976, Idiagbon proceeded to the Command and Staff College in Quetta, Pakistan, for further military training. In July 1978 he was promoted to the rank of colonel. He was appointed as the director of manpower (manning) and planning, Army Headquarters in October 1979. [3]

Quetta Metropolis in Balochistan, Pakistan

Quetta is the provincial capital and largest city of Balochistan, Pakistan. It was largely destroyed in the 1935 Quetta earthquake, but was rebuilt and has a population of 1,001,205 according to the census of 2017 while the Quetta District has a population of 2,275,699. Quetta is at an average elevation of 1,680 metres above sea level, making it Pakistan's only high-altitude major city. The city is known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan," due to the numerous fruit orchards in and around it, and the large variety of fruits and dried fruit products produced there.

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

In May 1980 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. In 1981, he attended the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria and in 1982 he attended the International Defence Management Course, Naval Postgraduate School, US. He was the military secretary of the Nigerian Army from 1981 to 1983. Idiagbon was promoted to the rank of major-general in 1985. [4]

Naval Postgraduate School United States graduate academy for Naval officers

The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is a public graduate school operated by the United States Navy and located in Monterey, California. It grants master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and certificates. Established in 1909, the school also offers research fellowship opportunities at the postdoctoral level through the National Academies’ National Research Council research associateship program.

Military administrator of Borno State

From August 1978 to October 1979, the military Head of State, General Obasanjo appointed Idiagbon as the military administrator (position now called governor) of Borno State, Nigeria. [3]

Chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters

Idiagbon was chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985. He played a key role as the hallmark of Buhari's military government. He controlled all visible instruments of national, political, governmental and administrative powers. [5]

Policies and initiatives

Idiagbon was responsible for introducing, announcing and implementing many of the government's major policies, they include:

War Against Indiscipline

The five phases of the War Against Indiscipline which Idiagbon announced and implemented were:

  • Phase One - Queuing, launched on 20 March 1984
  • Phase Two - Work Ethics, launched on 1 May 1984
  • Phase Three - Nationalism and Patriotism, launched on 21 August 1984
  • Phase Four - Anti-Corruption and Economic Sabotage, launched on 14 May 1985
  • Phase Five - Environmental Sanitation, launched on 29 July 1985

Currency change and currency exchange rate policy

In April 1984, Idiagbon announced the introduction of a new currency for Nigeria. He said the new currency would keep the same name, but the colors of bills would be different.

He also announced limits to currency exchange for corporations and individuals. The individual limit was $7,000. He said any corporation or individual exchanging in excess of the limit had to explain where the money came from and needed government clearance.

According to Idiagbon the major cause of the nation's economic problems 'is the deliberate sabotage of the Nigerian currency through large-scale illegal trafficking of the currency'. [6]

Import substitution industrialisation policy

In 1984, Idiagbon implemented the military government's import substitution industrialisation policy based on the use of local materials. Importation was tightened. The aim was to ensure the growth of local industries through the policy.

Go Back to Land Programme

Also in 1984, Idiagbon spearheaded and implemented the Go Back to Land Programme which was part of the government's farming policy that encouraged massive agricultural food production and was also part of the military government's poverty alleviation strategy. [7]

Foreign policy

From January 1984 to August 1985, Idiagbon took control of all foreign policy matters that involved security. He was in control of the border closure, expulsion of illegal immigrants, and damage control after the Umaru Dikko Affair in Britain.

He also participated in diplomatic activities. On behalf of Nigeria's military government, he signed credit line and educational cooperation agreements with a visiting Bulgarian delegation led by Prime Minister Grisha Filipov in 1984. He led a delegation in 1984 to the Soviet Union to meet Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko. [8]

1985 coup and detention

After 20 months in power, the military government of Buhari was overthrown by Ibrahim Babangida on 27 August 1985. Idiagbon was removed from his position as chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters, and he was placed under house arrest for three years.

Personal life

On 6 March 1970, Idiagbon married Biodun Idiagbon (née Gamra). They had two sons and three daughters together: Adekunle, Junior, Ronke, Mope and Bola. [2]


Major-General Idiagbon (Rtd.) received several awards and medals. In alphabetical order they include:

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  1. Ojo, Ayodele. "Nigeria: Idiagbon: His Life, His Times Till he died last week". All Africae=11 August 2015.
  2. 1 2 Uwechue, Ralph (1991). Africa Who's who. Africa Journal Limited. p. 790.
  3. 1 2 Adeogun, Segun (1991). Who is Who in Kwara State. Ilorin, Nigeria:Segun Adeogun. p. 110.
  4. Ajibaye, Salu Adewale. "Tunde Idiagbon Nigeria's unsung hero". Newswatch Times Nigeria. Retrieved 11 August 2015.[ permanent dead link ]
  5. Inamete, Ufot (2001). Foreign Policy Decision-making in Nigeria. Susquehanna University Press. p. 131.
  6. "Nigerians bank money before exchange of currency".
  7. Adediji, Banji (2013). Deeper insight into Nigeria's public administration. Author House. p. 253.
  8. Inamete, Ufot (2001). Foreign Policy Decision-making in Nigeria. Susquehanna University Press. p. 134.