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Government & Politics

Obasanjo recounts how he became Head of State after Murtala Muhammed’s assassination

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Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed that after the 1976 coup which claimed the life of the then Head of State, Murtala Muhammed, he was “persuaded” to take over power as the second-in-command.

While Muhammed was killed on February 13, 1976 in a coup spearheaded by Bukarsuka Dimka, an Army colonel, Obasanjo escaped being killed by the coup plotters.
Referring to the then military ruler who was his boss at the time, the former president said: “We worked like jackass for the peace of the country and I was persuaded to take over the headship of the country”.
He recollected this happening on Monday when he hosted the cast and crew of a yet-to-be-released film, titled “1976” at his Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
Obasanjo went on to state that Nigerians had thought that the coup would bring the country to an end as there were misconceptions about the putsch, which upturned the political situation at the that time.
He explained that the misconception stemmed from the fact that most of those involved in the coup were Christians and killing the head of state, who was a Muslim, was seen as a bad signal for a nation.
“The killing of a Muslim on a Friday by a gang thought to be Christians, particularly, when we remembered the first coup, which upturned the political situation, gave a bad signal.
“Where will it amount to; where will it lead us to and where will it lead us out? These were what Nigerians had in mind,” the ex-Head of State stated.

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