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Law 2: Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends - Politics - Nairaland

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Law 2: Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends by SerrickBytes: 7:12am On Mar 21, 2022

Be wary of friends they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.
-Robert Greene, 48 laws of power

In 1975, General Yakubu “Jack” Gowon, Nigeria’s Military ruler was attending an African conference in Kampala, Uganda when he was ousted. When one of his aides informed him of his overthrow, Gowon was shocked, but he quickly comported himself and managed to put up a calm disposition. Although uncertain, Gowon could picture a glimpse of hope somewhere – the coup can still be foiled if only “The Man” is on his side!

The originator of the plot to overthrow General Gowon was then Colonel Shehu Yar’adua. Yar’adua had co-opted other mid-ranking officers like Colonels Ibrahim Taiwo, Abdullahi Muhammed, Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari. Yar’adua then approached some of his superior officers, who were brigadiers, and intimated them of the plot to remove General Gowon from power. Although the brigadiers agreed on the necessity of the putsch, they however declined to actively partake in it, and told the plotters, “There must be no bloodshed in the process”.

In order to succeed, and also avoid bloodshed like the brigadiers had insisted, the plotters needed an inside man – someone who is part of Gowon’s security that can easily neutralize his defense, and close to Gowon and privy enough to forestall any surprises. Eventually, they got their man, and he readily joined the plot. The man was Colonel Joe Garba.

Colonel Joe Garba commanded the guards’ brigade – the elite special fighting force tasked with defending the head of state, General Gowon to death. Joe Garba, then a 21 year old fresh out of the military academy as a lieutenant, was handpicked by Gowon, who was impressed by the young soldier’s physique, and then brought him into the guard’s brigade. Eventually, Gowon made Joe Garba commander of the guards’ brigade, with both men becoming very close friends over the years.

On the set date of the overthrow, Joe Garba, kitted in full combat outfit, was tasked with ensuring the guards’ brigade would offer no resistance, which he had no trouble doing since he was their commander. He simply ordered them to stand down. Joe Garba also had some of Gowon’s other security men quietly arrested. After which he proceeded to the radio station, and in a nationwide broadcast, announced the end of General Gowon’s rule.

Back in Kampala, Uganda, when Gowon eventually learnt that the very man he had been hoping on to thwart the coup and save his regime; the head of his special guards – Colonel Joe Garba was in fact the man who announced his overthrow, he knew then, that was the end of his government. He never bothered going back to Nigeria, not even after the new government promised to guarantee his utmost safety. Gowon instead went on exile to London, where he remained for several years.

Few months before his overthrow, General Gowon’s intelligence unit had tipped him off that a coup was underway, and Joe Garba’s name had been mentioned as part of the plotters. Gowon called Joe Graba into his office, “I heard you are plotting against me”, he said. Joe Garba denied it, and swore his allegiance to the ruler. Again, a few days before he had departed for the African Countries summit in Uganda, Gowon was informed of Joe Garba’s possible complicity in a coup plot, with strong recommendation to remove him from his position as the head of the elite guard’s brigade. Gowon confronted Joe Garba for the second time, and still, he denied the allegations. Gowon then chose to believe his friend’s denials, after all, Joe Garba has been his confidant for many years; he owes his position to him (Gowon) and stood to gain more from Gowon in charge of the country than anyone else. They are from the same home state, same tribe, kinsmen, both are Christians, and Joe Garba was a professional soldier who is bound by oath to defend and protect his commander-in-chief, General Gowon. With his trust and belief in Joe Garba, Gowon jetted out to Uganda, only for the same Joe Garba to conspire with others and have him toppled.

It took several decades to finally reconcile Gowon and Joe Garba – who rose to become a major-general before he retired from the military. Apparently, General Gowon was more stung with Joe Garba’s betrayal than the coup itself. But then, in actuality, General Gowon had himself to blame when he chose to transgress the law that states “Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends”.

Takeaway Quote
“If you never expect gratitude from a friend, you will be pleasantly surprised when they do prove grateful”
-Robert Greene

Excerpts is from my book “Transgressions and and Observances of the 48 Laws of Power in Nigeria”
available on Amazon Kindle.
Find it on Amazon with the serial number: B09S3YZ465

NB: If you require a creative ghost writer for your memoirs, autobiographies, tell-all-tales, reach me via
email: serrickbytes@gmail.com

1 Like

Re: Law 2: Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends by helinues: 7:14am On Mar 21, 2022
Over the weekend, I scrutinized some contacts on my list.

Those who have not been useful not just to me but to themselves have been flushed out

No more time for nonsense
Re: Law 2: Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends by SerrickBytes: 7:15am On Mar 21, 2022

When Major-General Ibrahim Babangida overthrow his close friend and decades-long military colleague, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari via a coup d’état in 1985; he first ensured that Buhari was well locked up. Then he assembled his fellow coup plotters, and after a toast to celebrate their success, he said to them, “Congratulations! We made it but remember one thing, just like we took up guns and toppled a government, we also have to watch because somebody would one day want to topple us and this is because I understood the nature of the Nigerian person.” Babangida did not just make a trifling statement, he was proactive and made the most scheming moves ever. Over the course of the next few years, Babangida retired many of his top generals; some were retired in batches and groups, and others were retired one by one. Even some of his closest friends like Generals Gado Nasko and Sani Sami were not spared of Babangida’s retirement ploy. However, the most interesting aspect of Babangida’s retirement tact was that he only stripped most of the retired generals off their military powers, but kept them on as civilian members of his government; one of such was his second-in-command, Commodore Augustus Aikhomu, whom he retired from active military service but retained him as the country’s vice-president. The only generals President Babangida did not retire were the ones he depended on to guard him against coup d’états, like Generals Abacha and Aliyu Gusau, but nevertheless Babangida used redeployments tactics to checkmate them; he kept moving them around, from one command to another, and at short intervals – that way, they do not get too settled in their respective positions to plot against him. Even with the retirements and redeployments strategy, Babangida did not rest on his oars; he was the most generous to his generals, and employed the power of money to make them wealthy and satisfied.

President Banbagida rightly identified the press as one of the most potent enemies of any government since they control the dissemination of information and could easily incite insurrections. Babangida reached out to them, and befriended some notable journalists. He agreed to interviews from those news agencies that had antagonized previous governments, and even had the foremost opposition politician and publisher, Chief Obafemi Awolowo visit him with his wife. Awolowo’s newspaper agency, The Nigerian Tribune had always been a thorn in the flesh of the previous government; but when Awolowo emerged from the president’s residence, he was pictured alongside Babangida, beaming with the broadest of smiles.

Babangida turned even more enemies into friends; Wole Soyinka and Tai Solarin – men who never saw anything good about military rule were given appointments by General Babangida. Tai Solarin, who was made the head of a new credit bank described the offer as “unusual”, but he accepted it anyways, and was very happy. Then there were the Ransome-Kuti family – who were renowned for castigating anything that has to do with military rule; they were either marching the street protesting, or the radical musician Fela Kuti is attacking one general or the other with stinging lyrics of his songs. Babangida brought the Kuti family into his fold, when he made renowned pediatrician, Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti his health minister, and knowing that the health minister’s brothers, Fela and Beko Kuti were unrepentant chain-smokers, he had him launch a nationwide campaign against tobacco.

Babangida beguiled everyone who could mar his rule; including politicians, traditional and religious rulers whom he patronized with cash gifts. Those he could not bring into his government, Babangida settled them with money. Even the wife of the man he usurped, Major-General Buhari, received cash gifts from Babangida, while at the same time, still keeping her husband in prison.

General Babangida had participated in lots of coups. Even the one that had brought his predecessor, General Buhari to power, was his machination; reason why Buhari rewarded him with the post of the Army Chief, a position from which he was able to plot another coup and finally seize power for himself. Therefore he very much knew what he was up against. There was no escaping it – someone would definitely plot to oust him. It was sacrosanct. However, he can deflect it, and the best way to do it was to make friends out of his numerous enemies – the journalists, the politicians, the regular government critics and most especially, the very dangerous generals close to him. He did just what the Chinese General, Chao K’uang-yin (Emperor Sung) did – retiring his generals, rewarding them with riches and keeping them far away from the source of their power; and they in turn became his staunch loyalists. One general even swore he could follow Babangida into the battlefield blindfolded. Even those who never expected Babangida’s appeal, were astonished when he reached out to them with the usual largesse, and they in due course, became his supporters. Babangida never trusted his friends; in fact, the first significant person he executed upon coming to power was his childhood friend and colleague, Major-General Maman Vatsa – whom he accused of plotting to overthrow him. Babangida ruled for many years, and survived several plots and twists. He secured so much power to himself that made any coup against him impossible and suicidal because he perfected the art of using his enemies, and never trusting his friends.

Takeaway Quote
“The wise man profits more from his enemies, than a fool from his friends.”
Baltasar Gracian, 1601-1658

Re: Law 2: Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends by meccuno: 7:29am On Mar 21, 2022
Over the weekend, I scrutinized some contacts on my list.

Those who have not been useful not just to me but to themselves have been flushed out

No more time for nonsense
[/s] you are a bigot. you are not even useful to yourself undecided

Re: Law 2: Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends by helinues: 8:08am On Mar 21, 2022
[s][/s] you are a bigot. you are not even useful to yourself undecided


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