by Chris Nomjov
The Gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai on Saturday expressed shock over the death of Ishaya Bakut, a retired general, who died on Friday.
Mr. Bakut was a former military governor of Benue state. He was appointed Field Commander of ECOMOG during Liberia’s civil war by then Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida. He was principal officer to chief of general staff during the military government of late Sani Abacha.
Mr. El-Rufai in a statement signed by his media assistant, Samuel Aruwan, described Mr. Bakut as a patriotic officer and gentleman who served with sheer patriotism during Nigeria’s civil war and later in several capacities in the military.
“El-Rufai received the news of General Bakut’s death with shock and pains in view of their mutual relationship and the fact that he held Bakut in high esteem,” the statement said.
“Nigeria lost in Bakut a patriot, a statesman, who in active service and retirement was committed to peace, stability and development of the country and also Kaduna State.
“He was an accomplished military officer and senior citizen, our deep condolence to his family, citizens of Kaduna state, Southern Kaduna Elders Consultative Council and Bajju Chiefdom in Kaduna State.
“May Almighty God grant his family the fortitude to bear this painful loss and grant his soul eternal rest.”
Mr. Bakut who hails from Kurmin Bi, Zonkwa, in Zangon Kataf local government was born on 16 August, 1947.
He attended Government College, Kaduna (1961–1965) on a Shell BP Scholarship. In 1966 he went to the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, graduated in March 1969, was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant. He attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1971–1975) where he earned a B.Sc Engineering. He attended the United States School of Engineering (1977–1978), the Command and Staff College, Jaji (1979–1980) and the Indian National Defence College, New Delhi in 1985 where he obtained his M.Sc.
He was a Company and Battalion Commander in the Infantry during the Nigerian Civil War (1969–1970). He was appointed Commander of 41 Engineers Brigade, Kaduna in 1976 and became a Senior Operations Officer, Operational Engineering. He served in the Nigerian contingent of the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (April 1980 – February 1981). Other positions were Directing Command and Staff College, Jaji (1981–1983), Colonel, General Staff and Army Headquarters, Lagos, and Commander 41 Engineers Brigade, Kaduna.
In 1995 he was Principal Officer to Chief of General Staff, Lt. General Oladipo Diya before his retirement.