Civil War hero, retired General Benjamin Adekunle, popularly known as ‘Black Scorpion’ is dead. The General died Saturday morning in Lagos.
Adekunle was born in Kaduna. His father was a native of Ogbomosho, while his mother was a member of the Bachama tribe. He underwent secondary education at the government college, Okene (in present day Kogi State).
He enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1958 shortly after completing his school certificate examinations. He passed the army selection examinations and thereafter was despatched to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK, the British Army’s initial officer entry academy. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on December 15, 1960.
As a platoon commander, he served in Kasai Province of Congo with the 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Nigeria Regiment during his first ONUC UN peace keeping tour of duty. In 1962, Lt. Adekunle became Aide-de-Camp to the governor of the eastern region, Sir Akanu Ibiam. The following year, as a Captain, he was posted back to the Congo as Staff Captain (A) to the Nigerian Brigade HQ at Luluabourg – under Brigadier B. Ogundipe.
In 1964, Major Adekunle attended the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington, in India. When he returned he was briefly appointed Adjutant General at the Army Headquarters in May 1965 to replace Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, who was proceeding on a course outside the country. However, he later handed over the position to Lt. Col. James Pam and was posted back to his old Battalion (1st Bn) in Enugu as a Company Commander.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Titled, “The Generalissimo has fallen”. Tinubu said the Great General Benjamin Adekunle (Rtd.) has left this world and his departure saddens me greatly.
Tinubu said “The Civil War Hero was a Soldier’s Soldier. He was a man of valor and unimaginable bravery. Lion-hearted and a leader of men. He served his Fatherland devotedly and without question when we most needed him.”
Statement continued, “Like most great men, he was greatly misunderstood. His flamboyant and outspoken nature made him a colourful character. However, that never stopped him from emerging as one of the most remarkable icons in Nigeria’s military history.”
“The “Black Scorpion” was a man of uncommon intelligence and fierce determination. On the battle field, he had no equal. He represented
the best generation of our military personnel. The ones who refused to back down from any enemy; who put their very existence on the line for
our continued coexistence.”
“Of all of Gen. Adekunle’s qualities, it is his loyalty to the flag that I most admire. He was a worthy ambassador of his people and a great example in service. He led from the front.”
Let it be said of Gen. Adekunle: “Here is a man who gave his country the best of his life.” May his warrior soul find rest. And I pray his wife family find the fortitude to bare the irreparable loss, the APC Chieftain concluded.