That morning of the Revolution, when Ahmadu Kurfi, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence alerted him that the Prime Minister had been abducted under gunpoint by unknown soldiers, Shagari said: “my immediate reaction was to telephone the Sardauna in Kaduna but the telephone was dead.” Such was the power of Sardauna’s political machinery that the PM’s Cabinet colleague’s immediate reaction was not to call the police or other security forces when his boss was missing but to call the Sardauna instead.
Both were Northerners. Northern politicians passed the news to Northern politicians and Eastern politicians informed Eastern politicians.
The first politician to cross the tribal barrier was Shehu Shagari who quickly informed his next door neighbour Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya, the NCNC Minister of Housing. He then left to alert Zanna Bukur Dipcharima, who was the Minister of Transport and the most senior NPC minister in the cabinet.
To be continued tomorrow.