“The military came in as political physicians but ended up as political patients requiring even greater dosages of the medicinal prescription they had come in to serve to politicians”, That was Prof Isawa Elaigwu responding in part to the question “Would Nigeria have been better than it is now if there had been no military intervention in Nigerian politics?” in an August 16th, 2016 interview with Intervention, published under the title “Nigeria: Herdsmen Conflict is Civil War in the Making – Prof Elaigwu Part 1”
Of course, it was not a February 13th interview and no specific questions were asked on individual military leaders. As such, we do not have the benefit of what a Prof Elaigwu might have said on Murtala Mohammed. That is whether Prof Elaigwu would have said, for instance, something like “with the exception of Murtala Mohammed….”.
Generally, his ‘Africa has come of age’ statement is definitive of his legacy and the price he paid for that. The key question is how well he would have ended. Would he have stuck to the transition programme? Would he have accepted advice he was getting to slow down? Would Nigeria have worn him out? Where was driving him? Pan-Africanism, heroism, patriotism, stubbornness or foolhardiness as General IBM Haruna once said?
Reuben Ziri, the late Historian, appears to have the last word on General Murtala Mohammed. He said answers to all such questions about Murtala now rest in speculation.