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Discover Nigeria > People > Tunde Abdulbaki Idiagbon

Tunde Abdulbaki Idiagbon

Babatunde "Tunde" Abdulbaki Idiagbon was born on 14 September, 1943 to Mr. Hassan Dogo and Ayisatu Iyabeji Hassan Idiagbon in Ilorin, Kwara State. He attended United Primary School, Ilorin from 1950-1952 and Okesuna Senior Primary School, Ilorin from 1953-1957. His secondary school education was at the Nigeria Military Academy, Zaria between 1958 and 1962. From there he proceeded to the Pakistani Military Academy, Kakul 1962-1965 and later attended a junior commander course at the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna.

In 1966, he attended a young officers' course at the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna and also a junior staff course in the Nigerian Army Brigade. He was at the Command and Staff College, Pakistan in 1976 and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru near Jos in 1981. In 1982, he attended an International Defence Management course in the Naval Post Graduate School, US A. He held a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the Pakistani Military Academy. An associate member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Idiagbon is a holder of the Senior International Defence Management Diploma.

In 1962, he enlisted as an officer cadet and was commissioned as second lieutenant in April1965. He was promoted lieutenant in 1966 and captain in 1968. At the end of the civil war, Idiagbon became a major and Lt.-Colonel in 1974, Colonel in July 1978 and Brigadier in May 1980. In the course of a distinguished military career, he held various military posts. He served as company commander, 4 Battalion, from August 1965 to February 1966, intelligence officer 4 Battalion and later GS0 3 Intelligence, 1 sector commanding officer, 20 Battalion from October 1967 to February 1968 and 125 Battalion from 1968 to 1970. He was brigade major and deputy- commander, 33 Brigade from March 1970 to March 1971 and commander, 29 Brigade from March 1971 to December 1972.

Appointed general staff officer, grade 1 and later principal staff officer, supreme headquarters from January 1973 to August 1975, Idiagbon was the Brigade Commander, 31 and 15 Brigades respectively from August 1975 to August 1978. While he was serving as Commander, 15 Brigade, he was at the same time a member of the Governing Council of the University of Jos. General Idiagbon's political appointment began in August 1978 when he was made the military governor of Borno State.

He was in this capacity till 1 October 1979. Simultaneously, he was the Commander, 33 Brigade and member of the National Council of State. He served as director of manpower and planning, Army Headquarters from October 1979 to February 1981 and military secretary (army) 1981-1983 from where he was appointed chief of staff, supreme headquarters when the military overthrew the civilians on 31 December 1983. A lover of jazz music of Miles David and Herbie Hankock, Gen. Idiagbon was reportedly tender with his five children, from Mrs. Biodun Idiagbon whom he married in August 1970.

From August 1978 to October 1979, the military Head of State, General Obasanjo appointed Idiagbon as the military administrator  of Borno State, Nigeria. He was chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985. He played a key role in Buhari's military government as he controlled all visible instruments of national, political, governmental and administrative powers. Idiagbon spearheaded  policies that many Nigerians viewed as some of the most extreme and stringent in the nation’s history. He pursued the policy of  ‘’War Against Indiscipline’’ and the Anti Drug Abuse with a ruthless zeal and determination that has not been witnessed since even in other military regimes . Punctuality for civil servants, queuing up were strictly enforced. To arrive at work late even by a second attracted frog jumps ordered by soldiers wielding ‘kobokos’ horsewhips. He was very punctual himself.

After 20 months in power, the military government of Buhari was overthrown by Ibrahim Babangida on 27 August 1985. Idiagbon was removed from his position as chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters, and was placed under house arrest for three years. He died in 1999 of suspected food poisoning.