Icheoku says whether it is in a crate or coffin or casket, they are all confinement as the man who once ran Nigeria under President Shehu Shagari's government is going home for the last time, albeit willy nilly; and not even the British Government's Scotland Yard can rescue him this time. Courtesy of the almighty leveler, MISTER DEATH, then fugitive Umaru Dikko can no longer run or hide from his transgressions for which the Buhari/Idiagbon junta wanted him bundled back to Nigeria so badly that it led to a diplomatic face-off between Nigeria and then Margaret Thatcher's British government. Icheoku says whether Umaru Dikko's body will be handed over to Muhammadu Buhari on arrival, so that he can "retroactively" settle their old scores, the jury is still out. Icheoku recalls with great vividity the urgency of the junta getting the runaway Umaru Dikko that they paid Israeli agents to bundle him back to Nigeria, dead or alive, and at whatever cost; an operation that was botched when the whimpering Umaru Dikko was discovered unconscious inside a crate at Gatwick airport waiting airlift back to Lagos. The rest of the story is now history and so also was the man Umaru 'DISCO,' who once welded so much power in Nigeria. Umaru Dikko has made his exit from this journey called life which he began eighty something years ago when his mother pushed him out of her womb.
Icheoku asks but who is Umaru Dikko that his death would elicit all these obituaries? What made him a "statesman" that David Mark described him as? What legacies did he leave behind? Did the lot of his Kano State people and Nigerians in general improve while he held sway? When he was called to serve in various capacities especially as Transport and Aviation Minister, did he deliver on his assignment creditably well? What kind of Kano and Nigeria is he leaving behind? Did he groom and nurture successors to take over from him and finally did he ever had time to explain himself to Muhammadu Buhari and did both men make up and reconcile their differences? Anyway answers to some of these questions on the life and times of Umaru Dikko, Nigerians may never know; but suffice it to say that Umaru Dikko was one heck of an unapologetic Northern Nigerian Fascist, who believed in the inalienable right of the Northerner to maintain a vice-hold on power and in perpetuity.
Umaru Dikko was so many things to so many people, depending on which side of the political and geographical divide they belong, who would remember him divergently. But above all, Umaru Dikko would be remembered for his no nonsense quasi-presidential authority which he exercised over his then political party, National Party of Nigeria (NPN), and throughout Nigeria in general. The rice scandal readily comes to mind too. Icheoku will remember Umaru 'DISCO' particularly for his condescending 'HUNGER-TEST' theory that "no Nigerian is picking food from the dustbin and therefore there is no hunger in the land?' Icheoku berates that were this a valid universal litmus test, it will then be safe to also suggest that because some Americans feed off discarded food from garbage bins, that there is hunger in America?
Anyway in Umaru Dikko, lived one Nigerian who once thought that the entire estate called Nigeria was his private playground and boy did he weld absolute authority then. Stories abound then that even President Shehu Shagari had to first check with Umaru Dikko on so many issues of the day? Icheoku says just like today's men of power Edwin Clark/Tony Anenih are to President Jonathan Goodluck, Umaru Dikko was the go-to-man in the then Shagari power structure, such that even the vice president allegedly deferred to him? Umaru Dikko was among the very few men that can go to then Agura House whenever he pleases and secure the ears of President Shagari. But hey in politics as well as in many other life endeavors, having a godfather or a father-figure to check in with never hurts.
Among other things credited to Umaru Dikko, he solely stopped MKO Abiola's presidential ambition in 1979 whence came his infamous "the presidency is not for sale to the highest bidder" comment; and then literally handpicked Shagari for the office? Umaru Dikko also resuscitated and solidified the "born to rule" fighting words of Northern Nigeria Hausa/Fulani Muslims as initiated by Ahmadu Bello the Sarduana of Kaduna and permanently etched it into their psyche? Umaru Dikko was once quoted as saying that "the Igbos are gifted in technology, the Yorubas in diplomacy and the North has the gift of leadership of Nigeria bestowed on them by Allah?' Also the then dreaded "Kaduna Mafia", now made impotent by the Niger Delta/South-South Mafia, was part of his brainchild too? Icheoku says now that the nightmare of a crate has finally become an inescapable reality in the shape of a casket, except that at the shallow grave he will once again be freed of its confinement as his white-linen draped body is lowered into it for yet another confinement and covered up to begin his final journey back to dust from whence he came, Adieu Umaru, RIP Umaru 'DISCO' Dikko!