Friday, 23 May 2014


Jeremiah Timbut Useni, aka ‘Jerry Boy’ 71, a retired Army General, former military governor of the old Bendel State from 1984 to 1985. He also served as minister of transport, quarter master general of the Nigerian Army and as Federal Capital Territory minister, quite impressive records bare his mind on some topical issues of recent, let’s enjoy him.

 Jerry Useni who joined army at the tender age of 14 hails from Lantang, which is regarded as the ‘Home of Generals’! Said it was a wonderful experience for him to joined the Army then.
‘When I was in primary school, I thought I would join the NA Police, because I liked the uniform. Next was the army, because we used to see them like gods. They had so much power and everywhere they went they were given free drinks’.

‘I enjoyed my military career. It didn’t matter whether it was the army or navy, all I wanted was to be in uniform, but I was very happy that I joined the army, because I realised that our people didn’t like the police. We regarded the police force as a women’s job. You would be surprised that of all the generals we have in Lantang, retired and serving, we don’t have anybody at the full rank of commissioner of police. We don’t like the job; it is for women! As far as we are concerned, it is either you are a teacher or a soldier, or else you don’t have respect in Tarok land.’

General Useni said that there is like ‘Nothing like ‘Lantang mafia’, because it is a very serious thing but for the fact that’ It is (Lantang) just that these areas are military areas. Either your father is a military man or your uncle or someone else related to you. From Lantang alone, we have people like General Bali, myself, Dogon Yaro, Temlong, Joe Garba, Shagaya, etc.’

After his retirement from the army, he joined politics and was appointed the deputy national chairman of the defunct ANPP in 2003. He later dumped the party to form Democratic People’s Party (DPN), of which he became the pioneer national chairman in 2006. In 2011, he contested for the seat of Plateau South senatorial district on the platform of the DPP, but lost.

General Useni put the record straight  on why he was not chosen as head of state  in 1998 when General Abacha died been the most senior serving military officer then; ‘  It is only natural to think so, but things don’t happen like that. It was a military government and we had two ways to choose; either by seniority in rank, which would have been me since Diya was already in jail, or by protocol, which was Abdulsalam, who was then the CDS. Some people voted for seniority and the majority voted for protocol and that was all.’

However, looking at the current security challenges in Nigeria, the General said, ‘the security situation is very bad, unlike before we had crises in the North; we had crises in the Delta area and so on. Currently, the one in the North is more worrisome, like Boko Haram, the killings are no longer restricted to a particular religion’

According to him, ‘initially, we were told it was the Fulani herdsmen, but there are questions begging for answers. That is, if it were the Fulanis, are they Nigerian Fulanis or from outside the country? These are the questions on the lips of Nigerians. Fulanis are known to be in the bush herding their cows, but I learnt they move around with sophisticated weapons, coming in military manner they strike and disappear, using guerrilla tactics and that is why it is very difficult to get them’.


‘What some of us are suggesting is the education of everybody to know his or her responsibilities and not only that of those in uniform. Also, the local government councils should encourage the vigilante groups in their areas and finance them to be on guard round the clock, in order to provide information. Only then can the security forces be able to do a lot. So, it is everybody’s responsibility.’

Jerry ‘boy’ who said that he  enjoy dancing; very good disco and I enjoy football; concluded that ‘ I am a jolly good fellow and that is why they call me ‘Jerry Boy’; and Jerry Boy doesn’t fight with anybody, I didn’t have any problem with anybody; I enjoy my friends and we visit one another. As I said, I am a jolly good fellow.’

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