Gwadabe Lawan; Colonel in the Nigerian army, once Managing Director of National Shipping Line, NSL, and military governor of Niger state, after, Commander of V, National Guards. Gwadabe Lawan was born November 21, 1949, He was arrested in Yola, and was one of the army officers tried for a coup plot and jailed for life during the regime of General Sani Abacha. He was granted state pardon by General Abdulsalami Abubakar‘s regime on March 3, 1999[i].
Gwadabe attended Nigeria Army Primary School, Jos; Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, and Nigerian Army Infantry School, Jaji[ii]. Gwadabe was part of the triumvirate, the original stock of the so-called “IBB Boys”, the others being his friend and compatriot, Col. Abdul Mumuni, the reticent one who castigates him for pettiness, and Colonel Abubakar Umar[iii]. Gwadabe was one of the few men in the army enjoyed the best of life, training and privilege, known for his peculiar swagger, and handsomeness. He was rewarded for his role in the coup with appointment as the Managing Director of the NSL. Later he did a stint as the governor of Niger State, between 1987 and 1991. He survived the sweep on General Ibrahim Babangida closest allies, called IBB Boys in the early days of the Abacha Administration, to even become the Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to new Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha[iv].
Contrary to widely held notion that Col. Lawan Gwadabe was the leader of the coup, a television documentary that was the highlight of Nigerian politics of the year suggested Fadile who holds a Ph.D. in Law was the prime mover in the plot. According to Fadile’s discredited story, Col. Sambo Dasuki, son of Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki asked him to recruit Gwadabe to their plans. Gwadabe, in his testimony at the Brigadier-General Patrick Azizi Tribunal, admitted being part of the plot[v]. According to Col. Gabriel Ajayi who was one of those implicated by General Ishaya Bamayi in the phantom coup of 1995, the essence of the coup conspiracy was to knock down NADECO (National Democratic Coalition). Once the coup allegation was thrown up, the nation became divided and distracted from the issue of June 12 and that lasted for almost a year[vi]. Testimony against Gwadabe by a junior officer who was made to stand as a witness, according to another of the implicated, Col. Jibrin Isa were all cooked up.
[i] Insider, November 25, 2002
[ii] The News, November 24, 2003
[iii] TELL August 28, 1995
[iv] ThisDay, October 11, 1995
[v] Majesty, October 10, 1995
[vi] Punch, April 9, 2017