Former ECOMOG Commander laid to rest in Gombe

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

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The body of former Force Commander of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group, ECOMOG, in Liberia, Major General Timothy Mai Shelpidi has been laid to rest in his hometown, Boh, in Shongom Local Government Area of Gombe State.

Major General Shelpidi, who was the Force Commander of ECOMOG in Liberia from January 1988 to March 1999, was also one of those instrumental to the creation of Gombe State in 1996.

Born on September 4, 1948, Major General Shelpidi also served Nigeria in many capacities both as civilian and military officer, such as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia with simultaneous accreditation to the Republic of Belarus and Georgia from 2008 to 2011.

As a foremost politician in Gombe State, Major General Shelpidi after his voluntary retirement in 1999 contested for the governorship seat in the 2003 Election under the National Democratic Party.

The funeral ceremony was attended by the Governor of Gombe State, Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, his classmates at the 3rd Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy, members of the Kagoro Old Boys Association, the Nigerian Army, the Royal Father Kantungo, Mai Kaltungo, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Saleh Muhammadu, Representative of the Tangale Community, as well as the Church, where the deceased attended both at home in Shongom and Abuja.

For Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, Major General Shelpidi was a war hero that served the country diligently and changed the political landscape of the state.

“Major General Timothy Mai Shelpidi, besides influencing the creation of Gombe State and two local governments in his chiefdom, Kaltungo and Shongom, the statesman has offered many useful advices guided successful governments like a beacon like. His contributions no doubt have impacted positively in policy decisions of this administration” Governor Dankwambo said.

In his sermon taken from the Book of Revelation, 22:7, the Senior Pastor of ECWA Wuse II Abuja, Reverend Barde Maigadi, reminded Christians of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as such, and the need for them to be prepared, especially before their death.

“You don’t know when you are going to die. God can call you right now. Do you know where you are going? Jesus says I am coming soon. He can come in any form. He can come through death, He can come through rapture, but the question I want to ask you is, are you ready? He didn’t only say He is coming soon, but He says He is coming as a judge. In verse 12 says ‘Behold I am coming soon and my reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done,” Reverend Maigadi said.

The representative of the Shongom Community, the Wakilin Tangale, Dr. Ismaila Jimeta, solicited for the immortalization of Late Major General Shelpidi, which may be the establishment of a higher institution in Shongom.

“I hope you will help us plead with the authorities to have something to immortalise him. And if I may suggest, he could be immortalized by having a higher institution of learning within the state named after him or it could be a new Federal higher institution that can be cited even within Shongom which has no higher institution and named after him.”

Responding in support of this drive, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo said the State Executive Council meeting would decide on the kind of edifice that would carry the immortalization of the late Gombe illustrious son.

“After tomorrow’s council, we will look for how to immortalize this great General, Governor Dankwambo said.  

According to the family, General Shelpidi died after a protracted illness at an Abuja hospital.

He left behind his wife, children, grandchildren, an aged mother and many relations.

Omolayo.A