Brig. Gen. Solomon Giwa–Amu, 1959-2008

by Jude Arijaje

As I write this, perhaps, my heart has never been heavier. As I write this, it’s beginning to look like nothing makes sense and would ever make sense anymore. As I write this, it’s becoming difficult every minute to make sense of what this life is all about

The death of anybody is a sad thing. When somebody dies in his prime, when the whole world seems to be at your feet, you wonder again if this life is worth it. This is the case with Solomon Giwa-Amu; the well loved Brigadier General of the Nigerian army, director of Army Public Relations, former ADC to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and most recently, defence attaché in New York.

Giwa-Amu with Obasanjo (Pix: Sun News)

The morning after, I still find it difficult to operate beyond auto pilot. I know this morning, the day after, and many more days after would be difficult for his immediate family, friends and acquaintances and even foes (I doubt if he had any). The question would be many and there would be no answers leaving many to wonder what exactly is the essence of life.

For those of us who knew Brigadier General Giwa Amu, we have lost a friend, a brother, and a person who words cannot even describe who he was. First and foremost he was a quintessential family man, who placed his family well above any other consideration

To his friends, especially, the younger ones like me. He was a protector and an inspiration to how you should live your life as a human being.

I met Brigadier General Giwa Amu in 1986 at the S & T Barracks in Ugbowo, Benin City. He was then a Captain in the Nigerian Army and I was an undergraduate at the University of Benin who was living in the Barracks then courtesy of then Brigadier General Brimmo Yussuf and then Lieutenant R O Yussuf. There was no false airs about Brigadier General Giwa Amu. He opened his doors to us, he blended in with us and at a point, many would not believe that he was just coming out of a tour of duty as the ADC to General Ike Wachukwu, then external affairs minister

When we were broke, and needed food, General Giwa Amu was there. When school was closed and we needed money to go back home, he was there, even when we just needed money to go have fun, he was there. I can’t recall how many times we played pranks on him that would make even the Pope lose his temper; Brigadier general Solomon Giwa Amu would not even blink. There was not one day he played the army officer card on any of us; even God knows he had more than enough reason to do that. He was there as a friend and big brother

As the years progressed and he climbed the ladder, our paths crossed several times and in the past years as the defence attaché in New York, he, along with his wife Judith, were instrumental and pivotal in the setting up of the North America Chapter of the University Of Benin Alumni Association.

He was there in Charlotte, North Carolina last June at the 2nd reunion of the University of Benin Alumni association and we had so much fun, it was unbelievable. I can just remember teasing him about his impending promotion saying to him, “Oga, all your juniors have become generals what are you wetin for” He asked me to speak to the powers that be on his behalf and I promised I would. He informed us of his move back to Nigeria and promised to be an integral part of the association and we should always count on him.

We sure needed him, but surely God wants him more. What else can we say but to thank God for the life of this wonderful man, a quintessential office, an urbane gentleman and a friend you can always count on even if you don’t see him for ages. But now we are not even going to see him forever anymore.

Only God can comfort his wife Judith, his four kids, his family and his unbelievable circle of friends. Only God can, but in the meantime I can only operate on auto pilot.

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AJAYI RAYMOND JESUSEIME July 17, 2008 - 10:31 am

My mentor, brig gen solomon giwa amu, was the current in the lives of so many people. I can't believe that a rare gem came like a comet across the evening sky, shines so brightly but gone so soon. What a trgedy!

He hailed from not just my country, state, also my local government. Sabongidda-ora to be precise.

At the beginning of spreading his wings for people to fly, he joined the creator.

I won't be able to say all about him, cos he is more than words could say. But i will say "he was a perfect gentleman and the light to shadows."

Since i am also in the army, i shall never allow your light go blind.your candle will always shine.i must continue from where he stopped in jesus name.

I will always remember you as my father, may his gentle soul rest in perfact peace.

debopitan March 3, 2008 - 8:05 am

he’s the perfect defination of the phrase ”officer and a gentleman” still can’t believe he’s gone. have nothing but good memories of him.

may his soul rest in peace.

Oluwatosin March 1, 2008 - 9:09 pm

May his good sole rest in prefect peace

GODWIN February 27, 2008 - 4:47 pm

I was shocked about the untimely death of my good friend.

I spoke to him on Sunday, a day before this fatal accident.

Since the news of his death came to me, I am unable to eat or sleep.

God knows best.

Mary Jatau February 26, 2008 - 12:27 pm

Please kindly visit a website created for Brigadier-General Solomon Giwa-Amu (Uncle Solo) to light a candle for him. Tell all your friends about this website. We are still working on it, will update it regularly. The link is below:

GEORGE UDUIGWOME February 22, 2008 - 1:31 pm

Brigadier General Solomon Giwa Amu, or Solo as he was fondly called, was my uncle. He was truly an officer and a gentleman: truly a man for all seasons. I got the sad news of his transition barely three hours after it happened. My relocation to the US coincided with his appointment as the ADC to the president. When he came to Los Angeles he expressed his desire to be introduced to Pastor Adeboye who was in Los Angeles for a church dedication and I was able to effect this by virtue of the assignment I had back then. His desire was borne out of the fact that Uncle Solo had attended several Holy Ghost Services at the Redeemed Camp. Uncle Solo was a people’s man that always had a joke to share with you. The last time I saw him was in Nigeria at my dad’s funeral, thereafter we spoke several times on the phone and also corresponded by email. However, I am consoled by what the Holy Bible says about being absent in the body and present with the Lord. I am also reminded of the scripture that likens the human life to smoke that appears for a brief moment. The family has lost a gem. My condolences to his wife Judith, their four children, his aged mother, and numerous relatives.

Wg Cdr Olusola O King(Rtd) February 22, 2008 - 12:07 pm

I wish to commend you for your wonderful write up on the late Brig -Gen. Brig Gen Solomon Giwa -Amu was a fine officer and a gentleman by any standard . He was very respectful to his superiors and subordinates alike.He tried to be fair to everyone that came along his path and was a servant to all.He was very friendly,tolerant yet firm in his convictions.He was an asset to the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian nation.May the good lord grant his family ,dependants and friends the fortitude to bear this great loss.

Olua February 21, 2008 - 6:51 am

You have done an admirable job describing Our General. Yet we only scratch the surface in attempting to express the essence of this man. A kind man, who would help others, a good man who would never disparage others to get ahead, a strong man who could command the best from others, a patient man who could wait on the Lord to do His work, a loving man who with Judith was respectful, tender, supportive and absolutely dedicated, a generous man who remembered his roots and built a library for his Holy Trinity Grammar School among other projects, a loyal man, a soldier who did his duty for God and Country, a gifted man who in his few short years touch so many lives. My heart is heavy because we’ve lost Uangbaoje Solomon Agbokai Giwa-Amu to the ages. He will remain in our hearts and minds. His brilliant light will shine and endure in the lives of his children and his wonderful Judith. I thank God for allowing us to see his Power and for the Life of his son Jesus. There are a few others like our Solo. Lord accept the life of your servant Solomon and continue to do your Work through the few.


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