NupeEmpire: AVM John Nma Yisa-Doko and Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa – Tale of two humble beginnings


AVM John Nma Yisa-Doko was the first indigenous Chief of Air Staff when he was appointed in 1975.

AVM Nma Yisa-Doko of blessed memory was amongst the first batch of pilots recruited to serve in the Nigerian Air Force, trained in Ethiopia and was given command over the first Air platoon formed, when the German technical assistance team finished their mission to form the Nigerian Air Force.

The Doko born former Chief of Air Staff was a man of many firsts, a feat he attained through discipline, hardwork and determination right from his humble beginnings growing up on the dusty streets of Doko.

Late Nma Yisa-Doko retired from the service of his fatherland having left an indelible footprints on the sands of time, protecting the territorial integrity of Nigeria and will forever be remembered for his commanding roles during the Nigerian Civil War as Officer Commanding NAF flying wing and senior officer in charge of operations.

Before his unjustified execution in 1986, late Mamman Jiya Vatsa had risen through the ranks in the Nigerian Army to the lofty position of a Major General and was very popular among his colleagues for his intellectual capacity.

Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa was described right from his days at Government College, Bida to be a highly cerebral, hardworking and refined gentleman who would later join the Nigerian military to help protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity during the Nigerian Civil War. Vatsa commanded the 21 battalion during the Nigerian Civil War and as a poet and journalist, he wrote academic papers of certain encounters during the nearly three years war.

An instructor at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Principal Staff Officer at Army Headquarters among others, he played a prominent role in the Nigerian Army as Head of different Commands, distinguishing himself and bringing to bear his experience whenever he was called upon as he served with passion and uncommon commitment and patriotism.

Vatsa would later be accused of treason while serving as Federal Minister of the Federal Capital Territory by his childhood friend and colleague, Gen Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, a claim many of his admirers believed he was wrongly accused of.

It is important to note that Mamman Vatsa, was appointed QuarterMaster General during the later part of President Shehu Shagari’s tenure before the coup in 1983 and was on leave during the Buhari coup and therefore didn’t take part. He didn’t also take part in the Babangida coup against Buhari in 1985 as he was on pilgrimage to Makkah alongside Major General Tunde Idiagbon.

He was a member of the AFRC, Federal Executive Council and occasionally, the National Council of States, the only military officer, other than the C-in-C, to be a member of all three ruling bodies.

The duo of AVM John Nma Yisa-Doko and Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa in their respective careers in the military brought respect to KinNupe through their dedication to the Nigerian project.

Men of valour and candour! They paid their dues and would be remembered for their feats in years to come.

Rest on patriots.

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