Gen. Domkat Yah Bali (GCON) at 80

Domkat Bali


By Ponsak Daniel Nansak

“I could have become head of state but I let it pass. I wasn’t keen anyway; if I had wanted to be head of state I would have become one.”

In the light of his exemplary vision, self-discipline, honesty, integrity and leadership qualities, and as a publish author who played a heroic role to keep the country one during the Nigerian Civil War, General Domkat Yah Bali (GCON) was acclaimed by his contemporaries and other ranks as a role model with remarkable vision, played significant role in the reformation of the Nigerian Army.

An exemplary officer and a gentleman, a retired four-star General of the Nigerian Army who remained courageous, bold and optimistic about living and full of life, is the outstanding quality of a true mark of General Domkat Yah Bali, a frank, he doesn’t go around talking unnecessarily he doesn’t talk much, not by design but by nature!

General Domkat Yah Bali was born on 27th February 1940, in Langtang, Plateau State to the family of Hassan Bali Tabut and Yinkat Bali. He had his primary education at Mban, Langtang in present Langtang North Local Government and from 1955 to 1960, he attended the provincial secondary school at Kuru.


Domakt Bali as a young army officer


He joined the Nigerian Army in 1961 and is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In 1964, he was a lieutenant and troop commander. General Domkat Bali became captain a year later in 1965. In 1966, he was battery commander and during the Nigerian Civil War, he was a regimental commander. In the same vein, he was made major in 1968. Between 1970 and 1971, General Bali was commander, Corps of Artillery and later became a Colonel at the Second Infantry Division in Ibadan.

In 1973, he was posted to Akure as the commander of the 9th Infantry Brigade; he was adjutant general Nigerian army in 1975, commander Corps of Artillery in 1976 and in 1978. General Bali was the General Officer Command (GOC) of the First Infantry Division, Kaduna. Prior to becoming Defense Minister in 1984, he was Commandant of the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and Staff College from 1981 to 1983 and later Director of Army Training and Operations.

In his quest for discipline, leadership and professionalism General Domkat Bali undertook military courses at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England in 1962 -63, Gunnery Staff course, Larkhill, U.K from 1968 -69, Staff College Camberley, Surrey, England – 1972 Royal College of Defence, Cowdon, UK 1980 to mentioned a few amongst others.

General Domkat Bali is a retired Four-Star General of the Nigerian Army. He was Minister of Defence and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a member of the Supreme Military Council of 1984-1985, and the Armed Forces Ruling Council of 1985-1990. He is a recipients of various service awards including Grand Commander of Order of Niger (GCON), Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), Defence Service Medal, National Service Medal, Republic Service Medal, General Service Medal, Forces Service Star to mention but a few.

27 February 1940 marks his 80th Birthday anniversary a quintessential role model, an exemplary officer and a gentleman, a father, a grandfather, and an elder- statesman of great repute. While he was in the military service, General Domkat Bali held a good number of key command positions and resigned from the army on January 10, 1990. In both positions, he discharged his duties creditably with remarkable vision in his fountain of experience and goodwill as in his modest life; General Donkak Yah Bali (GCON) serve as a compass for Military actions which played significant roles in the reform of the Nigerian Army today.

Furthermore, in Nigeria it is customary for retired Generals to be on board of companies; some even own companies or are involved in Politics. However, General Domkat Bali (Rtd) remained as frank, a very carefree man, who likes to be himself, who prefer success to failure, never overambitious who once said, and I quote… “I could have become head of state but I let it pass. I wasn’t keen anyway; if I had wanted to be head of state I would have become one.”

80 years is beyond average life expectancy, so reaching this age is a blessing. Likewise, people at this age are a blessing to be around and there’s a lot to learn from them, even if you don’t agree with everything they say. General Domkat Yah Bali (GCON) core values are; leadership, discipline, integrity, passion, quality, accountability and transparency which serve as compass for his actions, as well as described how he reacts to humanity in discharging his duties and responsibilities.

No wonder due to his wide recognition, joviality, accommodative and hospitable nature which is characterized so full of life, many sees General Domkat Bali as “the Generals’ General” a hero, mentor, pillar of hope, a pathfinder of justice and a source of inspiration to all who knew him.

General Domkat Yah Bali (GCON) sought and peruses peace with passion, he stands against injustices and any form of impunity on his kin’s men, he stands for justice and always ensuring equity and fairness plays out in dealings with people when others think otherwise. He detests crocket ways and he often shuns and rebuked any form of divisive tendencies and manipulations to fellow human beings. These are some legacies of General Domkat Yah Bali (GCON) worthy of emulation by all and sundry!

Nansak, a Public Affairs Commentator can be reached at 08036904058; dponzy@yahoo.com