Why Buhari Cannot Sack Security Political Appointees?

By Stephen Ubanna

More facts have emerged why  President Muhammadu Buhari, could not muster the political will  to fire   his political security  Chieftains fingered over the last three years  to be an embarrassment to the Administration because of their actions.This is because the security Chieftains were  said to have  a dossier on how he was elected President  of Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander -In -Chief of the Armed Forforces in  the 2015 general election. Buhari may have had at the back of his mind that the security Chieftains  and could spill the beans if he sacks them. It is not surprising why he has decided to complete  his first term  in office  with them  despite the fact that one or two of them have reached their retirement age.

They are Lawan Lawal Daura, former Director General, Department of State Security, DSS, Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Magu, acting  Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrahman Dambazau, minister of Internal Affairs among others.  The  Buhari political appointees  were part of the former  Goodluck Jonathan  security team. Recall that Daura was a Director  of DSS, Dambazau, who retired as a Lt. General was the Chief of Army Staff.  He had claimed at a time that he was under intense pressure  to topple the Jonathan Administration  but could not do it because he did  not want to scuttle the country’s  nascent  Democracy while Idris was the Commissioner of Police in Kano state, where Buhari got the winning  vote  to defeat a sitting President.  The three key security  appointees, according to security  sources, were said to be informants to Buhari, despite being key players in former President Goodluck Administration both at the  Federal and state level.

The duo Daura and Dambazau, for instance, later became  members of the Buhari security team in the 2015 general election and thus, were compensated  with  appointments that turned off their head .

Given the role which they were said to have played  to facilitate the election of  Buhari  in the  general election, John Ene, a political analysts said  they turned themselves to tin god and  above the law.  Dambazau, the Minister of Interior may have set the stage for others to copy that  they are above the law when he was said to have masterminded the recall and reinstatement  of Abdulrasheed  Maina,  former Chairman  of the Presidential Task Force  on Pension Reforms.  The minister  was said to have engaged the services of Daura who mobilized his  officials to provide security cover for Maina  who was on the wanted list of the government until he finally escaped  the country.

IT was an opportunity for Buhari to prove to Dambazau and the other  members of  his team involved in the Maina saga that he can bite but he  never did. He had another opportunity to redeem his image  when he ordered Idris, the IGP, to relocate his office to Makurdi, the Benue state Capital at the height of the Herdsmen Killing of farmers in the state and dispossessing of their land  which was turned down but he never did.

Unknown to many  the major problem of the Buhari Administration  was not Dambazau or the IGP but Daura, the spy master of the government. Given the role which he played  during the Administration of  the former President Jonathan to pass security information to Buhari he was also said to be doing  so against  him by  leaking security information  of the government  plot  against  Bukola Saraki, the Senate President to him, described by many as a betrayal of trust. That much was confirmed by  Wahab Abdulrahman, a former DSS official and ally of Daura. ”He will go and get information on plans for Saraki from Buhari and leak it to him”, he had said.

Yemi Osinbajo: Acting President, Restores Honour To The APC Government
Yemi Osinbajo: Acting President, Restores Honour To The APC Government

The Magazine learnt that there was intense pressure on Buhari  to  sack the DSS boss on the allegation of disloyalty  but  he refused  do so insisting that Daura has not not anything wrong to warrant his sack.  This  may have entered his head to do worse  by embarking on actions to embarrass  Buhari and his  government and possibly turn the table against him. He was said to have hatched  out a plot based on security talks with the President on how to unseat Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu , the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Deputy Senate President ,which was said to have been approved by  the president.

Daura, according to sources was said to have assured the President  that  the plot would never leak. Based on the  assurance,  he was said to have given him the nod to go ahead with his plans.  Going by the top level approval,  Daura was  said  to have detailed  the DSS operatives to take over the residences of the duo on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, and ensure  that they  did not leave their premises under any guise to  the National Assembly Complex.

Unknown to Buhari, the information had leaked to Saraki who  had left his residence  to his office at the Complex before the DSS operatives arrived to carry out their mission but Ekweremadu was not lucky. He was  blocked. The failure of the DSS plot may have dawned on Buhari  that there was a mole in his government and he was ready to have his own pound of flesh. The pressure on the President  over  the failed security plot may have been much that on Friday August  3, he proceeded to Britain on a 10 -day vacation. He was said to have transmitted a letter to the Senate that Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President  will act on his behalf. Not many people understood his body language when he left the  Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The DSS boss  may have known  that he had lost  the trust of the President that he came out with another plot to invade the National Assembly.  Insiders said Daura may  have made up his mind  to invade  the  National Assembly in order to warm himself to the President’s heart.

The source disclosed that the plot had leaked to the President who  did not caution him to stop the operation. He knew at the back of his mind that the operation would fail because  Saraki informants leaked  the plan to him. True to his belief , the operation failed. It was therefore  not surprising that  when Osinbajo   reached  out to Buhari that  the DSS would have to go for embarrassing the government, he did not hesitate giving his approval.

Femi Adesina, Senior Special Assistant  on Media and Publicity to the President  alluded much to this when he  said  the dismissal  of   the former DSS boss  by the Osinbajo, the acting President  was not ”without  the knowledge  of Buhari”. Adesina was said to have told those that cares to listen that  that the ”Presidency was one and hence the decision of  such magnitude  could not have been taken  without a sense of unanimity between the President  and the Vice President. There have been insinuations that  that Buhari gave his nod to sack the  APC government Enforcement officer because Osinbajo threatened to resign if Daura was not  relieved of his exalted  security office for embarrassing the government.

Political observers stressed that the actions of the political  appointees, particular, Daura, was not unexpected.   They confirmed that Daura  took a cue from   Ibrahim Babangida, popular as IBB, retired General and former Chief of Army Staff, CAS, and who  incidentally became Nigeria’s Military Head of  state in 1985 actions under Buhari as a Head of State  between December  31, 1983 and August 1985.  As the then Chief of Army Staff IBB was said to have mobilized soldiers to search the  of late Obafemi Awlowo’s House at  Apapa, Lagos. and seizure of  his international passport . He was said to have also statoined  soldiers at Ikenne , his home town, Ogun state. This is in addition to the seizure of his International  passport , claiming that ” it was order from above”.

The  same treatment was  meted to  a Muslim Cleric, Sheik Abubakar Gumi.  Buhari never   spoke out against the action of his  soldiers or bring to book those  who caused the embarrassment to the government, fueling speculation that he was in support of their action. The soldiers attack on the two elder statesmen and several others who sufferred the same humiliation  created the impression in the mind of people that Buhari   was  a dictator.  It was not surprising why Daura and the others could take things for granted under him believing that he could  do nothing.

Idris’ recen  report to the acting President on the DSS invasion of the National Assembly  speaks volume. ”the former DSS boss  acted unilaterally without informing  Osinbajo, the acting President  of the so-called intelligence report  neither did  he share the same report with the police and other security agencies about the planned invasion”,  he had said. He denied that the police had a hand in the plot.

The invasion of the National Assembly by the DSS , ostensibly to  serve pecuniary interest may have   forced Saraki, the Senate President to speak out, ”this is not the kind of Democracy the country had bargained for.”

Many believe that Buhari emboldened Daura and the others from the onset to think that they were  ”above the law”. Daura, for instance, could mobilise his men at any time to investigate anybody including government officials  who  could not acknowledge  him as the boss.  He was said to have been  instrumental to  the refusal of the Senate to confirm Ibrahim Magu, the President’s nomination as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, because of alleged secret security report on him.

Abullahi Sabi, spokes person of the Senate alluded much to the report which described  the chief  corruption fighter  himself as being corrupt. The DSS report, according to a National Assembly source  had exposed Magu’s  N20 million  yearly  rental apartment at Abuja and  the  one time expensive air  transport service he allegedly  enjoyed at  N2.5 million. The service  was said to have involved  a private jet belonging to one  Air Commodore Mohammed Umar, rtd.

The former  DSS boss report  on Magu was also said to have contained information  that he had at one time been  arrested  by Farida Waziri,  a retired Justice  and former Chairman of the EFCC for” stashing  official government  files at home ”.  Wahab Abdullrahman, a former close ally of Daura in DSS confirmed  that the standoff  between the Senate and Buhari over the”’ appointment of  Magu as  the head of  the EFCC   was as a result of the memos  from the DSS which  the lawmakers referenced  as a basis  for rejecting him”.

Security sources told the Magazine that Daura’s hatred for Magu was   his refusal to share information on high profile cases  being investigated by the Commission.  That much was also confirmed by Abdulrahman, who claimed  that” he wanted to use such information  to extort money from people” in an interview  with  Premium Times. It was learnt that Magu had told the former DSS boss that he would never report to him as he is only answerable to the President who appointed him.  that may have angered him to fight for Magu’s removal. He got it wrong as  Magu has the backing of Buhari.

More so, he was said to have been instrumental to the sacking of Ita Ekpeyong, a former Director General of the agency  by producing  several fake reports about him to Buhari who did not hesitate in doing so.

His sack may have  opened a can of worms about him forcing the opposition PDP  to challenge Buhari  to speak out on  the ” alleged N21 billion, guns and thousands of voters cards  found in his residence during a search by the police in his house on the orders of the  acting President if he was  not in support of him. But the DSS had denid the report. Tony OPUIYO, the agency spokesman  said  ther was no iota of truth in the allegation that  N21 billion and unspecified number of  permanent votrs cards were found in Daura’s house either in Abuja  or his home state, Katsina. Opuiyo  said there was no search in his  house by anysecurity agency.

Magu’s actions  also leaves much to be desired.  Apart freezing individuals account , on the orders of the Presidency, he was said  to have extended it to state government accounts, making nonsense of the Democratic  principles . He had started with the freezing of the accounts of Ekiti state government account but Ayodele  Fayose, the state governor  could not take it as he had  dragged the  Commission to Court and  the account was subbsequently  lifted.  The latest on the list was the freezing of the  accounts of Benue and Akwa Ibom states by the Commission  over allegations of suspicious transactions which contravened the country’s Money Laundering Act.

The Accounts of Benue  state may have been closed  to punish Daniel Ortom for decamping from the All Progressive Congress,APC, to the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, while that of Akwa Ibom was said to have been closed to punish Emmanuel Udom, the PDP governor of the state for disobeying  Godswell Akpabio , the former governor of the state  to serve for only one term and allow the Oron zone to produce the next governor of the state. The refusal of the PDP governor to accede to the  directive may have forced Akpabio to bow to pressure from the Presidency and EFCC  probe of allegation of corruption hanging on his neck to meet Buhari  in London to  finalize arrangement on his defection to APC. Indeed, he did. But EFCC has denied freezing of those accounts.

But Udom, the state governor may have called the bluff when he sacked Ibanga Akpabio, Senator Akpabio’s younger brother  who was the state  former Commissioner  for Labour, Productivity and Manpower Development and  Victor Antai, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism . The governor was said to have sacked the duo  for their disloyalty by  going to the Uyo  airport to receive  Senator  Akabio   who was in the state to formally decamp to APC.

Political analysts believe that the sacking of the two Commissioners  was a tacit declaration of war on Akpabio  by Udom. The 2019 general election would determine whether Akabio  will still calls  the shots in the state that endeared him to the APC leadership who promised to make him the Senate president if the Daura coup to remove Saraki and Ekweremadu had succeeded. The question on the lips of most people was: what would be the position of the Akwa Ibom State  born  Senator  now  that he has  resigned as the minority leader and brought  Shame to APC  because of his personal ambition?

Magu, according to sources is also warming up  to investigate Daura over an alleged N17 billion scam in the DSS. The police which is currently interrogating  the former  strong man in the Buhari Administration  was to have concluded its investigation and now ready  to hand over his case file  to the EFCC for further interrogation to explain how  the N17 billion traced to the  agency was utilized.

The money, according to insiders  was left behind by  Ekpeyong, a former DG of the agency. The former DG was said to have received  N20 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, with the approval of former  President Goodluck Jonathan towards the tail end of the administration.  Daura was said to have frustrated the arrest of the DG of the agency and his counterpart at Nigeria Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ayo Oke to avoid opening  up  on the  alleged amount. But the buble had  long  burst as the EFFC prepares to take over the investigation which would further nail Daura, officials said.

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