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.
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.