The Presidency and the Ministry of Defence on Wednesday denied a report by an online news portal, Saharareporter, that the Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau, had resigned his appointment over an alleged act of “insurbordination” by some military chiefs on his person and his office.”
According to the report, the minister, in company with the Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, were said to have been “talked down by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, at a meeting between him and the service chiefs.
Infuriated, Gusau, who left the army many years ago, was said to have threatened to leave office instead of being ridiculed by Badeh and others.
Although the Presidency and the MOD described the report as untrue, reports indicate that the intervention of the Senate President, David Mark, and a former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, made the minister to have a rethink.
The President was said to have pleaded that allowing Gussau to resign could affect the image of the Federal Government negatively in the current battle against the Boko Haram insurgency.
“This was the reason the President asked Mark and Babangida to intervene by speaking with Gusau, which they did. The two of them spoke with Gusau and he agreed to stay back. The issues he raised that made him want to leave office are being resolved. I know that sooner than later, heads would roll in the military,” said a close presidency source.
“I can tell you that the military and everybody were surprised that Gusau wanted to leave the job. Although his threat of resignation would be denied by the Ministry of Defence, I can tell you that they won’t tell you the details of what transpired,” the source added.
The Ministry of Defence in a statement yesterday also stated that the minister has not resigned his appointment and thanked all those that have called to verify the rumour and reassured them that Gusau remained the Minister of Defence.
Similarly, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, told State House correspondents that Gusau’s absence at the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday was with the permission of the President.
Abati said, “There was a report by an online medium alleging that Lt.-Gen. Gusau, has resigned his appointment. This is to let you know that that report is untrue. Gusau remains in office as the Minister of Defence .
“He was absent from today’s (Wednesday) FEC meeting and this particular online medium cited that in support of its allegation that he has resigned but he was absent at the meeting with the permission of the President. The story is not true, he remains in office.
“He (Gusau) himself has issued a statement on it but I think this further clarification is necessary before we are confronted with a situation whereby all kinds of wild speculations begin to come up and the story begins to develop undesirable branches.”