Controversy trails Gusau’s alleged resignation

Aliyu Gussau
Aliyu Gussau

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.”

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