Posted by ROTIMI AJAYI on
THERE was confusion last Tuesday night when Charles Ozomena, our State House Correspondent came with the news of the removal of Abdul Yari, a Chief Superintendent of Police and the aide-de-camp (ADC) to Vice President Atiku Abubakar since 1999.
THERE was confusion last Tuesday night when Charles Ozomena, our State House Correspondent came with the news of the removal of Abdul Yari, a Chief Superintendent of Police and the aide-de-camp (ADC) to Vice President Atiku Abubakar since 1999. Initially, we thought it was one of the jokes we throw in the newsroom over the manner in which Atiku and his boss had been conducting their affairs since 2003. But Charles demonstrated he was damn serious as he started writing the reports. A statement issued by the Police later elaborated on reasons for the removal of the ADC.
According to the Police statement issued by Haz Nwendi, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Yari was removed ďas a result of cumulative security reports about the activities of the Police ADC to the Vice President.Ē The statement added that the Police Inspector General did the removal after contact with the Vice President himself. The removal of the ADC was one of the trauma Atiku had to go through last week in the November edition of the face-off between him and President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has demonstrated in words and deeds that both of them cannot continue to live in peace in the same Villa. Until last minute maneuvre by the NEC of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), last Thursday, it had been expected that the party was going to suspend the Vice President for alleged anti-party activities.
A memo, written by the PDP Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, to the National Working Committee meeting of the party had clearly accused Atiku as having committed serious anti-party activities by his comments on how he was de-registered by the party and his alleged support for the emerging new political group, Movement for the Defence of Democracy (MDD). Aliís memo dated November 23, was entitled ďMDD/MRD bogey: the role of Vice President AtikuĒ. It read, ďOf recent, many bogey meetings had been summoned by our opponent and our party members alike. These meetings are acceptable in a democratic setting such as ours, if their aims are to act as pressure groups. The discussions at these meetings coupled with the pronouncement of their leaders do not spell good tidings for the nation.
ďTheir last meeting at NICON smarks of ethnic chauvinism. In a multi-religion, multi-ethnic and multi cultural society such as ours, a meeting of one section of the country summoned for the purpose of toppling the applecart must be deprecated. It is amazing that our own dear Vice President Atiku Abubakar should honour such parochial meeting with his presence. In his submission at the meeting, he was economical with the truth when he claimed that he was not registered during the revalidation/registration exercise of the party. I would like to set the record straight by saying categorically that he was registered in his ward of Kolori in Jada Local Government Area of Adamawa State. His identity card was not immediately available at the time of registration.Ē
Aliís memo set the tone for the NEC meeting that followed but in the usual manner, the PDP came out and just gave an advice that party members should work to strengthen the unity within the party. The advice was to brand the party as a matured one, which knows how to handle its internal frictions. However, going by the antecedent of the party leaders, there is nothing charitable in the manner in which the NEC handled Atikuís case. The decision reached by the partyís NEC, which is merely advisory, was to buy time for the ultimate kill.
Aliís memo, in the first place, was part of the scheme drawn to implement the desire of the President and some hawks around him to oust the vice president so that the coast could be clear for the PDP to adopt Obasanjo as the sole candidate for the 2007 presidential election. That the vice president was admonished did not mean an end to the push. The drive towards this started with the previous NEC meeting of the PDP when it shocked Nigerians by announcing that all its congresses and the National Convention would be conducted in affirmative manner. Although the decision was contested by some party members in the court of law, the party still managed to wriggle through the web of legal rulings and conducted the congresses as planned. The results have created further division within the party.
The statement issued by the partyís secretary, Ojo Maduekwe, after the NEC meeting was another leg in the whole gamut of extending the tenure of Obasanjo beyond 2007 stipulated by the Constitution. Although, the erudite lawyer was very careful with his choice of words in the statement, the words chosen are indeed laden with connotations. The statement which dwelled on the constitutional amendments going on at the National Assembly and the decisions reached so far by the sub-committee of the National Assembly on the issue of third term and tenure extension was well written. It clearly and expertly put the mandate of extending the tenure or not at the doorsteps of the members of the National Assembly.
According to him, the PDP had strong confidence that the members of the National Assembly would carry out their assignment on the constitutional amendments in a way that would consolidate the nationís current democracy. His words, ďNothing has exposed the poverty of politics of opposition politicians more than their collective seizure of the mantra of ďThird TermĒ to rail against an administration whose performance in every aspect has earned it great respect at home and abroad.
One remarkable thing about the National Secretary of the PDP is the fact of his being a courageous man when the need to speak up on any issue arises. He won the admiration of members of the Federal Executive Council while he served as the Minister of Transport and he pushed for the usage of bicycle as means of transportation in face of acute fuel shortage in the country then. He is a man that is never afraid of introducing innovations that could have lasting salutary effect on Nigerians and corporate Nigeria. He did exactly this in the statement and that returned the overt part of the game of third term to the State House and the National Assembly.
As far as the Presidential Villa is concerned, the removal of the ADC to the Vice President is only one of the actions in the series that the Atiku has been made to go through. However, as the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. So what is happening in the Villa now works perfectly with the trend there.
Going by the history of the Villa, it may be difficult to actually see what is going on now as an aberration. Face-off between the commanders-in-chief and their deputies have always been the hallmark of relationships in Aso Rock since it opened for occupation. The only exception to the trend was General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who worked intimately with Admiral Mike Akhigbe as his deputy. Perhaps this might not have been an exception if the duo had stayed longer than the one year they stayed as occupants of the Villa.
General Babangida, the man who first resided in the Presidential Mansion, triggered it off when he had to sack his first deputy, Ebitu Ukiwe. The late General Sani Abacha, and his deputy, General Oladipo Diya did not spare Nigerians the ugly side of the squabbles when he got his deputy arrested for coup plot, which Diya has continued to deny. However, nobody expected that a civilian President and his deputy would go beyond the civilized point of relationship to throw verbal balls at each other as has been going on.
The ADC is number eight among the personal aides to Atiku who would be removed by Obasanjo. The first was Adeolu Akande, Phd, a journalist, then Dr Onukaba Ojo, another journalist, Dr Sam Oyovbaire, Alhaji Shima Ayaki, Mr Chris Mammah, Garba Shehu, Brigadier Jafaru Isa, and now the ADC, who incidentally was a journalist before joining the Nigeria Police.
Although the Police authorities may cite security reasons for his removal, sources within the Atiku camp disclosed that it is not in anyway unconnected with the plot for the third term and the need to weaken Atikuís opposition to the plot. According to a source, the Presidentís camp pushed for the removal of the ADC because it reportedly became jittery that there was information blackout from the Atiku camp in respect of the political scheming. It was learnt that the Obasanjoís camp was particularly taken aback at the manner in which the two political movements, MDD and MRD have been stripping bare the membership profile of the ruling PDP and the seeming tilting of sympathy to the Atiku side among Nigerians. It was learnt that both the ADC and other senior personal aides to the vice president wove web around him in such a way that his political activities could no longer be monitored easily.
Another source cited the manner in which Atiku and a group of Islamic leaders met in Kaduna recently without the Presidentís side knowing who and who were at the meeting. The meeting between the vice president and the former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, recently, was said to have also shocked the people around Obasanjo. ďThis thus prompted the push to replace the ADC and other security operatives around the vice president with those who would be feeding them with information. This is why Atiku refused to pick any of those recommended for him by the Police headquarters. He would choose his own ADC and he would do so when he is ready,íí said the source.
There is no denying the fact that the president has the power to hire and fire any appointee of government but in line with justice and fairness, firing the personal aides of the vice president cannot be said to be in line with much mouthed level-playing -ground theory of Obasanjo. How can the ADC to the vice president be removed and still expect him to feel comfortable with the system? Inspector General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, said that the vice president was contacted before the ADC was removed but he failed to tell us if the vice president consented to the removal. Also, did the police authorities ever query Yari over the alleged security reports that led to his removal? If the State Security Service is the one that uncovered the alleged security breaches of the police ADC, why did it wait this long before taking action?
The Police disclosed that the SSS arrested the ADC following a month of intelligence gathering. However it failed to tell Nigerians whether the activities of the ADC was in support of Atikuís political ambition or injurious to the Nigerian State. Also did the vice president complain about the undesirability of Yari as his ADC? Is the ADC not supposed to be a confidant of the vice president just as the presidentís own? Who ordered the intelligence gathering on Atikuís ADC? Are we back to the days of Major El Mustapha, the CSO to the late Abacha? By the removal of the ADC, is the Presidency not confirming Mohammadu Gambo-Jimetaís claim that this government is worse than Abachaís?
Was Obasanjo in the know of the plan to remove his Vice's ADC? Did he sanction it and did he ever discuss it with. Just as the Chairman of the House of Representatives on Foreign Affairs, Dr Usman Bugaje, said, ďWe know why they are doing this. We are not stupid. Is it the ADC to the Vice President alone that is involved in sponsoring of groups? How about the ADC to the President? Is he not doing certain things for the President on political issues? Who is sponsoring Obasanjo Solidarity Forum? ďWith the way these people are going now, there is hardly anything that cannot happen in this country because we as Nigerians allow it. You remember the story of the holocaust and how Hitler people were picking people one by one. This is what they are doing, picking people one by one.
ďAll we need to have is a broad coalition that can make this country come to a standstill for one month. These people are getting bolder and bolder everyday and nobody is there to challenge them. It is either we have not suffered enough or we doníít know where these people are going.Ē
These terms and conditions contain rules about posting comments. By submitting a comment, you are declaring that you agree with these rules:
Failure to comply with these rules may result in being banned from further commenting.
These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice.