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Controversy surrounds Gusau’s purported resignation

Aliyu Gusau

The Presidency and the Ministry of Defence on Wednesday denied  a report  by  an online news portal, Saharareporter,  that the new Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau, had resigned his appointment.

The online journal  had reported that Gusau was miffed by  what a Presidency source described as “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, The PUNCH  gathered that the  intervention of  the Senate President,   David Mark,  and a former  dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida,  made  the minister to have a rethink.

It was gathered that the  intervention of the two men was    at the instance of  President Goodluck Jonathan. The President was said to have asked the two men to appeal to Gusau  not  to leave  his government.

It  was further learnt  that Jonathan , who   considered  the move by the minister  to leave office as ridiculous,  also  asked  him (Gusau) to reconsider his position.

Apart from this, the President   reasoned that  his resignation    could  affect the image of the Federal Government negatively.

Our  source said, “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.”

The source   confirmed that Gusau, who probably had an antidote to curb the bloodshed in the North-East, had summoned a meeting  with the  security chiefs  on how to change  military  strategies  in the zone.

“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.

 Like our source predicted, the MoD said the   “minister has not resigned his appointment.”

“Our attention has been drawn to a media posting on the social network to the effect that the Honourable Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau (retd.),   has resigned; and wish to state, categorically, that the minister has not resigned his appointment,”the ministry said in a statement by its Director of Press,   Mr. Shehu Maikai.

 It thanked “ all those that have called to verify the rumour” and reassured  them  that   Gusau remained  the Minister of Defence.

Also in Abuja, the   Presidency   said there was no truth  in the  report that   Gusau resigned.

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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