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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