Boko Haram: Gusau The Man Behind The Mask

Feb. 27, 2014

Why he is funding Boko Haram?

ParliamentMagazine; 2011

rescuedThe former army officer who was appointed NSA by Jonathan on March 8, 2010, held the same position during most of the Obasanjo presidency. Before that he was in military Intelligence, and was briefly Army Chief. He resigned in September 2010, handing over to his deputy Kayode Are
According to security experts who should know, Gusau has been one ambitious man whose hunger for power knows no bound. His occasional forays into the rather rough political terrain to run for the highest office in the land, lends credence to this fact. When he did it in 2006 and later in 2010, it was this reason, among others.
Armed with his insider’s knowledge of privileged knowledge of the presidency, coupled with his extensive as a security and intelligence chief, the former NSA boasts of a compendium of who’s who in the military, political and larger Nigerian polity.
He did not hide his disdain for anybody or people that he sees as ill-equipped to lead in any public role. To him, it is either Gusau or no-one else.
Public reactions to his appointment under Jonathan early 2010 as replacement for sacked NSA Muhktar lend credence to this.
In an opinion article published in on-line newspapers, Hissaini Monguno, a public commentator based in Abuja had cause to warn that Gusau may not mean well to the then tottering Acting presidency of Jonathan.
He is arguably Nigeria’s most celebrated spymaster. He is the don of them all. In matters of security and politics, General Aliyu Gusau is way ahead of any soldier alive, or so it seems. He sees himself in self glorification terms and ascribes to himself as the biggest gift God gave to Nigeria’s security. His recent re-appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan has reinforced that image.
In security circles, Aliyu Gusau is viewed in awe and trepidation, with an image of a colossus who is feared and revered almost in equal measure by foes and friends alike. On his way to his current comeback, the fifth in a career spanning almost four decades, Gusau was believed to have used his wide range of connections to undo his immediate successor and predecessor, General Sarki Muktar. It is alleged that he kept telling everybody around the corridors of power who gave him his ear that the man from whom he has now grabbed the coveted office of National Security Adviser was incompetent to hold that office. In a prophetic pronouncement, the removed General Muktar is reported to have said just before he handed over to Gusau that as a human being, he couldn’t have been perfect and that he must have made some mistakes while in office. He appealed for understanding saying that he did everything in good faith”,Monguno wrote.
The rather first public pronouncements of Gusau who was perhaps spoiling to personally let everyone in the land know that the nation’s security direction was in his hands was regarded as bordering mainly on an obsession to pull people down, without stating their areas of guilt.
gusau-kano2“This course of action surprised many because all his professional life he has done his job quietly without pandering to the temptation to seek undue publicity. Those who knew him at close quarters say that Gusau elevated the art of silence while being very effective on the job to a sort of a norm in security matters until this his last coming when he began to expose an inkling to bring others down. He has raised a frightening alarm over the state of affairs in Nigeria. Without as much as arming himself with verifiable facts to support his claims, our national security Czar opened his mouth and uttering garbage and calling to question the integrity of both the CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and EFCC Chairman Farida Waziri,”, Monguno was to further write.
The commentator was reacting to Gusau speech at a seminar organised by his office on security awareness for the then newly appointed ministers, when the NSA literally took Nigeria to the cleaners. The event was held on Saturday the April 17 at his then office.
In a comprehensive review of the country’s socio-economic system, the ‘security expert’ came to a conclusion, even though he did not use the exact words that ‘Nigeria is a failed state’. In his words, “the security of lives, properties, livelihood and even foreign investment is threatened by crime. It is now difficult to prosecute offenders because of lengthy delays in court processes while innocent persons are kept awaiting trial almost indefinitely thereby turning them into criminals.”
On corruption in Nigeria, he said the malaise was a threat to the country’s survival. He regretted that the current anti corruption campaign by government through anti-corruption agencies has been ineffective in stemming this threat.”This is because it penalises a few unfortunate individuals, while society sees many they consider guilty enjoying their loot in freedom. Some of the agencies involved in anti-corruption have credibility problems, because of the activities of those who head the agencies.”
He then moved to the banking sector. There, he descended heavily on reforms set in motion by Lamido Sanusi who was appointed Governor of the Bank by late Yar’Adua. He said the travails of the sector reflect the double standards that critics see in the administration of justice. A few banks he opined were being punished for sharp practices that all banks had committed.
“Caution should have been observed due to the fragility of the economy and offenders ought to have been punished without damaging the sector.” He lamented that the ongoing intervention by the CBN “seemed to have needlessly damaged economic activity in the banking sector to the detriment of the larger society.”
Monguno also stated that “the National Security Adviser said nothing new. The problem with his speech is that he should not have spoken so freely after accepting to serve in that sensitive office. By virtue of his position, he has free access to the President whether Acting or substantive. He could have channeled his concerns as expressed in the speech and captured by almost all newspapers to the President. By going public with his complaints, he gave the unfortunate impression that the Acting President does not share his concerns or maybe does not even listen to him. Was the National Security Adviser misrepresented by the newspapers? Or is he just trying to play to the gallery in readiness to flying kites over his touted ambition to become president come 2011”.
Not a few Nigerians, even in the diaspora agreed less with Monguno at that time. And till date, he carries on with his baggage of frustrations that he needed to be the president of the country to correct the ills he identified in his landmark speech; an opportunity members of his party declined.
His open support for the Northern Elders Political Leaders Forum, NEPLF led by former federal minister, Adamu Ciroma who also spurned his ambition in deference to former vice president, Atiku Abubakar was legendary. One anonymous respondent told The Parliament International at press time last week that “even when people like Atiku and Ciroma, and later, Buhari made statements implying threats to the corporate existence of Nigeria should Jonathan go ahead with his then ambition, and even after he got the mandate of Nigerians at the 2011 polls, Aliyu Gusau, who it was clear a major brain behind the calls alongside IBB looked the other way. It was a d isappointing act from a grounded security czar”.
Many are also miffed that nothing was done to call him to order when he used an Abuja-based newspaper that he stopped funding immediately Jonathan won the presidential poll to champion threats to the country.
“He used his editors there to rally some northern youths to protest against the alleged flouting of PDP’s zoning arrangement that made it possible for Jonathan to pick the party’s presidential flag. And when that did not work, the same newspaper whose operations then were conducted in Gusau’s property behind ECOWAS secretariat had a free day publishing anything that is perceived as a Jonathan sin against the north and Nigerian people. Why did the security people not act on it? Well, maybe it is because of the new face of democracy in the country”, said a retired police inspector.
Recently, it was learnt that then pockets of resistance to the emergence of Jonathan from Jos, through Yola and Gombe to Maiduguri got more bite when the former NSA channeled his disenchantment to making good the threat to “make Nigeria ungovernable” as ensconced from the NEPLF led by Ciroma earlier. Perhaps too, Gusau may need to clear reasons why two of his long time aides remained in the office of the NSA allegedly, posing to be staff weeks after he resigned to run for the PDP presidential ticket. Were they planted to feed him with needed information on the security intelligence work of his predecessor, Kayode Are? The aides later left the office, and reported to Gusau’s private office also in Abuja. “One of them has left the office for another place”, said one source who should know, last week.
But before then, it was further learnt that Gusau was in the know of the plot to buoy the violent profile of Boko Haram right from the months preceding his appointment as Jonathan’s NSA. One security expert quipped that till date, the Katsina-born security man still nurses his frustrations on the Jonathan presidency that he is not about to relent on his support for the violence rocking the northeast region of the country. This he does by channeling funds and relevant logistics through trusted aides to contacts within the Boko Haram leadership.
Opinions remained united at press time that an experienced security like Gusau should be practically involved with government in solving the Boko Haram saga, even voluntarily as against his current behind the scene maneuvres to rubbish the Jonathan administration.
Questions, worries and questions.