President Goodluck Jonathan had once again showed that hecan bite and this time around the victim was Andrew Azazi, his erstwhileNational Security Adviser. President Jonathan understands Southerners so wellthat when he slowly delivers a killer punch, his victim will know that ‘Warsaw saw war’. However, he is yet to master the secret of striking at Northerners.
The first Southern Nigerian casualty of Jonathan biting exercise was BolaTinubu, the National leader of ACN. The Code of Conduct Bureau dragged Tinubu to court formaintaining foreign account barely three months after both of them were winingand dining in Lagos and negotiating how to prevent Buhari and Ribadu from making any impact in the 2011 presidential election.
The next casualty was opposition parties like APGA, LabourParty and others who sold their presidential ambitions to the PDP with the hope of being incorporated into his government. By the time he threw them out of thewindow, those party chieftains dreaming of being appointed cabinet ministers were leftin the cold waiting for the next election.
His next bite victim was the subsidy protesters especiallyfrom the Lagos axis. When he sent fierce looking soldiers to the streetsof Lagos to harass protesters and teargas some elder statesmen, Soyinka, Bakare, Falana, Agbakoba and other leaders of the popular Occupy Nigeria protest knewthat there is fire on the mountain.
Still basking in the euphoria of his defeat of these NADECO chieftains fabled to have pressurized Head of State Abacha to his graveyard, President Jonathan turned his full attention on Sylva and finished the suffocation project he earlier initiated.This Governor of his home state of Bayelsa had earlier threatened to snuff life out of his lame duck presidential kinsman and for that his second term governorship ambition was snuffed off despite all the pastors, bishops and seers hired to send fire in the direction of rampaging Jonathan.
This time around it was the turn of Azazi to receive thebite from Jonathan. He was sacked without the courtesy of priorinformation. Jonathan was obviously fed up with Azazi. Azazi’s fate was sealedduring the long holiday that preceded the May 29 Democracy day celebrations. Thepublic protests that greeted the Mauling of Unilag delayed the announcement ofAzazi’s sack. The delay enabled Azazi to get enough intelligenceinformation that Gusau is being drafted to replace him and a worried Azazi madeefforts to save his position. He spoke with both the President and some leadersof South South over the issue and was given the impression that the matter has been suspended.
Azazi’s problem with Jonathan had to do with the tactics ofarresting the security situation. Azazi believes that the sponsors of BokoHaram should be fished out and prosecuted for terrorism while Jonathan believesthat the names involved are too weighty that a political backlash could occurwhich is capable of affecting permutations for 2015.There is a reasoning that some of those involved may be handy in the next election. The names that frequently pop up in every security reports as sponsors of BokoHaram included a few from opposition party and majority from the ruling party.
Azazi had sought permission to quiz people like Buhari, Babangida, Ciroma, some serving and retiredsenators, ministers and governors who have links with Boko Haram but most ofthese people were those who helped Jonathan one way or the other in the past. Jonathanwants his NSA to tackle the footsoldiers of Boko Haram and leave the sponsorsalone. This position of President Jonathan was a source of frustration for Azaziand he used the occasion of the South South summit in Asaba to vent his frustration.
The security chiefs were finding it difficultcutting off the terrorists because the more they are arrested or killed, themore others join the group, and the sect has fragmented in such a manner thatthey have numerous recruitment, training and logistics centre and more centresare being opened up daily. Though the insurgents looks disorganised, it isobvious that the there are high level coordination of their operations even intheir fragmented cells. Malam Shekau, leader of the terrorists haveescaped arrest on four occasions in matters of minutes in amanner that evokes suspicion even when his territory was cordoned off by security agents. While some blamed Azazi for poor analysis of real time operations, others still believe that high level sabotage leaked information to the sect leader.
However, President Jonathan believes that with all thebillions budgeted for defence, the security agents have enough to rootout members of Boko Haram without touching any elite linked to them.There is fear within PDP that if their culpable members were arrested, theycould point embarrassing accusing fingers the manner Senator Ali Ndume recently did inhis affidavit before the Federal High Court in Abuja told the court that ” the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Namadi Sambo is also aware that he was in contact with Jammatul Sunna -Walid Jihad-Boko Haram” This will attract public opprobrium to the party.
President Jonathan had always maintained a chummyrelationship with Aliyu Gusau despite the fact that Gusau was one of hisopponents in the PDP presidential elections. The president believes that Gusauhad a sort of magic wand which broke the security strangehold of the cabal that wanted to deny him the full exercise of his constitutional duties when late president Yaradua was sick. Gusau, athree time NSA was one of the few political appointees who wanted to save thecareer of late Senate President, Chuba Okadigbo when Obasanjo received reportsthat the former wanted to contest forpresidency in 2003, and thus marked Okadigbo out for victimization. Thisattempt to help Okadigbo earned Gusau a reprimand from his boss.
The appointment of Sambo Dasuki was a fast dribble on those who were waiting to crucify President Jonathan in the event of reappointment of Gusau. In addition to Dasuki being an in-law to Gusau, it was the later whoinfluenced his rehabilitation with the position of Chairman of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company in 2002. Gusau does not defer to Babangida, in fact he is never known for pretentions and has always engaged in frank discussions with all the military leaders he served in the past including Obasanjo. His relationship withthem was more of mutual respect than servitude. Therefore, if Dasuki were toswitch loyalty to Babangida, whom heserved as ADC, it would not diminish Gusau’s influence over his life.
The ouster of Azazi and replacement with Dasuki, was a clashof tactics on how best to curtail the insurgency. The changes would have been more sweeping but the political think tanks wanted to gauge the opinion of stakeholders before any further action. The president had alreadycharged the new NSA to reign in his people who are trying to destabilizehis government or a break up will ensue. Intelligence strategiescould differ but the bottom line is result. Dasuki, being a Sokoto prince is expected to use his knowledge of fellow northerners and muslims to analyse security reports and bring in strategies capable of checkmating the terrorists.
Those who still believe in Nigeria are hoping that the new helmsman comes up with fresh ideas to prevent another civil war. This is a narrow escape for Boko Haram sponsors because it is most likely they will never be named nor prosecuted but it may not be so for the footsoldiers because someone who knows them is coming for their head and the north will not blame Jonathan again for not doing enough to protect their region.