With the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as president a few hours away, it has emerged that infighting between a former Chief of Army Staff, General Abdulrahman Dambazzau and top former military officers from the north over key security appointments may threaten the cohesion of the incoming administration.
PointBlankNews reports that the former military leaders, it was gathered, are unhappy that Dambazzau is already asserting himself as National Security Adviser (NSA)-designate, claiming he solely determines who gets any security and military appointment in the incoming administration.
While the retired officers have reportedly aligned with Buhari’s decision to appoint key security and military aides from any part of the country outside of the core north, Dambazzau may have cladenstinely effected the appointment of a certain Lt. Col M. Lawal Abubakar as Buhari’s ADC.
Abubakar like Dambazzau belongs to the military police corps and hails from the same Kano State. He is a member of the 44th Regular Course of Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA).
As Lt. Col, Dambazzau was NDA’s registrar and was the anchor person on the Armed Forces selection board that admitted Abubakar and other cadets of the 44th Regular Course. 44th Regular Course was the most controversial intake into the NDA as Kano State, against the academy’s rule of admitting equal number of cadets per state, unexplicably had nearly double the number of intakes than any other state.
Aside the admission blunder, military sources told Pointblanknews.com that several members of Course 44 from Kano dn’t have the required five O’Level credits and had to be writing the examinations as undergraduates of the Defence Academy.
Dambazzau had reportedly attempted to foist Lt. Col. Yakassai, who was his ADC as Chief of Army Staff on Buhari, but that the president-elect flatly rejected the proposal.
Like Abubakar, Yakassai was a member of the controversial 44th Regular Course, and served as ADC during Rabi’u Kwankwaso’s tenure as Minister of Defence and Dambazzau as Army Chief.
On two attempts, Yakassai reportedly failed his promotion examinations and passed on the third attempt after Dambazzau’s personally intervention as Army Chief.
The former military leaders from the north are reportedly worried that handing Buhari a core northern ADC would cast the president-elect in the mould of an ethnic champion.
“Look at Obasanjo. The two ADCs that served him were from Edo State. The Late Yar’Adua’s ADC is from Delta State. Jonathan’s ADC is from Kogi, so why not get an ADC outside of the north west as Buhari’s ADC?” quizzed a retired two-star general.
He continued, “True, there are no hard and fast rules about appointing ADCs. Howevern, the practice both in the military and for deserving political office holders is for the principal to appoint his ADC, being a personal aide, on the basis of his
“In the alternative where due to the seniority gap between the principal and the officer, the practice is for the Army to avail the principal a shortlist of competent field officers between the ranks of Major and Lt. Colonel with accompanying briefs or a ‘pen picture’ of the candidate,” he added.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that the Army was to send such shortlist with briefs to Buhari, and that the president was looking forward to making his preference, but that Dambazzau scuttled the process to enable his legman emerge.
“Fully aware of the powers and influence of the ADC, the most important link between the president and the military, it comes as little surprise that Dambazzau so desperately wants to be responsible for appointing one for Buhari so he can effectively be in total control,” alleged a retired officer.
Pointblanknews.com also gathered that Dambazzau had raised eyebrows when he sent a long list of soldiers and officers to be trained to replace the bodyguard elements in the presidential villa usually drawn from the DSS, Police and Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), fueling concerns on his motives.