By Ayomide Oriade
News of the newly appointed defence minister, Aliyu Gusau’s resignation, came as a surprise as the retired army general was only sworn in to the post last week. It was reported that Gusau tendered his letter of resignation following a disagreement with a top military officer, which the minister considered an act of insubordination and indiscipline from Nigeria’s top military brass.
According to the report made available to Sahara Reporters, Nigeria’s top military officers yesterday refused to have a joint meeting with Mr. Gusau and his deputy, Musiliu Obanikoro, a former senator.
It was reported that Nigeria’s top military henchmen kept Mr. Gusau waiting for two days after he summoned them to a meeting, with different military service chiefs making excuses for their inability to meet with him and his deputy immediately. Finally, the situation turned testy yesterday when, after keeping Mr. Gusau and Mr. Obanikoro waiting for several hours, the Chief of Defense Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, showed up alone for a meeting.
According to a source “When Air Marshal Badeh showed up, the Minister of Defense told him he was expecting all the chiefs of staff within the military, but Badeh reportedly told him there was no need.” Badeh also told Mr. Gusau that he alone would be meeting with the minister as the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), stating that this arrangement was the collective decision of military officers in the country.
An attempt by the junior minister of defense, Mr. Obanikoro, to intervene was rudely brushed aside as Badeh asked him to “shut up.” “Air Marshal Badeh is said to have called Senator Obanikoro a ‘small boy’ and warned him that the military was not going to be taking orders anymore from bloody civilians like him,” one source stated.
Soon after the altercation, General Gusau (rtd) reportedly ended the meeting and asked the Permanent Secretary in the ministry to transmit his letter of resignation to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The president’s spokesperson, Ruben Abati has however rebuffed the resignation claim, insisting that the minister has not resigned. Abati who responded to the news this afternoon said reports that Mr. Gusau had left office after an altercation between him and military commanders were “false”. “It is not true that he has resigned,” he said.
On why the minister was not present at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, meeting held today, Abati said “the minister has flu.”