The Security Chief Buhari Almost Sacked

It was somewhat of a baptism of fire for this security chief. But perhaps like most wars that he had fought before he was appointed to lead his corps, it was not open to the public. If he came out of it ruffled, it did not show either. Yes, truly, a close source said this war made the man sweat, even with all the epaulets of a star security chief. The nature of the war? It is political in nature. The date was June 9, 2015, and precisely it had something to do with the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, and the deployment of security personnel to the precincts of the assembly, as a result of which legislators-elect were initially prevented from accessing the assembly complex.

The security chief had got a call from a political leader the previous night, claiming to be representing President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said had asked him to pass the instruction down to the man, because neither the President nor his staff could reach him. The instruction was for the National Assembly complex to be sealed off, preventing access to the place until later in the day when a meeting with the President at a different venue would have been concluded. Buhari was away to the G-7 meeting in Germany, and not being able to make independent confirmation immediately, but respecting the caller enough not to expect him to lie, the security boss did as directed.

But the chief, by his training suspected that something was fishy in the whole affair. Therefore not being comfortable about the development, he left his home in the wee hours of June 9; and made for the house of a retired security personnel, who incidentally was his former boss.

Our source said as soon as he unburdened his mind to his former boss, the latter scolded him on why he had to take orders by proxy. He therefore asked him to make haste to Aso Rock Villa, the seat of government, and meet with President Buhari, who returned to the country in the early hours of that day and tell him what transpired.

Though he had no prior appointment, the embattled security chief was allowed to have an exclusive meeting with the President after waiting for some time. He left that fateful meeting, literally panting, as he realised that he almost lost his job. This is because the President’s anger was probably tempered by the fact that it was the ‘offending’ security man who went to him to report the matter and that the man was newly appointed. However, he told the chief to ensure that he recalled his men from that siege immediately and never to repeat such a mistake.

You wonder what trouble it would have been for the service chief, had he not had some doubts and tried to seek clearance? Surely the development would have embarrassed the President and his government. But that would not have been the only tragedy. The electorate and the international community would hardly have believed that the instruction did not emanate from the presidency in the first instance. That sadly could have been the beginning of an erosion of confidence in the Buhari government. But beyond the implications, it is also an indication of the desperation of some party leaders to get a hold on the legislature, notwithstanding that the President had swore not to interfere in the conduct of that arm of government. It is a further indication of the silent abuse of power by friends and associates of those in the corridor of power who do things evoking the power of their principals or elected men or women. They therefore leave the elected individuals to carry the can. The service chief in question was lucky not to have been the fall guy in this case.

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