Babachir’s Dismissal: Nobody Pressures Buhari Into Doing Anything – Adesina
In this interview with Channels Television, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, spoke on the sack of former Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, and other related issues.
Apart from the fact that these men have been sacked, what again do we know about the monies found in Ikoyi, and of course, is the Presidency handing over Mr Babachir Lawal to the agencies prosecuting?
From your word, you asked ‘is the Presidency handing over?’ it doesn’t take the Presidency to hand over, rather it takes the security agencies to do the proper thing; to follow up. The Presidency does not interfere in the works of the works of the security agencies, they know what they should do at any given time. So, the onus is on them to do the next thing.
What more can you tell us about the report submitted by the Vice President’s committee?
All I’ll just say is that the President, once again, has shown himself to be a painstaking and a thorough person; somebody who would ensure that the right thing is done at any given time, somebody who does not play to the gallery. He got that report on August 23, it came in six volumes – yes, there was an executive summary but apart from that executive summary, with a fine-tooth comb, he went through the main report and today we have got his conclusions about the report and the recommendations. It shows that the ‘mill of the gods’, like they say, may grind slowly but they grind finely.
You’ve still not told us what exactly is in that report, can you tell Nigerians what that report contains Mr Adesina?
If look at the statement that came today which incidentally I signed, it tells you what was in that report. The statement says, ‘the President has accepted the recommendation of the panel to terminate the appointment of the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation’; and then it also says, ‘the President has also accepted the recommendation to terminate the appointment of the erstwhile DG of NIA,’ and some other things will be done about NIA, there would be a three-member panel to look into the operations of that agency. So, the answer to the question you asked is already in the public domain.
The APC says, “we believe the President could not have made a better choice of Mr Boss Mustapha who they say is a competent lawyer and dedicated leader.” But I’m very certain you must have heard what the PDP is saying on the other hand, the PDP said” “the sack of Babachir Lawal and Ayo Oke is totally unacceptable; we demand the immediate impeachment of President Buhari.”
I wouldn’t bother myself with what the PDP says, you know the PDP is still reeling from the effect of that 2015 defeat and it will reel from it for a long time because the PDP is down and is going to remain down for a long time to come in this country. So, I don’t bother myself with whatever they say.
Some people are talking on the sideline that the President was pressured to take a decision on Babachir Lawal, some people said that the President wasn’t going to take a decision anyway.
Then they don’t know the President. Anybody that knows this President will know that he’s a man that takes his time but when he makes up his mind, he makes it up real good. Who can pressure the President? There’s nobody that can pressure him. But I tell you as a statement of fact and the party leaders that met, they met with the President in the afternoon. The President had made up his mind and the statement was available earlier today, about mid-day and the party leaders hadn’t met with him as at that time. I tell you, nobody pressures this President into doing anything.
SERAP said this government now has a real opportunity to reassure a lot of Nigerians who may be worried about the direction of travel of the President’s anti-corruption agenda that there would be no ‘sacred cow’ as far as the fight against corruption is concerned. One major thing that some of these organisations are asking for is prosecution, is the President working on that?
I saw the SERAP statement and it’s within the rights of SERAP to ventilate its opinion. Yes, the onus is on the security agencies to take the next step as long as they have decided that there is something to base prosecution on, but the President does not and I repeat, does not teleguide the security agencies; he allows them to do whatever is fit and proper for them to do.
What about the NIA, who is replacing Mr Ayo Oke?
That has not been determined yet. You know that a three-member panel is to be constituted to look into the operations of that agency and that stands to reason if that volume of money could be found salted away, then maybe there is a lot wrong with the way the agency had been operating. So it’s better to reorganise and refurbish entirely the operations of the agency but then, definitely, leadership will come.
Senator Shehu Sani said, ‘within the President, he handles corruption with deodorant but outside of the Presidency, he does treat it with insecticide’. With all of these issues lied in Maina’s case, what is the President doing in a case like this because some people are saying it is taking the President too long to make his decision on some of these issues?
Senator Shehu Sani, you have quoted has a right to his opinion but his opinion does not constitute gospel; is not the law of the maidens and the Persians that can never change, is his opinion. So you don’t go in quoting him as if his opinion is cast in concrete, no! it’s just an opinion and then what is the President doing about the Maina case? You know what happened, he ordered his disengagement from service and then he asked for a report on circumstances that led to his surreptitious return into service. Now, that report has gotten to the President – we’ll wait until the President gets back to us. The thing about the President is that we trusted him, we voted him to be our leader and we must maintain that confidence. That confidence that made us give him our mandate.
Is the same Presidency that said Mr Babachir Lawal was not guilty of any offence at all but it looks like the same Presidency had been proven wrong this time around. How do you think Nigerians will have confidence in the Presidency on this same matter as this?
You didn’t get it right. The President had no time said anybody was not guilty. What the President said then was that he was not given the right to defend himself. He said the procedure adopted for the indictment that came from the National Assembly was not proper; the President did not give him a clean bill of health, he only faulted the procedure.