A Public Affairs Analyst, Emma Addo, on Friday said that the ambition of the new Minister of Defence, Aliyu Gusau, to have total control over the entire security apparatus of the nation would not work as the Nigerian Armed Forces Act and the National Defence Policy have defined his roles.
He also said that the ensuing power play between Gusau and the Service Chiefs was “normal” as “people are bound to want to flex muscles and lay the ground rules.”
Although, Mr. Addo, who was speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, admitted that the new developments were not welcomed considering the security situation in the country, he, however, opined that “what has happened is normal” and would not affect the on-going battle against the Boko Haram insurgency.
Rumours that the Defence Minister had resigned filtered into the public domain following his absence at a Security Council meeting as a result of a disagreement with the Service Chiefs, which the Presidency debunked. Mr.Addo was of the opinion that the “the new minister is an old hand who we started hearing about from 1983 when General Buhari came to power. So, I think he has a long history”, adding that Gusau’s pedigree may have threatened the composure of the Service Chiefs.
Addo also mentioned that information in the public domain revealed that Gusau had asked the President to allow him be in charge of the entire Force just as Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the Coordinating Minister of Finance. However, “the military is a different ball game,” he added.
“There’s just no way it’s going to work out. If it works out for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, it’s not going to work out for you.
“You see, the whole problem with this military thing is Gusau is course 3 and the new service chiefs and the CDS are course 21, 21, 23, 24. So from the word go, I think there was going to be problem.”
He went further to say “Gusau asking to be in total control of the Military is informed by one fact – that the North believes that they’ve not had a fair deal” in terms of position.
Addo also did not rule out the possibility of an attraction to personal gains as he suggested that Gusau may also want to reap the benefits of such influence, including the power to “vet appointments” and “vet contracts.”
Although the Minister In Charge of Defence oversees policy making, the CDS is in charge of the day to day affairs of the Force and the Service Chiefs, his subordinates. “If you look at all those put together, I am not too sure the military high commanders are wrong.”
Addo, however, allayed fears that the political struggle would affect the fight against the insurgents. “I think the military boys are doing their job and it’s the political aspect of it that’s playing out.”