20 September 2010

Nigeria: Security Adviser Hands over, Picks PDP Form

Photo: Vanguard
President Goodluck Jonathan formally declares his candidacy for the 2011 Nigerian presidential election.

Abuja — Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, who resigned his appointment as National Security Adviser (NSA) at the weekend, will formally hand over to Col. Kayode Are (rtd), his erstwhile deputy, today as the retired general joins the presidential race.

THISDAY checks revealed that Gusau will also pick the presidential nomination form of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today, thereby swelling the ranks of the hopefuls on the platform of the ruling party.

Are was the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS) throughout the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, from 1999 to 2007.

He was replaced with Mr. Afakiriya Gadzama in 2007 by former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, but President Goodluck Jonathan brought him back into the intelligence set-up in April as Deputy NSA. Jonathan was acting president then.
It is not yet clear if Are would be confirmed substantive NSA.

Confirming his resignation in a telephone chat yesterday, Gusau disclosed that his letter was written two months ago, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan had been reluctant to accept it.

President Jonathan had appointed Gusau as NSA in one of his first official duties on becoming acting president during the prolonged absence of the late President Yar'Adua as a result of ill health.

Gusau’s aide, Chief Ben Obi, signed a statement on his behalf last Friday on the resolution by four Northern presidential aspirants to produce one candidate among themselves for the party’s primary election.

Others in the alliance are former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Gen. Ibrahim Babangia.
Babangida yesterday held a closed-door meeting with leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu, in Enugu, apparently to woo the Igbo leader to support his bid to return to power 17 years after he stepped aside.

Though the meeting which took place at Ojukwu’s residence in Enugu did not last up to an hour, Babangida emerged to tell anxious reporters that power must return to the North by next year.Ojukwu refused to say anything when confronted by journalists.

The former military leader also disclosed that he was not bothered by the array of personalities as well as the mammoth crowd that attended the formal declaration of President Jonathan at the Eagle Square Abuja last Saturday, noting that the crowd was not an indication that the president would sweep the poll.

Babangida, whose private jet marked 5N-BLI touched down at the Akanu Ibiam airport, Enugu, at 12.10pm and headed straight in a convoy to Ojukwu’s residence, was accompanied by former Senate President Ken Nnamani his National Campaign Coordi-nator, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, former governorship candidate in Anambra State, Dr Obinna Uzor, among other PDP leaders.

Babangida who spoke to reporters briefly at the Akanu Ibiam airport, refused to give details of what transpired between him and Ojukwu, but said it was only a courtesy call to pay respect and allegiance to Ojukwu over his long-standing relationship with him.

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