In 1961, while delivering his inaugural address, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, spoke about every African dictator — in advance. Though his words were targeted at the communists of his time, his timeless metaphor speaks to all dictators, and of course Nigeria’s current crop of rulers.
JFK, as he was fondly known, said: “Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside”. This is the story of Lawal Daura, the erstwhile director general of the Department of State Services (DSS). Daura is not alone, he is in the same class with virtually everyone in Nigeria’s political class.
Let us get down to some history; In December 2016, the federal government, as led by President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the national assembly for confirmation. Magu was screened but not confirmed. The senate at the time had received a damning 16-page report from the DSS, as led by our Lawal Daura, stating the sins of Magu and why he should not be confirmed as EFCC chief. Note: Magu has acted in that capacity for a full year up until then.
In the report, Daura’s DSS accused Magu of corruption and declared him unfit to lead the anti-corruption agency.
“Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40m at N20m per annum. This accommodation was not paid [for] from the commission’s finances, but by one Umar Mohammed, air commodore retired, a questionable businessman who has subsequently been arrested by the secret service,” a part of the report seen by TheCable read.
“For the furnishing of the residence, Magu enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed, to furnish the residence at the cost of N43m. Investigations show that the acting EFCC chairman regularly embarked on official and private trips through a private jet owned by Mohammed,” DSS claimed.
What did Buhari, Osinbajo do to Daura/Magu?
Was Magu investigated to find out if these DSS allegations were true? Yes. The presidency set up an investigation panel led by Abubakar Malami, the attorney general of the federation, and Magu was re-nominated for confirmation in March 2017. This meant Magu was not guilty, I would presume.
Magu was rejected based on a letter from DSS. What did the presidency do about this second move by one of its agencies to undermine its authority? Nothing! Daura was seen the sacred, untouchable sweetheart of the president. Presidency insisted that Magu must continue, and the DSS should not be questioned.
EFCC VERSUS DSS: MAGU VERSUS DAURA
After the senate refused to confirm Magu, Daura and Magu went into a streetfight, using the agencies they were leading. Clashes were recorded between both agencies, especially with regards to information sharing. ‘A’ was hoarding information from ‘B’ and ‘B’ was doing likewise. None in the interest of Nigeria.
The streetfight got to its peak when personnel of both agencies had a clash in Abuja in November 2017. EFCC sought the arrest of Ayo Oke, former director general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and Ita Ekpeyong, the immediate past director-general of the DSS. But the EFCC was resisted by the DSS, in a heated clash.
Remind me again, what did Buhari and Osinbajo do about Daura’s DSS?
Just two weeks ago, the same DSS — alongside the police — went ahead and blocked the residences of senate president Bukola Saraki and the deputy senate president Ike Ekweremadu. What did presidency do to that DSS? Its was Magu, then Ayo Oke, Ita Ekpeyong, then Saraki and Ekweremadu, and now the national assembly.
THOSE WHO FOOLISHLY THOUGHT POWER…
When Daura was pulling all the strings for Buhari or against Buhari as the recent events are suggesting, he was enjoying his power by riding on the back of a tiger — the tiger called “state privileges”. He was the alpha and omega, the ‘A’ and ‘Z’ of the state privileges which came with his office. But today, interests are no longer in sync, the almighty Daura has been arrested and detained — bushmeat caught the hunter this time.
The same way Daura is ending inside the tiger, upon whose back he rode for over three years, so is the potential for all politicians — when interests clash. So, everyone involved in the argument of who sacked Daura; Buhari or Osinbajo? Please, calm down until we understand the undercurrents behind the Buhari-Daura-Saraki spin. All I can say for now is; Daura was sacked for acting against the interests of the presidency — or just as sacrificial lamb in the bigger game of thrones.
I see this as Buhari plants, Osinbajo waters, the plant is still the interest of the presidency, not that of Nigeria or Nigerians. Saraki plants, Dogara waters, the plant is in the interest of their ambitions, not your aspirations or that of Nigeria. Therefore, Nigerians must be sure to keep eyes on the 2019 ball, all these leg overs and dribblings are just distractions. Stay focused. Until this is about Nigeria and not the one percent political class, it doesn’t matter who plants or waters, the growth will never be for Nigeria.
SIDE NOTE TO NEW DSS DG: APPOINT A SPOKESPERSON
I, like virtually all journalists interested in Nigeria, will love to see some 21st century touch to Nigeria’s secret police. We acknowledge that the work being done by the DSS is — in most cases — classified. Nonetheless, in a democracy, every agency of government owes the citizens some explanation on certain national issues.
It is to this end that I would recommend that the newly appointed DSS DG, in his acting capacity, should appoint a spokesperson for the DSS. For years, the country’s secret police have had no face in the media, and answer to no “ordinary” citizen. Democracies are not run this way.
Dear Matthew Seiyefa, as the first act of service to the Nigerian people, appoint a spokesperson who will responsibly interface between the media, Nigerians and the secret police. I pray your kolanut breaks differently.
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