Editors note: The publicised arrest of Sambo Dasuki has generated much reaction from the public. While some hail the arrest as a move in the right direction, others on the opposing divide accuse the All Progressives Congress (APC) led-administration of embarking on a vendetta mission. In this light, Kesiena Ewubare examines five mistakes made by Dasuki that may have left him prone to such embarrassing treatment at the hands of the security agents.
It is no longer news that Sambo Dasuki, one of the most powerful men in the then Jonathan administration is not having the best of times.
His travails began on Thursday, July 16, few days after he was removed as the national security adviser (NSA). Officials of the State Security Service (SSS) in a commando like fashion, stormed his residence in Asokoro district of Abuja and placed him under house arrest.
While he was being detained, a second operation was on-going in his country home in Sokoto metropolis, which is owned by his father.
After spending, 24 hours under house arrest, Dasuki and his friend, retired Colonel Bello Fadile, were reportedly released the next day, but following his widely publicised ordeal at the hands of operatives of the SSS, the former NSA boss alleges that his arrest was a desperate plot to implicate him in alleged security breaches. He has also accused the security agents of witch-hunting him.
No doubt, Dasuki must have stepped on many toes during his time as the national security adviser, some pundits have blamed him for poor decisions that have led him in this current predicament, some of the mistakes Dasuki is accused making include:
1) He Was More Of A Politician Than A Security Adviser
During his time as the national security adviser, Dasuki was accused of handling his sensitive position an arm of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was also accused of spear heading the campaign to postpone the 2015 general election against the wishes of Nigerians, despite the assurances given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it was ready to conduct the February 14 poll.
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In a talk at a London think-tank, Dasuki then advised the electoral commission to extend the date of the forthcoming general elections, to enable the distribution of voters’ cards to all eligible voters.
When Atahiru Jega, the then chairman of the commission failed to heed his call for election postponement, Dasuki was said to have unilaterally cajoled the security chiefs to employ security as an excuse in compelling Jega to cave in to the demands of the PDP.
The presidential election was reluctantly postponed by INEC from February 14, to March 28, courtesy Dasuki and the PDP, under circumstances that tended to favor then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
This move by the former NSA irked many Nigerians who saw him as a PDP security adviser and less of a national adviser, this tag of infamy has thus exposed him to persecution.
2) He was seen As Being Power Drunk
During his tenure, Dasuki was accused of running the office of the NSA as the extension of his bathroom by making decisions without recourse to laid down rules and practices.
Dasuki’s influence was so pervasive that he became a de-facto minister of defence by relegating Gen. Aliyu Gusau, the then minister of defence to the background.
In fact, a report in The Sun of July 25 said “under Dasuki, Ministry of Defence became toothless and a mere featherweight, a development that had never happened before in the nation’s history”.
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His office was not an operational agency by law as he was tasked with the advisory role to the presidency on security and intelligence matters, but as one of the most powerful NSA advisers to that Nigeria had ever had, he turned his office into an Operational Agency thereby making the ministry of defence non essential. The perceived overbearing nature of Dasuki was another mistake that opened him up to backlash.
3) Alleged Mismanagement Of Funds
Jonathan administration reportedly spent about $32 billion on security and defence, most of which has gone unaccounted for. Some of the unaccounted funds were allegedly spent when Dasuki was NSA.
Dasuki has been accused of taking advantage of the insurgency war to divert funds. He was alleged to have taken over defence contracts, including the purchase of arms and ammunition that used to be under the ministry of defence. There are also allegations that Dasuki inflated defence contract and purchased refurbished equipment all in a bid to divert millions of dollars.
A report in The Sun of July 25, 2015, states that Dasuki presided over the disbursement of over $3 billion USD expended in the fight against Boko Haram. It added that some of these funds were allegedly use to fund campaigns of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The claims of financial recklessness carried out by Dasuki in the course of carrying out his duties prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to reject his resignation three weeks ago on the ground that he must account for funds received and spent under his tenure in the prosecution of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Added to this, the items recovered by the SSS from the raid on Dasuki’s residence provided more insight to the amount of money the former NSA boss was granted access to by the previous administration.
The items according to a statement by the SSS included
Twelve (12) new vehicles, out of which five (5) were bullet proofs. These vehicles which are all exotic vehicles were retrieved from SAMBO’s residence having failed to produce evidence of ownership”
The larger than life items recovered from Dasuki’s residence has given credence to claims by the Buhari administration that huge sums of money are being unaccounted for due to improper filing of contracts papers under Sabo. This has also made him a target of probe.
4) Did Not Have An Exit Plan
Many persons who were in the corridors of power under the Jonathan administration lived under the euphoria that Jonathan would survive the 2015 general election. Basking under this self-deceit, people like Diezani Madueke and Sambo Dasuki fell victim to building castles in the air, they reigned supreme without entertaining thoughts that maybe one day, they could be held accountable for the huge funds under their watch.
Dasuki erred by waiting till the last minute before thinking of exiting as the NSA, he was supposed to leave office as his principal, Jonathan was leaving, just like the ministers did, he may have thought that Buhari, being a northerner, would favour him, but he was wrong. The failure to exit the post early enough has landed him in trouble.
5) Alleged Gunrunning
Sambo Dasuki’s tenure as NSA was hit by allegations of alleged gun running, between September and October 2014, the South African government seized the sum of $9.3 million in cash transported by two Nigerians and an Israeli for arms purchase, three weeks later, The South African authorities again confiscated yet another US$5.7 million arms money from Nigeria.
It was reported that Sambo Dasuki had personally authorized the botched arm deals which was meant to secure weapons to fight the Boko Haram. The perceived illegitimacy of the transaction by the office of the NSA made Dasuki suspect of gunrunning.
To worsen matters, when officials of the SSS busted him at his residence recently, some of the items seized included seven high caliber rifles, (high assault weapons), several magazines and military related gears.
Haven retired from the military years ago, he was not expected to be armed to the teeth like a commando on a mission to battle imaginary foes.
The high calibre weapons found at his residence has made him suspect of planning to breach or attempt to breach the laws of the federation.
However, Sambo Dasuki remains innocent of all the charges leveled against him by the SSS until a court of competent jurisdiction pronounces otherwise.
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