It is very strange indeed that of all the top functionaries of the Goodluck Jonathan Administration, Col. Sambo Dasuki has emerged as the Buhari Administration’s “favourite” whipping boy in its avowed determination to clean the Augean stable. Recall that Col. Dasuki was but the National Security Adviser(NSA) whose profile essentially hovered below the raucous radar of politically- powered media censure that jaundiced public perception of Patience Jonathan and the Diezanis, the Okonjo-Iwealas or even Namadi Sambo and the Sule Lamidos . They were all mercilessly media-mugged and bashed black and blue. Yet, five months later, a dramatic distortion has hideously manipulated Dasuki’s public profile to a virtual public enemy while the top contenders are taking a bow of relief.
The latest sequel to the on-going heckling of the former NSA spawned more alarming if not bizarre bids by the DSS to prosecute the immediate past chief of the nation’s intelligence community. After obtaining the gracious consent of the court to take three weeks for an overdue medical check-up in London on condition of a surety who would assume responsibility in case of bail jump, it was widely reported that the DSS promptly nabbed Dasuki’s surety former Governor Boni Haruna who thereafter withdrew his surety and was immediately replaced by former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Umaru Dahiru Tambuwal. In the process, Col. Dasuki’s legally-sanctioned departure for London was thwarted as the DSS practically prevented him from freely doing the needful.
Significantly, the DSS made no pretence of deference to the subsisting orders of the Federal High Court returning Dasuki’s travel documents and granting him three weeks medical leave even as it frustrated efforts to fulfill them. It issued a statement confirming that the “seeming standoff between Sambo and the Service, despite the court-ordered release of his international passport on 4th November, 2015 was because of “his refusal to appear before a Committee undertaking the investigation of an entirely different case.” So a mere committee of investigation that is not even under the DSS ambit can trigger the willful neglect and thwarting of a Federal High Court order? Considering that the court granted Dasuki permission due to his health condition and an overdue medical check-up in London, is there no compassion among today’s security chiefs or would they literally pursue Sambo Dasuki to his grave? Surely, as a former NSA there are more appropriate options for inviting him for whatever purpose that what amounts to a witch-hunt.
Prior to these unsettling episodes, the DSS again rattled the Federal High Court proceedings when at the previous sitting where it expanded the one count charge of illegal possession of firearms to include illegal possession of local and foreign currency, it also requested that the trial be conducted in secrecy by providing special cover for witnesses from using public routes; use of private witness room; use of facial masks and false names. Under a regime that touts transparency and accountability a recourse to guise and guile to prove what the DSS itself initially hinged on “credible intelligence” is disappointing to say the least.
As Nigerians witness these events with mounting concern about the bigger picture surrounding them, it is pertinent to point out that the DSS has turned logic on its head by blaming the victim and deflecting the responsibility for the travails of Dasuki whom it now also accuses of “grandstanding and subtle blackmail of the Service”. Between Dasuki and the DSS there is no doubt as to who is grandstanding and blackmailing who! It is most unfortunate that the travails of former NSA Dasuki in the hands of new leaders of his old constituency are capable of further distancing decent and genuinely-motivated Nigerians from answering the clarion call to public service.
Col. Dasuki’s tenure as NSA began under the most devastating deluge of Boko Haram attacks for which his predecessors were collectively responsible, but he plunged into the debacle with courage, fortitude and intelligent initiatives that demonstrably turned the tide and reclaimed our territory and rejuvenated our diminished sense of national pride and security even as the “international community” plotted Nigeria’s demise.
Of all the much-maligned functionaries of the Jonathan era, only Col. Dasuki was retained by merit and necessity Buharian Presidency that otherwise demonized its predecessors. To cap it all, Nigerian forces have continued to depend solely on the contingencies of arms, ammunition, equipment and assorted high-tech land and air defense systems and now even strategies such as the infamous “mercenaries” proactively procured under Dasuki’s NSA-ship of Jonathan Administration with higher hopes of triumph than ever, in the last five months.
Whichever way the next intriguing installment of what is fast-becoming an epic battle between the DSS and the Federal High Court over the rights and innocence of Col. Dasuki goes, the ultimate outcome of his travails would have also exposed the vulnerability of democracy to the vicissitudes of power politics in general and regime security in particular. The Dasuki Doctrine is yet to be perfected.
Ajasse writes from Lokoja, Kogi State.
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