President Muhammadu Buhari is said to be angry over last week’s sack of Lawal Daura, former Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Investigations by this paper in Abuja at the weekend indicated that the president and those close to him were unhappy given the manner Daura was abruptly relieved of his job by Osinbajo.
Daura was fired following last Tuesday’s early morning invasion of the National Assembly by masked security operatives which prevented lawmakers and members of staff, including the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Omolori, from accessing their offices.
Although the masked security operatives claimed they acted based on “order from above”, reports indicated that Daura didn’t get the nod of Osinbajo, who is acting on behalf of President Buhari, to carry out the operation.
While dousing tension that the action by Osinbajo may not have received the blessings of President Buhari, who is currently in the United Kingdom (UK) on vacation, Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said the presidency was one, adding that there was no way such a decision would have been taken without an accord between Osinbajo and his boss.
However, a presidency source who spoke with this reporter said President Buhari and his men were not happy over the manner Daura, a close ally of the president, was unceremoniously booted out of office.
He, however, said President Buhari would not likely reverse the decision upon his return, saying, “Doing so may lead to widespread condemnations in Nigeria and the international community.”
He continued: “I can tell you authoritatively that President Buhari was not in the know before Daura was fired.
“Given Buhari’s style, he wouldn’t have fired him immediately like the Acting President did”.
“I believe the Acting President, a very tough and disciplined man, has had enough of the insults from the cabals and decided to put his foot on the ground by using Daura as a scapegoat.
“Prior to this, many of these powerful cabals believed they were only answerable to President Buhari who appointed them.
“If you remember, during the last medical vacation by President Buhari, some of these people bypassed the Acting President and took sensitive documents to the president in the UK but he sent them back to Nigeria, telling them to report to Osinbajo whom he had delegated authority to.
“I believe, with the development, other powerful appointees who had hitherto taken Osinbajo for granted will now sit up and know they can lose their jobs before President Buhari’s return and any action taken by the Acting President may likely not be reversed, especially if it is in national interest and is applauded by majority of Nigerians and the international community”.
“I understand the Acting President also decided to fire Daura to exonerate himself and prove to Nigerians that he knew nothing about the invasion.
“I think the DSS was trying to rope him in when they said they barricaded the National Assembly after ‘order from above’.
“When people hear the word ‘order from above’, the impression they always have is that the order is from the president.
“Yet, Osinbajo as the Acting President, knew nothing about the invasion. I think they knew that if they briefed him, he won’t approve it.”
Also speaking to this reporter, another credible source said: “If you look at the statement by Femi Adesina, he never categorically said President Buhari endorsed the sack.
“He only said the Acting President has the full powers of a president which he exercised. There is nowhere Adesina said President Buhari was briefed and he gave his nod for Daura’s dismissal. There are still some issues there which remain unresolved.
“From what we know, the Acting President takes full responsibility for the actions and he is ready to damn the consequences.
“If you know him, he is a very contented man and he is more of a technocrat than a politician. If you remember in May this year, he said he was ready to resign.
“Remember what he said in Benue. He said: ‘My Lord Bishop, you said you are not a politician, I am also not a politician. As a matter of fact, I’m also a priest and I’m a Christian, a born-again Christian. Because I’m a born again Christian, my destiny is not determined by any man but by God who I serve. Let me assure you that under no circumstances, none whatsoever, will I give up my faith or refuse to stand up for my faith. You can take that to the bank. Even the position that I currently occupy, I did not ask for it and I’m prepared to leave it at a short notice’.
“So that is Osinbajo for you. The president, including his loyalists, are not happy about the decision but the deed has been done.”
In its reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it was not surprised that President Buhari was unhappy over the development.
Kola Ologbondiyan, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, said even if the president had decided to punish Daura, it won’t be as fast and drastic as done by Osinbajo.
“We are not surprised because even if President Buhari decides to punish the sacked DSS boss, it would not have been swift and drastic as done by the Acting President.”