- Service Chiefs, Advisers, others scramble to save their jobs
By Our Political Correspondent
For some aides and lieutenants of President Goodluck Jonathan, these are not the times to sit pretty in their respective positions. Rather these are times to grow grey hairs over where their next meal ticket would come from. Reason? Even as his first tenure winds to a close, the president is reportedly “seriously considering the possibility of overhauling some aspects of his personnel”.
This development, according to an authoritative source, has been made imperative by the need to “drop some deadwoods from his cabinet”, as well as the necessity to fill some vacant positions. It would be recalled that a number of Ministers quit the federal cabinet recently to pursue their respective political aspirations in their home states; thereby freeing some ministerial positions which are yet to be filled.
It was gathered initially that Jonathan had wanted to put on hold any fresh appointments until the general elections are concluded in February 2015. “Along the line, however, certain rather unexpected developments have made it expedient for Mr. President to effect some cabinet (and such other) changes, without further delay,” our usually reliable insider disclosed in confidence. “The only thing that remains now is the best time to effect the said change. In fact, as the D-day inches closer, tension and suspense now pervade here (Aso Rock) since words to that effect somehow leaked.”
Investigation by this medium revealed that two categories of officials are likely to be affected in the impending change of guard. The first category concerns two or three ministers who will be allegedly dropped on account of what one of our sources branded “poor or dwindling performance on the one hand, and questionable loyalty to PDP cause, on the other”.
One of the Ministers to be fired, we gathered, is from a Northwestern state. “Not only has he been flirting secretly with the major opposition party (APC) since his governorship ambition was dashed by the governor of his home state; he has been more or less acting like a mole for one of the APC chieftains”, the source added. “Unknown to him, security agents have been keeping tabs on him, and the dossiers in the office of the National Security Adviser speaks volume on his level of unfaithfulness.”
In the second category of those to be affected by what is already being dubbed as “season of long knife,” are said to be at least one of the service chiefs and some board members who have either performed below expectations or are perceived to be less than suitable for their current positions. In the case of one of the service chiefs, he reportedly said to have “demonstrated serial incompetence and poor sense of judgment vis-à-vis the insecurity challenges facing the nation”.
According to two of the senior military officers who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, the president has been so pissed off with the below-par performance of the said service chief that he had wanted to summarily sack him last November. “However, Jonathan was prevailed upon not to pull the trigger, so that the whole thing wouldn’t appear as if this particular officer is being made a sacrificial lamb in the face of all-encompassing failure”, the said officer informed.
Among the Board Members to be affected in the looming dismissal, the name of a certain Bamanga Tukur reportedly features prominently. Tukur, the immediate past chairman of the governing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), chairs the Board of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) although the NRC has been performing relatively well lately (as evident in the number of train services on offer across the land) the business mogul-turned-politician is believed to have stepped on certain toes in his alleged bid to unseat his successor, Mua’zu.
It would be recalled that shortly after the emergence of the incumbent PDP helmsman a court case was instituted with a view to ensuring his removal. It eventually emerged that Tukur had also hitched unto the case, reportedly seeking a declaration that he be returned as PDP chairman but following the failure last week for this legal challenge, Tukur played the proverbial Pontius Pilate, distancing himself from what his party described as a blatant anti-party indulgence.
DESERT HERALD gathered that Tukur and his ilk have been running from pillar to post lately in an attempt to save their jobs. The service Chief mentioned earlier, for instance, is said to have assured Jonathan that “come what may, I can definitely assure that by latest January 2015, the Boko Haram terrorists will be defeated once and for all.” On his part, one of the embattled cabinet members is said to have hired a battalion of prayer-warrior Mallam to help save his plum job. But will these desperate measures save the appointments of those concerned? That is the million dollar poser which time shall tell.