Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (rtd) in this interview with DESERT HERALD
spoke on the issue regarding his recent CON award, the return of
Ngilari as the Governor of Adamawa State and other issues. The
On the 25th of September, 2014, you were Hououred with a National
Honours Award, the Commander of the order of the Niger, CON. Is this
your first National Honour?
No, by the Grace of God I was awarded Officer of the Federal Republic,
OFR, in 1980 by former President Aliyu Shehu Shagari, so this is an
Did you see this award coming?
No, not at all, in fact when it came out people were calling me and
were congratulating me, but I didn’t see , I looked for the paper and
I said which paper that carried it and nobody could get me the correct
paper. Finally they called me from the Presidency, to come for
screening and from the screening I saw my first letter of award, but
before then I had no clue, it is all God’s doing.
In every honour and awards there is always a reason for it. In the
first and second what were the reasons cited.
They didn’t mention, but it is your service to the country.
How do you feel receiving this National Honours award?
I feel honoured, because it shows that one’s services are recognised
and they are not in vain, because sometimes you tend to feel that you
are serving your nation, you are serving your country and people do
not acknowledge it. So, when it comes like this unexpectedly with a
surprise and by the Grace of God you tend to appreciate more. In fact
if I had known that I was going to be given an award, maybe I would
have not have appreciated it as I did.
In your service to humanity and the country at large there may have
been diverse ways that you have contributed and you were not hououred,
but with this award coming, do you think it has surpassed all those
areas that you have never received appreciations for?
Yes, I think this is the summary of all the honors and awards that I
would receive in Nigeria. Is not that I have not been honoured, in
fact I have been honored outside the country. I have been honoured in
Togo by Order of Mono, I have a merit award from Mauritania, I have
the highest Honour in Russia, the Alexander the Great Honour, which is
the Highest award awarded to only Heads of States, and I was accorded
that award. So this is not the first time. Like all these awards I
received, it was specific service I rendered. Like that of Togo, it
was given by President Eyadema, just like the taxi driver who was
given an award because he found money in his car and returned it, in
my case people stole money from Togo, and flew into Nigeria, seven
million pounds, we seized it, I was the commanding officer at the
Airforce base then, kept it, until Eyadema came to Nigeria and General
Gowon came and we presented the money to them intact. It was at that
stage that Eyadema awarded me award of Mono. So it was specific,
similarly the one in Mauritania was because I was the first to go to
Mauritania to Speak to them about ECOWAS and for inviting them to
ECOWAS, they awarded me the order of Merit. In Russia I helped to
release or rescued 12 of their sailors who were jailed in Nigeria,
they were returned back to Russia and that Singular honour, the
Russians appreciated and Honoured me with an award of Alexander the
Great. But in Nigeria I think is a cumulative of what you have done in
Looking at this year’s award, some people who are seen as common
people were awarded. Do you see this year’s award as different from
Yes, I think, is a change in the right direction, awards should not be
restricted to only high flying people or prominent persons. Every
Nigerian who has contributed well in one form or the other, should be
recognised and be given an award. So, I think, is in the right
direction, is a very good development and I liked that.
Just recently a new political event unfolded in your state, the
Federal High Court in Abuja returned Bala Ngilari, securing his
victory at a Federal High Court as he was declared the Governor and
Sworn in in that capacity. Did you see this coming?
No, I didn’t see it, in fact, you need to be a miracle man to know
what was going to happen. Events in Adamawa are God ordained and God
executed, it was ordained by God and executed by God, it is beyond
human comprehension, nobody expected it, I don’t think even Ngilari
What does this portends for Adamawa politics and the party in general?
Well, the Development has been welcomed, because in the first place,
Ngilari ought not to have been removed, he was a deputy Governor and
when the Governor was removed, he was the natural person to be the
governor, but unfortunately that was thwarted and however, God
reversed it and that is why I say it is God’s act.
Do you think this will harmonise any acrimony shared by any person(s)
or group in the state?
This now is a challenge for Ngilari which I believe he will have to
face squarely. There is a lot of work he has to do to stabilize the
polity in Adamawa state which has been bastardized by his predecessor,
Nyako actually used the polity in Adamawa to bring about a lot strife
and acrimony. Unfortunately Bala Ngilari was his deputy so he knows
what needs to be done and is expected for him to mend the fences.
Your Party, the PDP, its Board of Trustees, which you are also a
member of, and the PDP Governors have endorsed President Goodluck
Jonathan for a second term in office. What did the BOT see that made
them to endorse him?
His performance in office, it’s there clear for everybody in office,
this endorsement is based purely on his performance in office. His
progress, in different sectors such as economy, aviation, agriculture,
transport and we believe that if he is given the chance for another
four years for Nigeria.
Do you see any candidate from the opposition APC with the capability
to challenge Jonathan adequately in coming polls?
The APC has not even made up their mind who their Presidential
candidate will be, that is their major problem. We have already made
up our mind, so we are ahead of them. But APC will not find it easy to
choose a consensus candidate and when they do, there will be backlash,
and that is their loosing formula.
Buhari recently said he will accept any format the party want to use
to select its candidate whether consensus or primary.
That is mere political statements, he doesn’t mean it.
Just recently Kano Governor, Kwankwaso, said more Governors will join
the APC. Do you think this is a serious statement?
Is this the first time they have been saying it? It is their wish, but
it won’t happen, you think the governors are foolish? You are in a
winning party. PDP is already on the run, we are ahead of them, so why
will they move to a party that is on the rock.