Home Opinion Lt. General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau Rtd @ 80

Lt. General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau Rtd @ 80

- Between known knowns, unknown unknowns and the rest of us

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By Ahmed Yahaya-Joe

I have in the past satisfactorily used the high-speed Internet facilities at the Gusau Institute in Kaduna (Nigeria’s “deputy” capital) albeit without crossing the threshold to utilize one of Nigeria’s most extensive private libraries open to the public.

This is partly because I had elsewhere located a copy of DJM Muffet’s book entitled Concerning Brave Captains: Being a History of the British Occupation of Kano and Sokoto and the Last Stand of the Fulani Forces (1964) and having obtained an online copy of the memoirs of Sir John Hawley Glover, the pioneer British governor of Lagos from 1863 to 1872. Glover’s Forty Thieves later known as Glover’s Hausas formed the nucleus of our present-day Nigerian Army.

But since I am yet to lay my hands on AHM Kirk-Greene’s Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria: A Documentary Sourcebook, 1966-1970 Vol. I & Vol. II (1971) or Shehu Othman’s Classes, Crises and Coup: The Demise of Shagari’s Regime (1984), I am soon going to fill out and submit for necessary approval my downloaded printout of the Aliyu Mohammed Research Library (AMRL) application form.

Who knows if tucked away between the shelves those over 22,000 books is a copy of the much talked about “Ifeajuna manuscript” also?

Hear, Dr. Abati, lead anchor of The Morning Show on AriseTV after visiting the library back in 2017, “I saw bound copies of every edition ever published, of The Guardian, Daily Times, Punch, Vanguard, Newswatch, Nigerian Tribune, etc. When I saw bound copies of Classique, Newbreed, The Citizen, NewAge, Hotline, The Source, TSM, I screamed…

I screamed louder when I was taken to a section where I was told every piece ever written by any regular newspaper columnist in Nigeria is stored. The General told me that he has a copy of every piece that Reuben Abati has ever written anywhere in Nigeria or wherever.”

Arguably, the most controversial presidential election in the US remains that of the Republican George W. Bush in 2000 despite their Supreme Court verdict on the Florida recount controversy. Without that legal proclamation, Gore had beaten his rival hands down.

Then the January 6, 2021 coup attempt against America’s democracy by former President Donald Trump refusing to concede defeat to his rival, Biden.

In both foregoing scenarios, the American establishment prevailed against aggrieved voters and their preferred candidate notwithstanding the claims to the contrary.

Simply put, every nation has an establishment. A constantly evolving but well-entrenched core group of self-appointed gatekeepers passing through a revolving door of influence peddling. They call the shots, control the dynamics, juggle pressure groups, and umpire contending interests.

You don’t have to read Owen Jones’ The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It (2014) to realize that the members of the nearest Nigerian equivalent of this worldwide phenomenon are loosely referred to as the “owners of Nigeria.”

Recall, then Brigadier-General Sani Abacha at 7 am on December 31 of 1983, “I and my colleagues in the armed forces have, in discharge of our national role as promoters and protectors of our national interest, decided to effect a change in the leadership of government….”

In 2019, all was not well amongst our “owners” or “the 1966 generation” as they otherwise described.

They had prior thrown former President Goodluck Jonathan under the bus in 2015 installing one of theirs whom they had deliberately kept out of office for 12 years from 2003.

None of them would subsequently endorse the now outgoing President Buhari’s second term bid. That rejection formed the kernel of the emergence of Bola Tinubu who is currently the main issue in Nigerian politics.

No doubt, Tinubu emerged victorious on February 25 chiefly through his sagacity as I have previously described in, https://stalliontimes.com/2023/05/14/bola-tinubus-5-laws-of-power/

Yet, somebody, someplace had to ensure the opposition remained effectively divided to be any substantial threat to him. By so doing out of the 8.7 million votes that Tinubu raked on February 25, 5.3 million came from the North alone.

Who are these “owners of Nigeria”?

The historian Max Siollun gives us a clue in his 2013 book; “The same people have controlled Nigerian political and military life since 1966. The group of officers that brought Gowon to power in August 1966 formed the foundation of all succeeding military regimes until May 29, 1999. Although the leadership of the regimes changed, the personalities behind the coups and regimes did not.

The 1966 cadre created successive dynastic military regimes for the next 33 years. The young NCOs and Lieutenants who blasted Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi from power in 1966 became the Colonels who ousted his successor General Gowon in 1975, and they became the Brigadiers and Major-Generals who overthrew President Shagari in 1983.”

See details in Soldiers of Fortune: Nigerian Politics from Babangida to Buhari, 1983-1993

Will Tinubu borrow from OBJ’s political playbook of 1999?

If the core North had known that former President Obasanjo would summarily retire its officers and elevate the Middle Belt likes of Ibrahim Ogohi, Victor Malu, and Isaac Alfa respectively to Defence and service chiefs they would extract a prior agreement before massively voting for him.

The Chicken Farmer kept his cards so close to his chest.

By the time he made Uzoamaka Comfort Nwizu and Jacob Buba Gyang Immigration and Customs CGs, OBJ had crossed the Rubicon which by 2003 forced him to negotiate with Bola Tinubu for a SW support base to counterbalance General Buhari’s opening gambit for the Villa.

It could be recalled as AD bigwigs went to political sleep, Tinubu kept his two eyes open becoming the only surviving Alliance for Democracy governor to keep his seat after the Chicken Farmer had finished his political rampage of by any means installing PDP governors throughout the SW.

What cards is Tinubu currently keeping close to his chest?

His appointments would either make or mar his presidency. He either properly manages our diversity or boom!

The man formerly known as Sanusi Lamido Sanusi reminds us after the political North felt shortchanged by OBJ’s political appointments in Religion, the Cabinet, and a Political Economy of the North;

“The poor peasant farmer in Zaria, condemned to life-long penury by the circumstances of his birth, the inadequacy of his education, and the deprived state of his general existence, feels a stronger bond with an affinity for his rich, capitalist emir than his fellow farmer in Wusasa.

 Similarly, the poor Christian peasant in Zangon-Kataf is willing to kill, maim and destroy his poor Muslim neighbour on the orders of a retired general who was, and remains, part and parcel of the oppressive establishment.”

Why is it as Nigerians we cluelessly perceived that our nation transited from “Ijaw-nization” under Jonathan to “Fulani-zation” under Buhari from 2015?

What Sanusi is telling us no such dichotomy really exists as he goes on in another context but same background;

“There are only two major tribes in Nigeria. The Elites and the Masses.

Once you make lots of money, you belong to the elite tribe. When you are a commoner or suffering, you belong to the tribe of the masses. If you are an elite, and you need more power, or elective position, you sow seeds of tribalism and religion among the masses, so as to sway their emotion for your personal victory. This happens at both the national and state level. Unfortunately, after the election when they have won and joined their “sworn enemies” to drink and party, the gullible masses continue to fight each other.”

Lest we forget Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman reminds us, “Manipulation means, essentially, controlling the action of a person or group without that person or group knowing the goals, purpose, and method of that control and without being aware that a form of control is being exercised on them at all.”

See details in The Manipulation of Religion in Nigeria Today: Its Social and Political Basis published in the New Nigerian newspaper edition of January 13, 1978

I find it instructive that the first major visit Tinubu made after declaring his intention to run for the public at a Villa press conference was behind closed doors at a private penthouse residence within the expansive grounds of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library at Abeokuta.

Is OBJ really Obi-dient?

Before answering carefully read Tragedy of Victory (2013) written by Rtd. Brigadier-General Godwin Alabi-Isama. This is a 3-part book with the third entirely a rebuttal of My Command written by a one-time Third Marine Commando (now Third Armoured Division) GOC, Obasanjo in 1980. For the last 10 years and still counting since Alabi-Isama’s book, OBJ has not in any way attempted in any way to join issues with his former Chief of Staff during the period under review.

Equally instructive is Tinubu, the first major visitor to  Minna after IBB had returned in March 2023 after leaving the country in December last year.

If either the Chicken Farmer or the Minna oracle greet you, “Good morning” be sure to consult your watch before answering because it might be evening.

In office, Tinubu would be tempted to be his own man perhaps even engaging in ethnic triumphalism.

Disastrously, it will mark the beginning of his political end because the “owners of Nigeria” are an extension of the British establishment. Then there is the French connection through the Chagoury brothers to factor in.

Mohammed Aliyu Gusau is relatively the youngest member of the surviving “promoters and protectors of our national interest” he turns 80 on Thursday, May 18, 2023.

Gusau and 61 of his coursemates commenced training as NDA’s Course 1 on January 20, 1964, passing out on March 18 1967 as seen in the attached picture with him on the immediate left of General Gowon. Colonel (later Major General) Mohammed Shuwa (1939-2012) back then GOC 1 Division is on the right of the then Head of State. Shuwa was a Sandhurst coursemate of Generals Murtala Mohammed and Iliya Bisalla. 8 years after this picture, Gusau was integral to the conspiracy that removed Gowon and Shuwa from power.

Notable coursemates of Gusau include among others Lt-General Oladipo Diya (1944-2023), Lt-General Joshua Dongoyaro (1940-2021), Major General Ishola Williams, Major General Salihu Ibrahim (1935-2018), and Admiral Allison Madueke.

Gusau, an apparently prolific military intelligence operative with multitudinous fingers in different political pies has variously served as a one-time NDA commandant, former Army chief and  Defence minister, and multiple times NSA under IBB and Presidents Obasanjo, Yar’adua, and Jonathan. He reportedly compelled outgoing Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto to step down for former VP Atiku Abubakar during the PDP presidential primaries in 2022.

 In his own words, outgoing President Buhari had confirmed to Antony Gold in an interview on March 20, 2002, that he was removed from office on August 27, 1985, because “Babangida felt threatened and he was close to Aliyu.”

Buhari’s attempt at neutralizing his Director of Military Intelligence was characterized by shoddy planning and poor implementation, not unlike what Nigeria has undergone in the last 8 years.

While Gusau was surreptitiously posted on course to the Royal College of Defence Studies by Dodan Barracks, the well-informed Army chief proactively sent the Military Secretary, Col. Sabo Aliyu who would have signed the director’s retirement letter on leave. Before the person in an acting capacity, Lt. Col. (later Major General) Bashir Salihi Magashi now outgoing Defence minister could effectively meander around the series of administrative roadblocks put up by IBB, Buhari was instead retired in a classic flanking maneuver.

As Fela would croon, “Overtake don overtake.”

To carefully untangle the complex web of intrigues that culminated in Buhari’s overthrow and Gusau’s pivotal role in all of it, Usman Dalhatu’s detailed book Major-General Muhammadu Iliyasu Bashar CFR mni: MD Jega the 20th Emir of Gwandu (2016) is a must-read.

Guess who accompanied OBJ to Ota after his release from Abacha’s gulag in Yola by General Abdulsalami Abubakar?

Gusau’s name seems to always pop up at virtually all of Nigeria’s political crossroads irrespective of military or civilian dispensations. He not only reportedly financed the removal of Shagari in 1983 but engineered Shonekan out of office in 1993 only to be this time around outflanked by General Sani Abacha, a more accomplished schemer who eventually retired the Zamfara warlord from active service.

Fela, again.

The general is a polygot like the NSA to Abacha, Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo fluent in Yoruba and Igbo speaking Hebrew, Arabic, German, and French. He is not only a brother-in-law to Rtd. Colonel Sambo Dasuki but also to Malam Mamman Daura, the outgoing First Nephew including being father-in-law to a onetime NDA cadet officer, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed also LP’s running mate to Peter Obi.

Back in 1986 under the Machiavelli of Minna, General Aliyu Gusau alongside the erstwhile Head of Biafra’s Intelligence service, Chief Bernard Odogwu restructured the former NSO creating out of it the present-day DSS (initially SSS) and NIA.

Now you understand how “somebody, somewhere had to ensure the opposition was effectively divided.”

Happy birthday to an unknown known General;

“We know, there are known knowns; things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know.”

 – Donald Henry Rumsfeld (1932-2021)

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