This is a deconstruction of the man many would love to hate and about whom not much is known, at least by a large segment of Nigerians.Â As the new National Security Adviser, NSA, to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, Gusau brings a sterner hand to the table. This report is an examination of the man Gusau and his profile in the military as well as the political sphere.
By Jide Ajani , Deputy Editor
Why would Germany, Republic of Korea, South Africa and Ethiopia bestow on Aliyu Mohammed Gusau the following respective honours:Â Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Das Crosse verdiestkreuz, Germany; Republic Order of National Security, Cheonsu Medal Republic of Kore; National Intelligence Service Medal, Gold Republic of South Africa;Â and Grand Collar of the Order of Emperor Haile Selassie (GCHS)?
It is because Gusau typifies the man of the state.
For observers of the concept of governance, the state is a completely different entity from the government of the day.
When operators in the corridors of power make reference to the state, they are neither talking of the government of the day neither are they referring to the man on the throne.Â There are certain institutions of state that remain sacrosanct on which other structures are based.
It is for that reason that some people are seen as operators of the state, beneficiaries of the state and protectors of the state.
It is the last category that defines men of power, steel, connection and for whom the dictum, information is power means everything.Â That is the category where Gusau falls.
Born on 18th May, 1943, in Gusau, Zamfara State, this disengaged four star Army General has been working for the state for all of 40 years, a career which started in 1967 as Commanding Officer, 126 Infantry battalion, January 1967 to December 1967and Commander, 1 Platoon, B Company, 5th Battalion, Nigerian Army, March 1967 to December 1967.
At the mention of Gusauâ€™s name, a feeling of nostalgia is what immediately imbues many people.Â His is the stuff of legends in the intelligence community and that, infact, is the reason why countries like Germany, Korea and South Africa would honour him.
Between fact and fiction, there are many tales about the person of Gusau, some, even bothering on the queer or unbelievable.
Therefore, when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan sacked Gen. Sarki Muhktar as the National Security Adviser, NSA, and brought in Gusua, it was seen as a political masterstroke.
A Gusau, who is unarguably Nigeriaâ€™s version of J. Edgar Hoover of the intelligence community, whose relevance and importance is well understood beyond the shores of Nigeria, simply sends a clear and present signal to those who had thought that the Jonathan months would not be effective as an Acting President.
Gusau had served as Olusegun Obasanjoâ€™s NSA since 1999 and was only able to opt out when he decided to contest the 2007 presidential elections.Â In fact, jocularly, Obasanjo was once quoted as having said he would rather have an Aliyu Mohammed Gusau permanently beside him while he served as President than have him operate from outside â€“ a Gusau out of any government is a major discount for the administration.Â Which explains why he had served in the following positions since 1976:
*National Security Adviser, The Presidency – 29 May 1999 to 1st
*Chairman & Chief Executive, Alpha Â Â Public Affairs Consultancy LtdÂ -December 1993 to May 1999
*Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army – Â Â Â Â Â Â Â August 1993 to November 1993
*National Security Adviser,Â The Presidency – January 1993 to August 1993
*Commandant, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna – February 1992 toÂ Â Â Â Â Â January 1993
*Chief of Administration, Defence Headquarters, Lagos – August 1990 to Â Â Â February 1992
*General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2, Â Â Â Â Â Mechanised Division, Ibadan – Dec.1989Â Â Â Â to August 1990
*Coordinator on National Security, State Â Â Â Â Â House Annex, Lagos – August 1986 to Â Â Â Â Â Â December 1989
*Acting Director-General, National Security Organisation (NSO)Â -September 1985 to August 1986
*Director, Defence Intelligence AgencyÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (DIA) – September 1985 to August 1986
*Director of Military Intelligence (DMI), Â Â Â Â Â Â Nigeria Army – November 1979 to Â Â December 1983
*Director of Personnel Services, Army Â Â Â Â Â Â Headquarters – October 1979 to November 1979
*Adjutant General, 2 Mechanised Division – July 1978 to September 1979
*Commander, 9 Infantry brigade, Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Abeokuta – April 1976 to July 1978
*General Staff Officer, Grade 2, Army Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Headquarters.
If an individual is referred to as one of the best in his calling, how do you tackle him?
That, perhaps is the problem confronting many of the Yarâ€™Adua cronies who were almost making nonsense of Acting President Jonathan.
In concrete terms, what is the relevance of Gusau today?Â For a man who almost single-handedly re-sold Obasanjo to both the political, intelligence and military elite in 1998, a Gusauâ€™s relevance can never be understated.
Jonathan has again interrogated the minds of those who see him as an Obasanjo protÃ©gÃ© by appointing Gusau as his new NSA.Â There are those who remain at a loss whether Gusau remains with Obasanjo, especially after the formerâ€™s bid for the presidency in 2007 was quashed by Obasanjo at Eagle Square during the PDP presidential primaries.
But for Jonathan, the entry of Gusau, a systems person who understands how well the state works, there are a plethora of scenarios that are now on the table, scenarios never imagined before Gusauâ€™s re-entry into Aso rock Presidential Villa.
For a man who hardly talks but whose dexterity is unique, it is very difficult to read his mind.Â But he remains a survivalist.Â Perhaps, that is a testament to the â€œseveral seminars on intelligence, security & Strategic studies, in Nigeria & abroadâ€, as stated in an abridged CV.