By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Col. Hammed Ali, rtd. won a reputation in the nineties as a stern and unbending military officer. As military governor of Kaduna State, he is remembered for his action in sacking 12,000 civil servants in one stroke during the Sani Abacha regime.
Following his military career not much was heard of Ali until he emerged as a close political associate of General Muhammadu Buhari. He was with Buhari for most of his travails in the political wilderness and acted as his Chief of Staff.
Though he had a reputation as an austere man, and disciplined in the fashion of Buhari, many, however, found him as an amenable workaholic during the last presidential campaigns. Many politicians who related with Ali in the course of the campaigns found him relatively friendly and a man that they could do business with after the formation of the new government.
As the chief of staff to Candidate Buhari, he knew the points men of the campaign and those who made the victory for Buhari possible.
However, those who had the agenda of displacing the politicos around Buhari had their own plans. For them displacing Ali as Chief of Staff was the first item on their agenda.
Infighting in the administration
Given his close relationship with Buhari, those with the agenda were quick to persuade Buhari that posting a tough and austere man like Ali to sanitise the Customs, would be a good step in kick-starting the anti-corruption battle of the administration.
Ali was not quick to take up the posting and many of those who campaigned for the president have come to lament it. For them removing Ali was like disconnecting them from the presidency. Even more, some say that the infighting in the administration as seen in the tussle between security agencies of the government could not have happened with Ali in charge.
Indeed, not a few of his admirers and politicos who have been disconnected are hoping that his present problems with the Senate could lead to his return to the mainstream of the presidency and with it the much-needed discipline that the administration needs.