One individual thought he would be appointment as National Security Adviser (NSA) was left disappointed when President Muhammadu Buhari chose Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno on Monday July 13,
TheCable reports that Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau is known to be a close friend President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dambazau was sacked as chief of army staff and then retired as a lieutenant general in 2010 by ex-president Goodluck Jonathan.His failure to get the NSA position was shocking because he played a key role in emergence of President Buhari.
The former chief of army staff was the head of the security committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign organisation, and was always close to Buhari in the days leading to the May 29 inauguration as well as after the president was sworn-in. Alongside with Buhari he was taken around the presidential villa in the last days of the previous administration.
Dambazua also accompanied the president’s team to the African Union summit in June, together with governors Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Ibikunle Amosu (Ogun).
On June 7, he was among those who left Nigeria with Buhari to the G7 summit in Germany.
There had also been reports that Dambazua played a key role in the security preparations for Buhari, comprising the appointment of Muhammed Lawal Abubakar, a lieutenant colonel, as ADC to the president.
He also was spotted during the regular prayers at the state house mosque.
However, President Buhari unexpectedly chose Babagana Monguno, a retired major general as NSA.
Insiders said that case against Dambazau commenced building up several weeks ago as Buhari began to conclude his list for the major security slots.
“Buhari initially wanted Ibrahim Coomassie, former inspector general of police, as NSA, but so much argument was made about Coomassie’s age. He is just 69, but it seems those who made that argument carried the day.
“That is how Dambazau moved to the top of the list as the favourite. However, several issues came up in the process of taking a final decision. One, Buhari does not want any officer who has held positions that exposed them to a lot of money. As it were, he wanted ‘innocent’ military officers to spearhead his security agenda. If you look at the new appointments, most of the security chiefs have never held what we call ‘plum’ positions in Nigeria.
“Buhari wants to re-professionalise the military. Those who have had questions asked about their past stewardship eventually fell down the list. He liked Dambazau a lot but he could not dismiss the case against him.”
The source added that Dambazau’s tenure in the army was revised and some of the facts that arose did not do him any benefits.
His words: “The Boko Haram insurgency budded under his watch as army chief, with Gen. Sarki Mukhtar as NSA. The No. 1 security priority of Buhari is to tackle Boko Haram. Dambazau’s CV was not glittering in that aspect. It was going to be a questionable appointment.”
Another presidential source said the president would still lodge the retired general from Kano, who was the first chief of army staff to hold a PhD when ex-president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua appointed him in 2009.
“The fact that Dambazau did not get the NSA position does not mean he has been blacklisted by Buhari. He is still highly regarded. But you cannot question the choice of Gen. Babagana Monguno as the NSA. He comes highly recommended and he has an enviable record. He is upright.
“He was unfairly retired because Jonathan wanted to make Gen. Kenneth Minimah army chief. So Minimah’s mates and seniors had to go. It was not as if Monguno did anything wrong or was found wanting,” the insider added.
It should be noted that President Buhari on July 13, named new service chiefs and National Security Adviser for the country.