President Goodluck Jonathan moved fast yesterday to prevent what could have been a major blow to his cabinet. He prevailed on Minister of Defence Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau not to resign, barely one week after assuming office. The President met with Gen. Gusau at the Villa where he agreed to shelve his resignation plan over what was described as “issues” with the Service Chiefs. Senate President David Mark and some eminent Nigerians also intervened in the matter, it was learnt.
Gen. Gusau is said to be unhappy with the alleged insubordination of the Service Chiefs and the fact that he is unaware of military campaign plans against Boko Haram in the Northeast. According to a source, who pleaded not to be named because it is a security matter, when the President got wind of Gen. Gusau’s plan to resign, he stepped into the matter. The source said: “Apart from preliminary rapprochement on Tuesday night, the President had audience with Gen. Gusau at the Presidential Villa early yesterday to prevail on him not to quit the cabinet. He also promised to address some of the issues between him and the service chiefs. “Based on the assurance from the President, Gusau shelved his plan to resign from the Federal Executive Council (FEC). “As I am talking to you, the President of the Senate and some eminent Nigerians have also prevailed on Gen. Gusau to remain in the cabinet.” Asked why Gen. Gusau was not at the FEC meeting yesterday, the source said: “The Minister was actually indisposed; he took ill. He only managed to meet with the President earlier in the day and took permission not to be at the meeting.” Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati also denied that Gen. Gusau had resigned.