Azaziphobia, PDP and Northern Elders
Andrew Azazi's comments at the South South Summit in Asaba that the PDP is responsible for Boko Haram have continued to elicit reactions from different sections of the Nigerian populace long after the comments. People still discuss it with the intensity they discuss the statements of General Buhari that rigging of the 2015 elections would elicit bloody reactions.
PDP members were pressurizing Jonathan to replace Azazi . The northern elites were calling for his head for suggesting that their tribesmen in the PDP are responsible for Boko Haram insurgency. Some non partisan observers believe that Azazi should resign as the NSA. They feel that as an insider in the Jonathan cabinet he should not expose his principal. I would like to take on the reasons people preferred for Azazi to be thrown away and why such reasoning may be more of emotional and intuitive exercise than logical.
PDP Chieftains truly believe that Azazi is an ingrate. Discussions with some of them who preside over the affairs of Nigeria show a curious resentment and phobia for Azazi which defies common sense. They accuse Azazi of betrayal and posit that Jonathan needs loyalists around him not people like Azazi. Some of them claimed that they have told their President to rid himself of this nosy and talkative soldier before he ruins their great party’s chances in 2015 election.
The northern counterparts posit that Azazi is an ethnic bigot who is out to give the north a bad name and damage its reputation among Nigerians with intent of denying the north the chances of 2015 presidency. The PDP as a whole views Azazi with suspicion and the Northern leaders equally view him with suspicion. Azazi was left between two bulldogs trying to tear him to pieces.
Azazi have served Nigeria in different capacity, the most recent being the GOC of 1st Division, Kaduna in January 2005, The Chief of Army Staff in June 2006 and the Chief of Defence Staff. His recent appointment as the National Security Adviser is not greater than the last two appointments. Azazi have equally had his share of the Nigerian national cake. With all the billions budgeted for the office of the NSA, certainly Azazi cannot be holier than the system he is serving. During his time as army chief, he gave soft landings for militants and encouraged dialogue with his kinsmen. His friends in the military believe that Azazi is aware of all oil bunkering activities within the Niger Delta during his era as military chief. Therefore the theory of ingratitude cannot hold water. Azazi, by Nigeria’s standards was already a fulfilled man, professionally and financially before he came to serve Jonathan. Infact, he actually came to Jonathan’s rescue when the former security adviser, General Gusau indicated interest to run for the presidency in October 2010. Azazi was drafted to help continue the stabilization which Aliyu Gusau era brought to the security arm.
It is actually the PDP that needs Azazi. The PDP and their style of politics is making the work of Andrew Azazi and other heads of security agencies to be very difficult. These undemocratic tendencies are the greatest security risk Nigeria is facing. Indiscrete electoral fraud caused post election violence in the north of Nigeria in 2011 and the security agencies were called up to clean up the mess. PDP supervised corruption is responsible for mass discontent in the land which in itself is a security risk. Aggrieved PDP members in the north with huge funds are sponsoring Boko Haram in Nigeria as a means of seeking redress for Jonathan jettisoning the zoning structure. The security agencies are also cleaning the mess from the Boko Haram branch of PDP. The subsidy protest is a reaction to PDP harsh economic policies. When the people wanted to overpower the looters, the soldiers were called in to contain the protesters. It is obvious that when the PDP defecates, the security agencies clean up the mess in order to keep the nation one. Yet the shamelessly defecating ruling party is accusing a security head of ingratitude.
The PDP should be grateful to Andrew Azazi and the heads of other security agencies that there is still democracy in Nigeria. They are yet to know how close this democracy came close to being truncated on two occasions. They should take the advice of Azazi , who actually spoke the minds of other heads of security agencies. They should stop rigging of elections, stop flouting court orders, stop looting the economy, stop shielding corrupt public officials, stop implementing harsh economic and stop sponsoring Boko Haram. This will reduce the mass discontent in the land and eliminate a lot of security flashpoints. However, if they fail to heed the warning, which is most likely, they should at least be grateful that the armed forces are cleaning up the security mess from their anus.
Andrew Azazi has cleared his conscience. The blood of innocent Nigerians being murdered by the terrorists, hitherto hanging on his Ijaw neck have been sent back to where it ought to hang, the ruling party. He has stomached the bloody deception for long and at last decided to free his conscience. If it pleases Jonathan and the feasters in Aso Rock, let them sack Azazi. He has nothing to lose. This man whom the public view with the same lenses they viewed the sacked Inspector General of Police, Hafzat Ringim, have finally extricated his name from the public tag of incompetence. Other public officers should emulate Patrick Azazi.
When Remi Babalola alerted on the escalating subsidy scam and insolvency of NNPC powerful persons within the party sought for his head and President Jonathan hurriedly redeployed him to the ministry of Special Duties on the 10th of August 2010 from where he honourably resigned. Babalola went home with a free conscience and the subsidy bill skyrocketed to N2.7 trillion naira in the same year. Audu Ogbeh was forced to resign as PDP chairman by former president Obasanjo when he openly criticised the ceding of Anambra State to the Uba brothers in the aftermath of the torching of state edifices an act which followed the shameless kidnap of former governor Chris Ngige. Mr Vincent Azie was removed as the Auditor General of the Federation a month after he released his audit findings in 2003 which revealed a flagrant violation of financial rules and regulations by the presidency and other organs of government. In the view of some shameless Nigerians, these men had lost out, but before the larger society and before God, they have discharged themselves honourably and freed themselves from the guilt of commission and omission.
Public officers owe a duty to God and the people of Nigeria to speak against acts capable of putting the nation in jeopardy even if it may endanger their privilege. The day a good number of public officers toes the path of honour by speaking the truth as these men have done then the deliverance of the nation could be perceived from afar.