By NBF News

Jonathan requests for military ADC
…Moves to overhaul presidential security
Wednesday, March 3 , 2010

Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan

Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has reportedly asked for a military officer to serve as his Aide-de-Camp (ADC) in furtherance of ongoing moves to assert his authority as Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces. His current ADC, Moses Zitobo, is a Chief Superintendent of Police who had been with him since his reign as Governor of Bayelsa State.

This is coming on the heels of calls on the military high command by the Niger Delta Restoration Initiative (NDRI) for the immediate deployment of an officer of the Nigerian Army to serve as ADC to the Acting President, just as it warned on the dire consequences of exposing the life of Jonathan and his immediate family to danger.

Sources close to the presidency told Daily Sun that the decision by the Acting President to drop his current ADC for a military officer was taken last Sunday at a meeting with some of his key loyalists, during which the movement of a large number of troops on the night of President Umaru Yar'Adua's discreet return to the country and other issues relating to security were discussed.

'We actually met on Sunday with the Acting President and we discussed several issues as it affects the state of the nation. Specifically, in view of the recent development, we impressed it on the Acting President that as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, there was a need for him to drop the present ADC and make use of a military officer. He saw reason with us, and we agreed that he should apply for it either on Monday or today (Tuesday). I believe he must have applied and hope the military authorities will respond without delay,' said the source who is a close ally of the Acting President.

The decision, according to him, was further necessitated by the fact that besides being in tandem with the tradition of military officers being deployed as ADC to the President and C-In-C, it also has serious security implications. 'The fact is that if his ADC were to be a military officer, there is no way he wouldn't have known immediately that the Commander of the Brigade of Guards deployed troops as it was done last Wednesday,' he stated.

Contrary to reports that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazzau, may have had prior knowledge of President Yar'Adua's movement back to the country as well as the deployment of troops, Daily Sun authoritatively gathered that Dambazzau got wind of the developments after the troops had been deployed and Yar'Adua had already departed Saudi Arabia, and indeed, promptly briefed the Acting President.

However, in an apparent move to forestall security breaches in future, Daily Sun learnt that the Acting President had begun moves to streamline the presidential security, including operations of the Brigade of Guards. Towards this end, a committee has reportedly been set up to scrutinize the nation's security apparati, particularly at the Presidential Villa, with a view to possibly effecting a comprehensive overhaul. The time-frame handed the committee to turn in its recommendations could, however, not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report.

Speaking exclusively with Daily Sun on the need for the Acting President to be accorded full honours as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, fiery Ijaw leader and patron of the Niger Delta Restoration Initiative (NDRI), Mr. Tito Zuokumor, said it was an aberration for a C-In-C to be attending military events, including ceremonial parades with a police officer behind him as ADC.

Said he: 'We had called on the military authorities to as a matter of urgency, provide an Army officer not lower than the rank of Lt. Colonel as ADC to the Acting President. In view of recent developments, the people of Niger Delta have been worried over the safety of their son. We are re-emphasizing our warning that the authorities concerned must endeavour to put in place all security measures to protect the Acting President and his family. We say so because of the dire consequences that may arise should anything untoward happen to him.

'Again, if there is a cabal which believes that they can hold the country to ransom by dictating who is fit to occupy the office of President and in the process, engaging in crude tactics aimed at plunging the nation into another round of constitutional and political crises, they had better watch it and retrace their steps. This is because Nigeria is merely existing as a marriage of convenience and if a cabal wants to behave as lords, then, everyone can as well go his or her own way.'

Zuokumor commended Acting President Jonathan for setting up a committee to reconstitute the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC], as he assured him of maximum support in his onerous task of steering the ship of the state at this trying period. He enjoined him to be broadminded, detribalized and accommodating in his approach to national issues, since he was neither a sectional nor ethnic leader.