President Muhammadu Buhari has said he was removed from office 31 years ago because he was planning to purge the military hierarchy of corruption.
He said, “I learnt that Aliyu Gusau, who was in charge of intelligence, took import licence from the Ministry of Commerce which was in charge of supplies and gave it to Alhaji Mai Deribe.
“It was worth N100,000 – a lot of money at that time. I confronted them and took the case to the Army Council in a memo. I wanted Gusau punished,” President Buhari said.
Buhari, who has not spared the military in his ongoing anti-corruption war, said senior military leaders, led by former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, and General Aliyu Gusau, removed him in August 1985, to save themselves from his wrath.
In an exclusive interview published in the current edition of The Interview magazine, Buhari challenged Babangida and Gusau to tell the truth on why they carried out the coup against him.
Babangida had told The Interview in its December edition that there was nothing in the memo which Buhari said he submitted to the Army Council.
“Don’t forget that I was one of Buhari’s closest aides. I was the chief of army staff. So, I had an important position, an important role to play in that administration. I don’t think it had to do with a memo,” Babangida said.
But in a tone which revealed that the past might neither have been forgotten nor forgiven, Buhari challenged Babangida and Gusau to come clean on why they removed him, asking The Interview to choose whose story to believe.
He also fielded questions about his health, the 2016 budget, the pace of his government, former President Goodluck Jonathan and why Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola was handed three ministerial portfolios.
The president also spoke on why he excluded the private sector from the nation’s economic management team.
“We will listen to everybody, but we are averse to economic teams whose private sector members frequently steer government policy to suit their own narrow interests rather than the over-all national interest.
“The vice president heads our economic management team.
“You have a finance minister, a budget and planning minister, a minister for industry, trade and investments, a governor of the Central Bank, a national economic adviser and others. Yet, some still ask for a team. I don’t know how they define the word team,” Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, quoted Buhari as saying while fielding questions from The Interview team.
President Buhari was also quoted as unveiling his wish list in the interview, saying, “One, we will truly change the way we do things in Nigeria. Therein lies the future of our country as a great entity. Two, a fully diversified Nigerian economy no longer dependent on oil only. Three, a Nigeria where every Naira that comes into the treasury is used for the good of the people, particularly the ordinary people.”
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