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Is Sambo Dasuki’s trial real or political ?

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There is reason to believe that Col. Sambo Dasuki who is currently going through trial following allegations by  the Department of State Security is a sufferer of political persecution. His trial can be sheer witchhunt. he’s one of the aides and pals of former President Goodluck Jonathan whose regime President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to probe.

Dasuki, no doubt, was the first victim. Muhammadu Buhari, the man Nigerians recently elected as their president, may be on a revenge mission. In barely 100 days in office, he has focused more than a passing attention on those who worked with his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

Was it a mistake for Nigerians to have voted for a man who is weighed down by old animosities? President Buhari’s path crossed with that of Col. Dasuki some 30 years ago. Buhari had come into office on December 31,1983 seemingly as a show of power. After nearly two years, Ibrahim Babangida stepped forward to relieve him of the burden. The result was Buhari’s ouster by Babangida.

Col. Dasuki played a role in the drama that saw to Buhari’s exit from office. Whatever that role was, it has gone into the ash heaps of history. Dasuki has long moved on and does not have anything against Buhari. He did not play any negative role against Buhari in the 2015 presidential elections. As the NSA, Dasuki was in a position to use his offices to turn the tide against Buhari, but he did not. Dasuki acted in the interest of peace and stability. That is the way of mature minds.

But Buhari, on assumption of office decided to pursue vendetta, unleashing his attack dogs on Dasuki, particularly the DSS through Lawal Daura, the director general of DSS, but Daura is also making a mistake. Today he may be hiding under the cover of the Buhari presidency. But he cannot be too sure of what tomorrow will bring. Those who used the cover of government offices in the past have ugly tales to tell today. Daura should be less exuberant in the discharge of his functions. He should apply wisdom and maturity. That is how he can hold his head high after office. He should particularly be mature in his handling of the Dasuki case, knowing that the trial is political. He should draw a line between this and the professional demands of his office.

Nigerians are still astounded by the invasion of the private residences of Dasuki in Abuja and Sokoto. Daura had sent a detachment of DSS operatives to lay siege to Dasuki’s houses. They turned the houses upside down in search of anything and everything incriminating. When they finished, they took away vehicles and every other thing that appealed to them. Then they accuse Dasuki of treason and felony, illegal possession of firearms, corruption and abuse of power, among other heinous crimes.

The DSS operatives placed Dasuki on house arrest, after confiscating his travel documents. Weeks later, they charged him to court for unlawful possession of firearms. Today, Dasuki is standing trial in an Abuja High Court on the charges.

Buhari is forgetting that there is tomorrow. He has forgotten that he plotted a coup that ousted the government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1983. But this same Buhari visited Shagari in Sokoto in 2015 to seek his support for the elections that brought him on board as president. Shagari, being the statesman he is, welcomed Buhari and gave him his blessings. Buhari, no doubt, is still encased in the past. Statesmanship is not made of this stuff.

People wondered why Buhari was living in the past, seemingly hunting his enemies, real or imagined. Does it then mean that Buhari of 1985 is the same Buhari of 2015? Is it really true that the leopard cannot change its spot? This was part of the debate during the Buhari campaigns. When he was canvassing for our votes, those who know him well warned Nigerians that Buhari had not changed and that Buhari would not change. We were reminded that people do not change in old age. If anything, they are more fixated. That is what we have reaped by voting for Buhari. The man is still the rigid, dogmatic fundamentalist who does not change his ways.

But then, Buhari is doubly wrong by hunting Dasuki. The retired Colonel did not do anything wrong either then or now. In 1985, the line of duty drove him. The military were in charge then. Buhari as head of state did not live up to expectations. He did not know what to do with the office of head of state. He just groped in the dark. Because the nation would not be allowed to stagnate, Buhari had to be shown the way out. Dasuki happened to be one of the gallant and fearless officers who rescued Nigeria from the vice grip of Buhari. Nobody should vilify him for it.

After all, Buhari overthrew the government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Nobody has ostracised him on account of that. And Shagari, being a good-spirited man, has since forgiven Buhari. Can Buhari extend this grace to those who stepped on his toes instead of still seeing them with the eyes of 1985? Buhari should forget vendetta and face governance. He should learn to face life with a good spirit and stop bellyaching over non-issues. But whatever he does, history will vindicate those who are being persecuted for political reasons.