- Introduced Jega to Jonathan
- Speaks 17 languages ‘
- Caused President to support Mu’azu for PDP chair
- Backed Suleiman Abba for IGP
Principal Private Secretary to outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan and an indigene of Adamawa State, Ambassador Hassan Tukur, remains one man inside Aso Rock Presidential Villa around whom every important development revolves and on whose person the responsibility for making things happen at the seat of federal power lies.
He is influential, powerful and on the quiet side; but his unassuming mien is easily called into question when people realise that Tukur has undertaken to do many jobs for the Jonathan administration where many in the government just would not get involved with any such responsibility.
Friend, enemy or frenemy?
No doubt, Tukur is a man of uncommon loyalty, impeccable integrity, and possesses an immense commitment to his principal. They got to meet in the Umaru Yar’Adua presidency when Tukur was a Special Adviser on Petroleum Resources. With the death of the latter, Jonathan made him his Principal Private Secretary, PPS, making him his most powerful aide as Tukur’s portfolio made him to be privy to all things confidential, including security issues that the administration must handle.
Expectedly, Jonathan wanted him to be a reliable link for strengthening his contacts with the North that vehemently opposed his emergence as Yar’Adua’s successor in 2010.
Given his office, Tukur, according to reports, was able to influence many decisions of the administration including undertaking to recommend key appointees into the government, including but not limited to the following:
When the search for a credible head for the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was beginning to task the President, it was gathered that Tukur, who is said to be versed in speaking no fewer than 17 languages, not really indigenous to Nigeria, singlehandedly recommended Professor Attahiru Jega for appointment to that office. That was close to 10 years ago.
The massive Presidency support immediate past national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Adamu Mu’azu got that landed him that office was allegedly courtesy of the PPS who undertook to identify the potentials in Mu’azu and recommended same to Jonathan and the party. Thus, that Mu’azu’s emergence as a contestant for that office two years ago was not by happenstance. It would not have been without Tukur’s recommendation.
The reported resignation of Mu’azu last week, according to media reports, followed pressure from PDP members that the former chairman was not loyal to the party’s agenda for the just-concluded general elections that saw the ruling party floored by the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress, APC.
Retired IGP Abba
The appointment of immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba too, was also buoyed by the recommendation of the PPS. His vast knowledge of security matters alongside his excellent rapport with Jonathan, made it easy for his recommendation of Abba to be accepted by the President who had come to wholeheartedly trust his PPS.
The sack of Abba months ago was however due to latter day discovery by the Presidency that the police chief served other interests rather than focusing on his brief.
Non-rescue of Chibok girls
The PPS was said to be at the centre of earlier negotiations for the release of abducted Chibok girls. Given his Adamawa State background and vast connections across the North, he was highly relied upon to pull the relevant strings that would see to the release of the schoolgirls. And being on one-on-one speaking terms with decision makers in Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, Tukur was trusted to do the needful for the release of the girls. Allegedly, his recommended strategy became bungled at the end of the day.
Ambassador Tukur, who seems to be the clearing house of any idea on how to deal with the current insurgency, has intelligence background; hence he’s been very useful to Jonathan in tackling the current insurgency. One source told Nigerian Pilot that the PPS worked hand-in-hand with the President of Chad, Idriss Derby, on talks with elements in the Boko Haram sect to ensure the release of the girls before the attempt failed.
Apart from Tukur allegedly being responsible for the appointment of many Northern figures in the Jonathan administration in his bid to build a cult, he is said to be an experienced public servant who is very conversant with the workings of the Presidency and he is expected to always bring his wealth of experience to bear.
But not a few have consistently alleged that the PPS did not deliver on the President’s expectations of him. To this extent, they wonder if the outgoing PPS was truly frenemy of Jonathan. Many too, asked questions as to why he undertook to recommend those he pushed to Jonathan to very sensitive positions even when from his credentials he ought to have known their respective pedigrees and capabilities. This is strengthened by an allegation that his twin sister is wife to the INEC chairman.