Aliyu Mohammed Gusau

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Aliyu Mohammed Gusau
Minister of Defence
In office
5 March 2014 – May 2015
Preceded by Olusola Obada
Succeeded by Mansur Dan Ali
Chief of Army Staff
In office
August 1993 – September 1993
Preceded by Salihu Ibrahim
Succeeded by Chris Alli
National Security Advisor
In office
29 May 1999 – 1 June 2006
Succeeded by Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar
National Security Advisor
In office
8 March 2010 – September 2010
Preceded by Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar
Succeeded by Kayode Are
Director General of the National Security Organization
In office
September 1985 – July 1986
Preceded by Mohammed Lawal Rafindadi
Succeeded by NSO Dissolved
Personal details
Born (1943-05-18) 18 May 1943 (age 75)
Gusau, Zamfara State, Nigeria
Alma mater Nigerian Defence Academy
Military service
Service/branch Flag of the Nigerian Army Headquarters.svg Nigerian Army
Years of service 1964 - 1993
Rank Lieutenant General

Lieutenant General (retired) Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (born May 18 1943) is a retired Nigerian army officer who served in many senior level security, defence, and military roles. He was most recently Minister of Defence, served as National Security Adviser to two different presidents, Chief of Army Staff, headed different intelligence agencies, and was Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Aliyu Mohammed was born on 18 May 1943 in Gusau, Zamfara State.[2] The army added his birthplace to his name, making "Aliyu Mohammed Gusau", to distinguish him from another General, Aliyu Mohammed. Although Aliyu does not himself use "Gusau" in his name, it has been widely adopted by the media.[3] He enrolled as an officer cadet at the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1964 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1967.[4]

Military career[edit]

He was Commander of 9 Infantry brigade, Abeokuta (April 1976 – July 1978), Adjutant General of 2 Mechanised Division (July 1978 – September 1979) and Director of Personnel Services, Army Headquarters (October 1979 – November 1979).[2]

From November 1979 to December 1983 Aliyu was Director of Military Intelligence (DMI).[2] He played an important role in the coup that ousted President Shehu Shagari on 31 December 1983 and brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power.[3] Following the coup he was proposed as overall head of Intelligence, with the support of Chief of Army Staff Ibrahim Babangida, but the appointment was opposed by Buhari.[5] Buhari confirmed Shagari's appointee Muhammadu Lawal Rafindadi as director of the National Security Organization (NSO), and dismissed Aliyu from the DMI, replacing him with Colonel Halilu Akilu. Aliyu was sent on a training course at the Royal College of Defence Studies in Britain.[3]

Babangida and Abacha years[edit]

Aliyu was a player in the coup of 27 August 1985, when Babangida replaced Buhari. In the lead-up, due to the influence he had acquired as DMI, Aliyu was placed under intense surveillance and in turn placed pressure on the coup leaders to act swiftly.[6]

After the coup, Aliyu was appointed Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Acting Director-General of the NSO from September 1985 to August 1986, then Coordinator on National Security from August 1986 to December 1989.[2] He reorganised the security and intelligence apparatuses, which had fallen in disarray under Rafindadi during the Buhari regime, breaking up the NSO into three organisations: State Security Services (SSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI).[7]

Aliyu was appointed General Officer Commanding 2 Mechanised Division, Ibadan (December 1989 – August 1990) and Chief of Administration, Defence Headquarters, Lagos (August 1990 to February 1992). He was Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna from February 1992 to January 1993.[2] Aliyu became National Security Advisor in January 1993, and was promoted to Army chief when Babangida passed control to the short-lived civilian government of the Nigerian Third Republic in August 1993.[5]

Once General Sani Abacha had consolidated power in November 1993 he replaced Aliyu by Chris Alli as chief of army staff.[5] Retiring from the army, Aliyu became chairman & chief executive of Alpha Public Affairs Consultancy from December 1993 until recalled as NSA by the newly elected President Olusegun Obasanjo in May 1999.[2]

Fourth Republic[edit]

With wide influence in both civilian and military circles, Aliyu played a central role in ensuring that the transition to democracy in May 1999 went smoothly.[7] Aliyu was the National Security Advisor in the crucial period when former political office holders in the armed forces were retired in June 1999, helping Obasanjo assume control of the armed forces as a civilian President. He remained National Security Advisor during most of Obasanjo's presidency.[5] He left office to compete in the 2006 People's Democratic Party (PDP) primaries for presidential candidate, coming third. The winner, Umaru Yar'Adua, went on to be elected President.[8]

On 8 March 2010, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan announced that he was removing Major-General Sarki Mukhtar as National Security Adviser and replacing him with Aliyu.[9] A few days later, Aliyu met with the service chiefs in Abuja to discuss the Jos crisis and the security situation in the country. There were rumours that a review of senior army and police assignments could be underway.[10] Speaking at a seminar in April 2010, Aliyu said the legal system seemed to promote crime and the law enforcement agencies appeared overwhelmed. He also said that efforts to fight corruption were perceived as selective and ineffective, and some of the agencies had credibility problems since their leaders had been accursed of corruption.[11]

In April 2010 it was announced that Aliyu would seek nomination to be a candidate in the 2011 Presidential elections under the flag of the ruling party – Peoples Democratic Party (P.D.P). This effort was frustrated through a Northern Consensus Candidature bid which he lost to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Turakin Adamawa).[12]


  1. ^ Ibrahim Auduson (9 March 2010). "The Return of General Aliyu Gusau". Daily trust. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Jide Ajani (13 March 2010). "Protector of the State – the Role of Aliyu Mohammed Gusau As NSA". Vanguard. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Emmanuel Mayah (16 December 2006). "Gusau: Return of the spy master". Daily Sun. Archived from the original on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Biography of Aliyu Gusau Mohammed". Nigerian Biography. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Maxwell Oditta (12 March 2010). "Gusau – Return of Another Tactician". Daily Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  6. ^ Nowa Omoigui. "The Palace Coup of August 27, 1985 (Part 1)". Dawodu. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  7. ^ a b Uche Ezechukwu (5 December 2006). "Gusau's Entrance Changes Presidential Landscape". Elendu Reports. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  8. ^ Femi Macaulay (14 March 2010). "Gusau, protector of power who may yet wear the crown". The Nation. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  9. ^ Kunle Fagbemi (9 March 2010). "General Aliyu Gusau's second coming". The Nation. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  10. ^ Yusuf Alli (12 March 2010). "Gusau, service chiefs meet in bid to stop violence". The Nation. Archived from the original on 13 March 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  11. ^ Vincent Ikuomola (19 April 2010). "Gusau faults banking reforms". The Nation. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  12. ^ Ismail Omipidan (20 April 2010). "2011 Presidency: Gusau will run campaign – Group". Daily Sun. Archived from the original on 23 April 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010.