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Review…Aisha and the fight against the unsettling cabal



To Aisha Buhari, My Respects

The Nigerian Presidency is an interesting phenomenon, vis-a-vis, the trending political phrase, cabal. Rightly or wrongly, there appears to be some unseen hand, that dictates the tune of music at the Presidential Villa, or put differently, Aso Rock. Since 1999, this unseen hand is believed to have covertly obstructed development in every facet of our lives.

Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari may have re-echoed the obvious, by alleging that cabals have hijacked her husband’s government. Pundits, who have been following the development, however believe that Mrs Buhari’s claim is nothing new.

In the week that just ended, the President’s wife warned that her support for her husband for 2019 election rests on his readiness to shakeup his government. In a BBC Hausa interview, the Adamawa born 45 year old, said Buhari’s government has been hijacked by a cabal who are “behind presidential appointments”.

Mrs Buhari said of her husband’s 2019 plans, “he is yet to tell me, but I have decided as his wife, that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again. I may not back him at the next election unless he shakes up his government.”

She posited that “Some of them (appointees) don’t even have voters card, and those who made sacrifice have been reduced to nothing and certainly not happy with the way things are going.”

The term ‘cabal’ became famous in 2010, during the ailing days of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. MrsTurai Yar Adua, the former First Lady, was the organizing force of the powerful cabal which prevented former President Goodluck Jonathan from taking over as acting president in 2010.

The cabal also had two security, one civilian aide and a legislator as members. They were Yar’Adua’s chief security officer, Mohammed Tilde, and his military ADC, Mustapha Onoedieva, an infantry colonel from Edo State. Through Mrs. Yar’Adua, this small group worked with Shehu Inuwa Imam, who was a member of the House of Representatives from Katsina State, who was the late President’s childhood friend; Tanimu Yakubu, the former President’s chief economic adviser and Sayyadi Abba Ruma, the then Agriculture Minister.

Read also: KITCHEN TALK: How Buhari may decide Aisha’s political fate

The group retained its grip on power by blocking all direct access to the ailing President. The group also consolidated its power by proxy presidential proclamations, presumably issued from the mouth of the President.

When former president Jonathan held sway, the same phrase found its way to the political sphere. Jonathan was often accused of relinquishing powers to a few members of a powerful cabal within the Aso Rock. Like Yar’Adua, Jonathan’s defences were weak and Nigerians were not swayed by his claims.

One of Jonathan’s ardent supporters, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari who doubles as a former President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), repeatedly maintained then that Jonathan was not in control of his government.

Hear what he claimed: “The problem is that the President (Jonathan) is surrounded by very greedy people who do not want the president to make any progress. I have known the President for more than 20 years, and I know he is a very simple, humane man, but he has allowed himself to be imprisoned by people around him.

“Jonathan is surrounded by very greedy people who are only in the presidency to enrich themselves at his expense. This brings us to another Kalabari proverb which says: where there are elders, a goat cannot be allowed to deliver in its tethers. If we don’t talk and we continue to brush it aside, tomorrow we will be blamed.”

Mrs Buhari is not the first to release the salvo that her husband was under the grip of some powerful cabal members who have taken over the running of the Aso Rock. Mamman Daura is believed to be the head of the powerful cabal in the Villa. He is also a nephew to President Buhari.

A powerful voice from the north and a former member of the House of Representatives, Dr Junaid Mohammed captured the power play in the Presidential Villa and how Buhari has been relegated to the background.

Hear his explanation: “Let me say straight away that whether one calls it a cabal or a mafia or some kind of cult or whatever, there is a group of people who are wielding power within the Presidency under Buhari. Whatever you say it is; it is and a lot worse.

“The most influential person in the Presidency today is one Mamman Daura whom as you know, is a nephew of the President. His father was Buhari’s elder brother. In addition, Mamman Daura was the one who single handedly brought up Abba Kyari, the current Chief of Staff to the President.

“In fact, Abba Kyari knows Mamman Daura more than he knows his own father. Next, the Personal Assistant to Buhari himself is the son of Mamman Daura, next is what they call SCOP, State Chief of Protocol, and is also a son-in-law to Mamman Daura because he is married to Mamman Daura’s daughter.

Junaid went on to reel out a list of names of people occupying sensitive and powerful positions in the Buhari administration, who are either related to Mamman Daura, or were unilaterally picked by him, as well as those related to the president, the Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai.

According to him, “In the history of Africa, let me make bold to assert that I have never seen any level of nepotism that has equalled or surpassed this in my entire life – I am now in my 67th year”.

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Mohammed’s is not alone. Spokesman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Timi Frank is in sync with Mrs Buhari’s assertions. “I think Mrs. Buhari deserves commendation because she is actually speaking the minds of not only the party members but Nigerians,” Mr. Frank said.

He added: “What Mrs. Buhari has said is not different from what some of us have been saying that it is high time the President shake-up his cabinet and bring in people who understand the manifesto of the party and could help the party deliver on its change mantra, especially, the economy of the country that needs an urgent attention”.

For Frank, “Nigerian women in politics and other wives of president in the world have a lot to learn from what Mrs. Buhari has done. We should not forget in a hurry that this is what the former first lady Mrs. Patience Jonathan failed to do to her husband when few people hijacked his government and brought the government down.”

Malam Yerima Shettima, a Kaduna-born activist and National President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum harbours the same thought. Hear him: “The same thing that happened to Dr Goodluck Jonathan when he was hijacked, the same Buhari’s government has been hijacked by a few cabal in the corridor of power. Men of honour, patriotic Nigerians must come together to insist that we don’t deserve the way we are living as a nation.”

Also, at the peak of his trial by the Federal Government over claims that he forged the Senate Standing Rules, Senate President, Bukola Saraki had also claimed that Buhari’s government had been hijacked by a cabal.

“What has become clear is that there is now a government within the government of President Buhari who have seized the apparatus of Executive powers to pursue their nefarious agenda,” he had claimed.

As Mrs Buhari seeks to contend with the ever present cabal, watchers are keen to see what becomes of her and the battle to free her hubby. This is even as many have continued to question the reality or otherwise of such a group within the corridors of power, plus how and why, if they exist, they are able to wield so much power than the figure(s) thought to actually be in power.

By Ehisuan Odia….

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  1. Apachee zooma

    October 17, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    There is so much shit all over the place. Our leaders are no better than cow dung! Believe me. Or, how else can we be talking about cabals when we have institutions that ought to act as checks on each other? So pissed off! 56 shit years for goodness sake! Some people need to face the gallows if all these deceptions must stop. Ain’t falling for this scrap called cabals. Somebody is simply being INCOMPETENT! Abeg, give me second base jare!!

    • david craig

      October 17, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      Mr Apachee, u cant tell me this man is incompetent. the problem of this country is deep rooted, so much that it takes only a disciplined person to put things in place. lets cut this man some slacks for goodness sakes. lets raise our voices against this so called cabals or mafia and not criticize the president. they hijacked the last administration and they’re coming for this. No way.

      • Apachee zooma

        October 17, 2016 at 3:02 pm

        Lmao! Bro, we’ve been raising voices for 56 donkey years. Even Oyinbo listen, that na why dem concede independence to us. So, please, let no one give me this crap about discipline. Is Buhari disciplined with all the nepotism running riot in Aso Villa? Can’t understand our people. We need men with IDEAS, bro. I mean men wey get vision. I tire abeg.

  2. Olawale james anifowoshe

    October 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Apparently, Mr Mamman Daura is the chief cabal, a close relative of the president. i just feel something is not right somewhere. Mr president and his nephew/family are playing a game on nigerians

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