RUMBLE IN THE FIRST HOUSE: A sad narrative for posterity
Since the enthronement of General Muhammadu Buhari Rtd. as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigerians have been regaled with some unpleasant news of internal squabbles, powerplay and implacable resentment between the First Lady, Aisha Buhari and some relations and aides of the President.
It all started during the first tenure of the President, when Mrs. Buhari decried the unexplained web of intrigues that had become common place in the Presidential Villa. The First Lady boldly stated that a cabal in Aso Rock had hijacked state power at the expense of the nation.
Although she did not mention names, but news became rife that the late Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari was the arrowhead and ably assisted by the President’s powerful cousin, Mamman Daura, Issa Funtua, Lawal Daura (of DSS infamy) and Babagana Kingibe.
The situation we understand deteriorated badly that the late Kyari was an unwelcome guest at the official residence of the Buharis.
In yet another melodrama, the daughter of Mamman Daura, Fatima engaged the First Lady in an avoidable shouting bout over occupancy issues at the Villa. The unfortunate situation went viral and simply portrayed a rudderless situation at the Presidential Villa.
Nigerians are wondering why the president has decided to be reticent and look on while his extended family members and a few aides ride roughshod over his nucleus family.
Then the most alarming and disgusting of all the “comic episodes” occurred on Thursday June 11 when Aisha Buhari along with her children and Aide-de-Camp, Usman Shugaba accosted Sabiu Yusuf, a nephew of the President to go into self-isolation having traveled out of Abuja to Lagos.
The situation turned ugly as Yusuf resisted all entreaties to have him reason on the line of self-isolation. Yusuf had returned from Lagos after vising his wife who was recently delivered of a baby.
In an attempt to apprehend Yusuf, the First Lady’s ADC, Shugaba discharged his weapon in the premises of the President’s newphew. The gunshots forced Yusuf to seek refuge in the home of his uncle, Mamman Daura.
Yusuf’s argument was that he was not the only aide of Mr. President who had travelled to Lagos, citing the case of the new Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who he claimed had been traveling to Lagos every weekend without anyone pressuring him to self-isolate.
The presidential aide did not stop there as he also accused the daughters of the 1st Lady, Zahra and Halima who he claimed had travelled for an in-law’s internment.
The firing of gunshots at the Villa constitutes a serious breach of security. As a result, the ADC to Mrs. Buhari and all security aides that accompanied her to Yusuf’s residence were ordered arrested by the IGP, Adamu.
While her aides were in detention, now released, the First Lady sent out a series of tweets; “Covid-19 is real and still very much around, in our nation is not in doubt. Consequently I call on all relevant government agencies to enforce the quarantine act signed by Mr. President and ensure no one is found violating the law and the NCDC guidelines especially on interstate travel without the necessary exemptions for movement of essentials.
The Villa incident has attracted a horde of criticisms form notable Nigerians and organizations. Mr. Kola Ologbondiya, the National Publicity Secretary of the main opposition, the PDP said, “Our party is disturbed by such ugly situation in the Buhari presidency which has already heightened apprehension in the public space over the apparent failure of the security architecture and central command systems in the presidency, leading to such reckless and irresponsible breaches”.
“The chaotic situation in the Presidential Villa only points to the failure by President Buhari to provide a leadership that can guarantee orderliness in governance and effectively ensure the security of our nation.”
“Our party also demands an immediate inquest into the security breaches as well as the alleged violation of Covid-19 ban on inter-state travels by officials and relations of Mr. President, which was reported to be part of the immediate causes of latest disturbances in the Presidential Villa”.
The PDP further urged the National Assembly to save the nation by wading into the unabated infighting in the Buhari presidency as those in charge of the Presidential Villa have not demonstrated the required capacity to effect the orderliness for productive governance.
A former chairman of the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu called for a thorough investigation into the shooting saying the action could be treasonable.
A public commentator, Isaac Adewale told National Mandate that the recent disturbances at the Presidential Villa are a troubling commentary that will definitely throw Nigeria into international opprobrium.
“These are things that should not come up in the 21st century. It is uncivilized, demeaning and smacks off irresponsibility and failure of leadership. In the last five years, Nigerians have been inundated with news about infighting at the Villa yet the President has not risen to the occasion to put his house in order”.
“If the President cannot put the Villa in order by simply drawing the line between his relations and the 1st family, then how would this same President guarantee sanity in governance? Adewale fumed.
For National Mandate, it behooves all the actors of governance indecency at the Villa to rethink all their previous egregious actions and retool their psyche to present Nigeria in good light.
The relations of the President should realize that the Presidency is not a dynasty as all negative actions at the Villa would induce commentaries that would be very unkind to the President long after he leaves office and they themselves would not escape the attendant national backlash.
For madam 1st Lady, while she may have a strong point in the ongoing imbroglio, she should thread carefully and avoid the traps of sentiments in dealing with those untoward attitudes from the relations of her husband. If not, she would also slide into infamy as her tormentors.