- First Lady in the loop, not happy with the arrangement
National Daily enquiries has revealed that the trio of Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari nephew, his Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs Sarki Aba and Chief of Staff Abba Kyari are holding sway over who have access to him while on medical vacation in the United Kingdom
Family members, friends and senior government officials who attempted to call or pay visits to President Muhammadu Buhari in the United Kingdom are having a difficult time getting access, because of the stance of these men.
This medium gathered that anyone who wants to telephone or see the president in London must get the approval of one or more of the three aides.
The only two individuals who are exempted from seeking permission to visit Buhari or call him are Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
The First Lady is said not to be happy with the way the aides have been managing access to her husband.
The first lady’s relationship with the president’s aides has not always been cordial.
In October last year, Aisha granted a highly controversial interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation, in which she alleged that a cabal had hijacked her husband’s government.
According to a source in government, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Buhari’s wife had voiced her displeasure to close friends and associates that the cabal she complained about were still the ones in charge of her husband in London.
“The First Lady is not with him permanently in London, which should normally not be the case.
“She has had a few clashes with the cabal and she is not happy that they are also firmly in control in London.
“That’s why she goes and comes. She is not happy with the atmosphere over there.”
These individuals have turned down numerous requests from the President’s friends, associates and members of his cabinet to see him.
Since Buhari extended his medical vacation on February 19, those who have visited him in his Abuja House residence in London include the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Chief Bisi Akande; Daisy Danjuma and Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
It was gathered that the visits were initiated by the guests who made requests which had to be reviewed by the president’s aides.
Daura was present during the Tinubu and Akande’s visit. Daura, who holds no political office in the present dispensation, has repeatedly been touted as the most powerful person in the present government, prompting Buhari to publicly declare late October 2016 that, “I’m in charge, not Mamman Daura.”
Daura travels with the president and is often seen with him. Daura is believed to belong to the legendary ‘Kaduna Mafia’, an influential group of young northern Nigerian intellectuals, civil servants, business tycoons and military officers residing or conducting business in the former northern capital city of Kaduna.
The group reportedly influenced government policies during the military era and previous civilian administrations.
Other famous members of the group were Adamu Ciroma, Ibrahim Tahir, Mahmud Tukur, and former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Adamu Ciroma; former Minister of Internal Affairs, Ibrahim Tahir; former Minister of Commerce and Industry during the Buhari-Idiagbon regime, Dr. Mahmud Tukur; former Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki; former Head of the Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, Hamza Zayyad; a former minister, Umaru Mutallab; former presidential aspirant and number-two man, General Shehu Yar’Adua; a former Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Professor Ango Abdullahi; Professor Jibril Aminu and others.
Kyari is known to be one of the President’s closest aides. He plans Buhari’s schedules while ministers are said to queue in his office to see the President.
Kyari’s influence became clear to many during a retreat organised by the presidency for the then ministers-designate. While declaring the retreat open on November 5, 2015, Buhari said, “In addition, all communications and appointments from you (ministers) to the Presidency should be routed through the Office of the Chief of Staff as it is the normal (procedure) in this presidential system.”
The person permanently with President Buhari is little known Personal Assistant Tunde Sabiu, who was appointed shortly after Buhari’s election, he is reportedly related to Daura.
Sources revealed that the President ‘feels relaxed’ around him and has a lot of trust in him.
The same was said of Sarki Aba, who was described as ‘quiet but one of the few people that can make anyone see the President.”
Presented with the names of the aides controlling access to the president, a source in the presidency confirmed the list.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the subject, said, “The names you have are accurate and they are the ones controlling access to the President in London, even in Nigeria. Some ministers, aides and service chiefs tried to talk to the President on the phone, but they turned them down.
“The few people that have seen the President only saw him because they agreed to it. If they didn’t, it would never have happened, apart from Governor Amosun, who everyone knows is one of Buhari’s best friends.”
The source refused to give the names of those whose requests to see Buhari were turned down.
Meanwhile, Buhari on Saturday spoke with his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, on the telephone for the first time since he embarked on his extended medical vacation on January 19.
Adesina, who felt elated about the development, confirmed the conversation on his Facebook page and Twitter handle.