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Ike's Column Opinion

Was the First Lady Right?

Everybody knows them, they are not more than two or three who hijacked the system, they should not forget that this government came to being, by individual votes
Aisha Buhari

There has been some kind of disquiet recently in Aso Villa the seat of the nation’s Presidency. Some infrequent things have been happening, never seen since 2015. President Muhammadu Buhari has been remarkably busy, receiving visitors even in the lockdown and doing those things we have not seen him do before. From nowhere he resurrects the Oronsaye Report and directs immediate implementation, receives angry Gen. T.Y Danjuma, that he has been in trenches with for the last two years, appoints Nollywood artists into boards, sacks an Igbo from job replaces him with an Igbo to the shock of many, it has always been sack Igbo replace with an Alhaji.

What should be responsible for this? Is it part of the fallouts of COVID-19? Is it due to the exit of Abba Kyari from the Villa? These are the basis of our conversation this week as we try to look into the old agitation of the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari and the struggle for power between her and the invincible cabals that held sway in the Villa until the death of its coordinator on April 17, 2020. Could it be that the First Lady was correct in her numerous accusations against the cabals or was she just frustrated that she was edged out of power equation?

Since the death of the former Chief of Staff to the President some water really has passed under the bridge enough to attract the attention of Presidency watchers.

The way and manner the announcement of the appointment of Kyari’s replacement came gave it out that something was in offing. Prof Ibrahim Gambari’s appointment was secretly done with nobody formally confirming, it came like fake news yet it became true.

The closest credence to the story came from Prof Gambari’s cousin, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari, who apparently jumped the gun and appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari even before there was any confirmation.

It was after about 72 hours of the scoop that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Boss Mustapha formally announced Gambari’s appointment as he appeared at the Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting.

Just like the bizarre announcement of Prof Gambari’s coming, most of the happenings in Aso Villa have been without any formal confirmation. You just hear it, some fake, some others real with nobody confirming but actions are being noticed.

Prof Gambari in his maiden media chat on resumption of duty gave out something, that he will be loyal to President Buhari, that he is answerable to the President not to the nation. That assertion is still debatable but Nigerians are getting weary of debates that translates to nothing. But is that anybody serving the President is serving the nation. If you fail to impress the people hardly can you keep your job even if you are the bosom of the President.

An example suffices here, the former Secretary to the Government of federation SGF Lawal Babachir was too powerful and didn’t feel he could ever be sacked. He was sure the President he reports to will never sack him but when the people insisted the President had no choice. When he lost his job, it was so unreal and dreamlike to him that he asked the now famous question “who is the President?” he has since realized that the people, the voters are the real President.

Prof Gambari even with his shaky democratic credentials should know with his rich educational and Western background that in a democracy the people are everything as everybody including the President reports to them hence the common definition of democracy as the government of the People by the people and for the people.

If the former Chief of staff was found wanting in the eyes of the public who owns the government by their franchise, it’s because he and his league of power mongers hijacked and sidelined the people pretending to be working for the President.

Even when a critical voice came from within that they were not working for the President but for themselves, it was repressed as the ranting of an ant. Against this backdrop therefore, Prof Gambari made Nigerians uncomfortable when he said he is not answerable to them, but to the President. It’s our prayer that he would not hijack the Presidency like his predecessor and run the show his way in the pretense that he reports to the President while injuring the nation.

Every elected government anywhere in the World is elected on the basis of what it showcased to the electorates. The former Chief of staff with his super power structure called cabal, ran a government away from the manifesto of their party. It was obvious to all that in the last five years, President Buhari and his henchmen have been running the show irrespective of their party.

The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, did not envisage that the federal government should be run in such a way that one section of the country should overwhelm the other in appointments and distributions of resources or positions. But this has been carried on by this government with impunity.

The APC manifesto said it would encourage the restructuring of this country for effectiveness, for five years now the party has ignored it. Even when there was a window dressing committee headed by the Governor of Kaduna state Nasiri El Rufai, yet the President clearly showed a clear apathy to the matter.

In a normal clime, when a government runs outside the manifesto of the party, it behaves on the party to flog them on line but in our country, political parties are just for election purposes, Presidents and Governors when elected turn gods far bigger than their platform. A great abnormality in our system that must be stemmed if any progress is to made politically in this country.

If the First Lady’s cry appears to have been heard that power has now returned to her husband, what will Nigerians see as a sign?

Will there now be a cohesive Presidency manned by an elder statesman who should see the entire country as his constituency and not one mirrored as grand patron of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.

Can we begin to witness the exit of 95/5% percentage sharing arrangement in our system. Can notorious herdsmen now transforming as bandit maiming and killing innocent Nigerians be tagged a terrorist group which is what their actions are?
When these things begin to happen, Nigerians can now say that the clouds are gathering in the East and that there is likelihood of rain coming.

If therefore all manifestations of what is happening since the exit of Kyari inclines itself to the First Lady being right that the government was hijacked from her husband by some dangerous Hawks, the onus is on her to show that the journey is not now going to take us from frying ban into the furnace.

The meddlesomeness of her majesty in the politics of her home state of Adamawa during the 2019 general election that culminated in the APC losing the state, did not leave a clean slate of her. The image of her pushing for siblings and in laws at the slightest opportunity should be gauged and guided if she wants her reputation of desiring a people-oriented government taken seriously.

American lady novelist, Edith Wharton tells us that ‘there are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it’. Now that the other room appears to be in grip of power, they should not form another cabal of children and in laws. Nigerians will be harsher on that.

TheFirst Lady while striving to dig her husband out of trouble of the mismanagement of power entrusted in his hand by providence, must find a place also to bury her own troubles. Nigerians are of critical minds, the speed with which they embrace is the same with which they shun or exclude. A word is enough for the wise. Tomorrow Friday May 29, 2020 Buhari will be five years in the saddle, history pages are filled up but of what?

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