- ‘Presidential aide won’t join issues with first lady’
The First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, yesterday asked the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, to resign.
She accused Shehu of taking orders from Malam Mamman Daura instead of her husband and also meddling in the private affairs of the first family.
Aisha’s latest attack on those close to President Buhari has generated a lot of interest in the media with some people accusing her of exposing the first family to ridicule and others commending her for speaking up.
In a statement she personally signed and was issued by her spokesman, Suleiman Haruna, the first lady said if it were in saner climes, Shehu should have resigned his appointment long ago.
The statement was tagged: ‘Garba Shehu Has Gone Beyond His Boundaries.’
She accused the presidential spokesman of announcing the scrapping of the office of the first lady at the instance of Mamman Daura who is a nephew and closest ally of President Buhari, insisting that the announcement embarrassed the president.
Aisha’s statement reads: “Nigeria’s development is hinged on the ability of public officials to execute their mandates professionally, and to be shining examples in their various areas of endeavour.
“It is not a good sign when officials abandoned their responsibility and start clutching at straws. As spokesperson of the President, he (Garba Shehu) has the onerous responsibility of managing the image of the president and all the good works that he is executing in the country.
“Rather than face this responsibility squarely, he has shifted his loyalty from the president to others who have no stake in the compact that the president signed with Nigerians on May 29, 2015 and 2019.”
She also accused Shehu of playing the cards of some powerful forces in the villa led by Mamman Daura.
“To make matters worse, Mr Shehu has presented himself to these people as a willing tool and executioner of their antics, from the corridors of power even to the level of interfering with the family affairs of the president. This should not be so,” she said.
“The blatant meddling in the affairs of a first lady of a country is a continuation of the prodigal actions of those that he serves. We all remember that the chief proponent appropriated to himself and his family a part of the presidential villa, where he stayed for almost 4 years and when the time came for him to leave, he orchestrated and invaded my family’s privacy through a video circulated by Mamman’s daughter, Fatima.”
Daily Trust recalled that until recently, Mamman Daura and his family had been living at the Glass House in the villa; until he reportedly vacated the place for Buhari’s only son, Yusuf.
Aisha alleged that the drama that led to Mamman Daura vacating the Glass House was twisted.
“The public was given the impression that on arrival into the country I was locked out of the villa by Mr. President. Garba Shehu as Villa spokesperson knew the truth and had the responsibility to set the records straight, but because his allegiance is somewhere else and his loyalty misplaced, he deliberately refused to clear the air and speak for the president who appointed him in the first place.
“Consequently, his action has shown a complete breakdown of trust between the first family and him. Mr Shehu was privy and part of the plan and it’s execution and he was shocked when he realized that I had publicized my return to Nigeria on October 12, 2019 and cleared the air on the many rumours that took over social media, a job he was supposed to do but kept mute to cause more confusion and instability for his Principal and his family.
“Garba then, vented his anger on the National Television Authority (NTA) management insisting that the media crew to my office must be sacked. He succeeded in getting them suspended for doing their job. I had to intervene to save the innocent staff from losing their means of livelihood by involving the Department of State Services (DSS) in order to ascertain roles played by key actors in the saga.
“It is at this late hour that I recall, sadly, that it was the same Garba Shehu who claimed that the government will not allow office of the first lady to run. He was later to confirm to one of my aides that he was instructed to say so by Mamman Daura and not the President.
“This antic attracted the anger of Nigerian women. He didn’t realize the fact that First Lady’s office is a tradition which has become an institution. Today, even without a budget, I am able to run my humanitarian programmes. In saner climes, Garba Shehu would have resigned immediately after going beyond his boundaries and powers,” she said.
A source around Garba Shehu said the presidential spokesman will not want to join issues with the first lady.
Daily Trust recalls that the feud between the first lady and Daura’s family worsened in October when she returned from a two-month foreign trip. It became public knowledge when a video of the president’s wife asking questions and making comments about being locked out of a room and demanding that some people should pack their belongings went viral.
She engaged Daura’s daughter, Fatima, in a shouting match while some family members and security officials looked on in shock.
Daily Trust had exclusively reported in September that the first lady, angered by issues in the villa, had left Nigeria in August but the issue persisted on her return.