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High drama threatens Buhari’s legacy

When Nigerians first voted for Muhammadu Buhari as president in March 2015, they did not expect his presidency to come with so much drama that…

When Nigerians first voted for Muhammadu Buhari as president in March 2015, they did not expect his presidency to come with so much drama that is now evidently distracting him from the important issue of governance. There have been high-end audio and video leaks, rumours of a matrimonial strike, reports of an executive wedding, real or imagined, accusations, counter accusations and intrigues that would have made any soap opera sizzle.

First Lady Aisha Buhari’s recent statement attacking the person and office of Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesperson, adds another dimension to this conflict, which if not handled well, will eventually define Buhari’s presidency.

Mrs Buhari accusing Shehu of disloyalty and dereliction of duties is symptomatic of deep lying divisions and scheming in the presidency that have been bubbling to the surface over the years. It has also raised concerns over how much control the president actually has on his government.

Her allegation that the spokesperson issues statements in the name of the president that do not in fact emanate from the president only buttresses her previous claims, made in October 2016, that the president is not in charge of his government. The president’s alleged willingness to cede powers to his Chief of Staff Abba Kyari and his uncle and long-time associate Mamman Daura lends credence to these claims.

This is despite Buhari  denial  on many occasions that some people are taking decisions on his behalf, insisting that he is in charge of his government.

Mrs Buhari’s feud with Daura is long and well documented. In September 2017, a leaked phone conversation between Daura and Dr Mahmud Tukur surfaced in which the two men referred to the first lady as “suicide bomber from Yola,” a fiery character capable of torpedoing the ship of state, or, at the very least, her husband’s government.

No doubt, the first lady cuts a frustrated figure. She did not get the presidency’s backing to have her brother elected governor of her native Adamawa State.

She was referred to as “wife of the president” for four years until she insisted on being addressed as first lady and creating an office for herself, which she runs without a budget, as she claims in her recent statement. She could not even secure mosquito nets for her village people despite the Federal Government spending $16m on them.

Now Mrs Buhari is aggrieved Garba Shehu did not deny reports that the president was taking a second wife last October just as she said that Shehu did not protect her image when Fatima Daura leaked a damaging video of the First Lady angrily confronting Daura’s family in the villa.

It is clear that following “a complete breakdown of trust between the First Family and him (Shehu)” Mrs Buhari wants Shehu sacked.


But will the president budge?

The fact that the president has failed to rein in his troops, his family and his aides and restore order in his camp is a worrying sign that he is either disinterested in his legacy as president or the smooth running of both his home and his government; neither of which is good for Nigerians who have been begging for good governance since independence.

The aloofness with which the president allowed discontent to grow in his then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) that led to the massive failure of that party, which again is manifesting in this scenario, cannot be allowed to sink the ship of state. The president needs to take decisive action to unite his family and his kitchen cabinet.

The fate of his legacy and 200 million Nigerians rests on it.

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