- Untold Story Of The War Within The President’s Caucus
By Sam ADEGBE, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari may not have tested hands in appointed positions on board to assist in running the affairs of Nigeria, but there exists an informal circle of associates, some of who are powerful and highly sophisticated and may be the brains behind most policy decisions so far taken by him. .Only last week Monday, Senate President Bukola Saraki alleged that there is a government within Buhari’s government, which Presidential Spokesman Femi Adesina slammed Saraki for, saying, Buhari is nobody’s stooge. Informed insiders however insist that there is indeed a cabal that has taken charge of affairs, and that the fear of the said cabal is the beginning of wisdom. Insiders told nationalTRAIL that some dirty intrigues have been playing out of late in the Government, including the reported feud amongst top notches of the Government, the Senate forgery case, the CCT trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki, the Tukur Buratai properties controversy, the Abia Governorship debacle, the Police retirement saga, and the perceived selective handling of corruption cases, amongst others, were part of the unfolding power tussle in Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power. Investigations reveal that, the President took so long in coming up with his list of ministers and other appointees with the hope that he may not end up a hostage to the Nigerian political class, which he has always been suspicious of, but reports reaching us indicate that, even with his careful selection, he has not been able to avoid what he dreaded will happen.
Apparently in dilemma of who to trust against the background of reports that, certain individuals in his Government have been working to undermine his efforts, and frustrate the fight against corruption, President Buhari seems to rely more on his informal circle of associates to run government, a development which seems to pitch the few technocrats around him against his informal counselors. A check on the President’s schedules indicate that he is more at home with his townsman, Alhaji Mamman Daura, who is believed to wield enormous influence over him than any individual, as well as with his long term soul mate and Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, than he is with any individual, except may be his immediate family. Besides Daura, our correspondent gathered that the person with the greatest influence of President Buhari is his wife, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari. Highly sophisticated and widely connected, the Princess from Adamawa is believed to have a lot of influence in key decision, to the effect that, she has become an oracle of sort for those who seek to have their inputs taken. While the President may have his reasons for keeping a slim circle of associates, our correspondent gathered that, President Buhari takes a lot of input from the duo, of Daura and Kyari, to the ostentation of other people around him, on virtually every decision, even as he is said to confer with them before taking a final stance on issues. We equally gathered that, most appointees have Buhari’s associates on his or her side to make any head way. Some prominent northerners, including former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Coomasie, former Head of State Abdulsallam Abubakar, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, Emir of Kano, Sanusi Mohammed Sanusi, are amongst the unseen hands behind Buhari’s actions. Former Lagos state Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, widely regarded as the national leader of the ruling APC, is seen in many circles as the de facto president, given his visible hands in so many appointments and decisions. But our correspondent learnt that Tinubu is merely being tolerated because he can cause upsets for the Government and not necessarily because he is that influential. As for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who many regard as one of the forces behind Buhari’s government, sources told nationalTRAIL that the Buhari has never been comfortable with him because of his manifest ambition to be the President of Nigeria. He has never pretended about his intentions, but the President allows him to have his way for his nuisance value, like Tinubu, the source said. Amongst State Governors, are Nasiru el-Rufai of Kaduna State and his Edo State counterpart, Adams Oshimole , who although initially had it rough exert some degree of influence on the President. While Minister of Housing/ Works and Power, Raji Fashola, Sports, Solomon Dalung and Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, are seen as amongst the few that relate well with the President. Within the Government cycles, the secretary to the Government, Babachir Lawan, is often regarded as president Buhari’s manfriday in the perceived war against the legislature. Lawan, who by his position is the clearing house for all policies and appointments, is believed to have masterminded so many negative initiatives, aimed at cowing the president’s enemies. Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, National Security Adviser, Mohammed Monguno, Minister of Defence, Abdulrahman Danbazau and Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs, Hameed Ali, also serve as the intellectual reservoir for Buhari’s policies. Even the perceived skewed nature of his appointments into the sensitive security positions, which was seen to be tilted towards ethno- religious inclinations may not be unconnected with battle within the inner caucus, which may have influenced feelings of discontent in the Armed forces, leading to recent rumours of a coup d’état. While people who enjoy presidential favours are said to have formed cabals to protect their interests, Buhari’s inner caucus have equally been reported to no longer be at ease with each other over sundry issues and individual vested interests, part of which may have sparked off the infighting, with the tendency to distract the Government. nationalTRAIL gathered that, people who have been very close to the President long before he was sworn in have been battling hard to accommodate others, who by virtue of their positions, are members of the inner caucus, even as those who by virtue of their portfolios feel they should package the president, are said to be battling to be relevant.