by Dolapo Adelana
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s extended vacation in the United Kingdom, family members, friends and senior government officials have been having a hard time getting across to him.
According to The Punch, access to the president is being controlled by four of his aides – the President’s nephew, Mamman Daura; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Affairs, Sarki Aba; Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; and Personal Assistant to the President; Tunde Sabiu.
Reports gathered show that only the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and First Lady, Aisha Buhari have unhindered access to Buhari. Any other individual who wants to call or visit the president in London must get the approval of one or more of the four aides.
The First Lady is reported not to be happy with the situation. Her relationship with the aides has been frosting for a while. 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,the president’s wife had voiced her displeasure to close friends and associates that the cabal she spoke about her the ones controlling her husband’s access 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.”
Many requests from the President’s friends, associates and members of his cabinet to see him have been turned down by these individuals.
Since the extension of his leave, those who have visited Buhari in his Abuja House residence in London include the Ogun Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Chief Bisi Akande; Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun.
A source said Daura who present at the visit of Tinubu and Akande. Daura, who holds no political office in the present dispensation, has repeatedly been touted as the most powerful person in the present government. This allegation led 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.
Kyari, Buhari’s Chief of Staff is known to be one of the President’s closest aides. He is in charge of the president’s schedules and ministers are said to queue in his office to see the President. While declaring a retreat organised for the then ministers-designate 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.”
As for Sabiu, who much is not known about, he is reportedly related to Daura. According to sources, the President ‘feels relaxed’ around him and has a lot of trust in him. The same was said of Aba, who was described as ‘quiet but one of the few people that can make anyone see the President.”
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the subject, confirmed the names of the aide.
The source 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.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.