First Lady Aisha Buhari’s determination to free her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari, from the grip of two powerful men in the presidency might have received a boost, as some supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday staged a protest against the infamous Aso Rock cabal.
The marchers, who took their peaceful demonstration to Defence House, in the Maitama axis of Abuja, singled out Mamman Daura, Ismaila Funtua and Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari, as obstacles to Buhari’s government.
The protest shows that APC chieftains might have finally decided to rescue the presidency from the clutch of a few.
The significance is not lost, coming barely two days after the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and a clique of party stalwarts loyal to National Leader Bola Tinubu staged a triumphal entry into Lagos.
Recall that on December 4, 2018, during a national women leadership summit organised by Project 4+4 for the Buhari/Osinbajo 2019 campaign in Abuja, Aisha had complained that her husband could not achieve much because two powerful men, who ‘did not contest election’, were holding him back.
She expressed disappointment with Nigerian men, who, rather than fight the duo, often went to them, cap in hand, begging for favours.
But for the power brokers, Buhari could have achieved much more in a year than he did in an entire four years, she stated.
During his victory cum solidarity show in Lagos at the weekend, Gbajabiamila made stopovers at Alausa, the Lagos State seat of government; the palace of Alhaji Rilwan Akiolu, Oba of Lagos; and Bourdilon Street, the home of Tinubu.
Prior to yesterday’s protest, the cabal had attempted to sacrifice Abba Kyari and inject fresh blood into the presidency as demanded by APC stakeholders.
In his place, Daura was said to have suggested Alhaji Suleiman Hussein Adamu, the immediate past Minister of State for Water Resources, who was a principal consultant with Afri-Projects Consortium, the management consultant that worked for the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund, while the Fund was being manned by Buhari.
But the protesters appeared to have rejected this concession. Defying heavily armed security personnel, they brandished placards with inscriptions such as: ‘Abba Kyari Must Go’, ‘PMB Must Take Charge’, ‘No More Cabal, No More Intimidation’, ‘We Need Ideas, Not Recycling Men And Women Who Have Spent 40 Years In Government’.
Dr. Simeon Chinagorom, convener of the march, disclosed that Nigerians would no longer accept a repeat of the 2015 scenario, where some persons singlehandedly picked their cronies as ministers and heads of key government parastatals.
This comes as the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, urged Buhari to form a government of national unity comprising competent people.
It noted that the number one citizen was president of the entire nation, not just of the APC or a section of the country, and should therefore bring onboard capable hands from all regions to deliver the dividends of democracy.
Ohanaeze’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Chief Chuks Ibegbu, told The Guardian that the country’s fortunes worsened when its leaders began to consider ethnicity in making appointments.
Emeritus President, Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike, on his part, said merit should guide Buhari’s choice of cabinet, stressing that “placing the sycophantic quality of a person above personal competence will be the prelude to a disaster.”
Similarly, Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Elder Anthony Sani, advised the Nigerian leader to use the principles of Federal Character and merit in his choice of ministers.
His view was shared by a founding member of the ACF, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, who said Buhari must search for credible Nigerians to serve as ministers, considering the alleged poor performance of those who worked under him in his first term in office.