‘Who is the Presidency’?, by Ogadinma Nkem

By Ogadinma Nkem

President Buhari is a man of integrity and honour whose Spartan and anti-corruption posture have earned him global recognition and respect. There is no doubt that his integrity and relatively low appetite for wealth and material possession distinct him from the ultra-corrupt military and political class whose stock-in-trade is treasury looting.

PMB, his popular acronym is not a leadership extraordinaire. This was evident when he won the hotly contested 2015 general election, it was then he realised that “if knowing what to do is as easy as doing them, mosques would have been paradise and churches would have been heaven”. It became crystal clear that managing success is more difficult than attaining it.

PMB was confronted with the challenge of managing various stakeholders’ interests, from those who looted their states dry to fund his presidential campaign, to those who joined forces with him just because they hate Jonathan.

He realised that he had to reassure his original support base that comprises his defunct Congress for Progressive Change CPC elements, Hausa-Fulani Islamic supremacists and the stomach-driven clerics who dilute their Friday sermons with the “Buharriyya” agenda. Navigating these political obstacles and divergent interests became herculean; this made him to state categorically “I belong to everybody and belong to nobody” on the day of his inauguration.

All contending bloc around the president started scheming and strategizing in order to outsmart each other. In controlling, or at least influencing certain actions and decisions in their favour. The Mamman Daura group became more successful because they adopted scare-mongering and pyromaniac approach which they managed and successfully used by advising the president to stay away from Aso Rock until routine spiritual cleansing were thoroughly carried.

When the president obliged, they went further to tell him they needed to appoint blood relatives to man key positions in Aso Rock especially his office, protocol and domestic fronts. When Reuben Abati wrote his famous piece on how his colleagues became sterile for “mere” working in the villa, the Mamman Daura group validated their hypothesis to Mr President about how dangerous Aso Rock could be.

The Tinubu and Atiku’s new PDP camp were left to slug it out on National Assembly positions which saw the Atiku’s camp smiling to the bank leaving the Jagaban camp to lick their wounds, the rest is now history.

There is no doubt that the Nigerian state is ruled by many presidents—all Buharis. From policy inconsistency to conflicting actions reminisces the Boko Haram leadership of many “Shekaus”.

First, from PMB that declared publicly that he will not interfere with the National Assembly leadership selection process, went further to send proclamation letter to declare the NA open and another PMB that sent text messages to legislators to meet him on the day principal officers’ election was suppose to hold.

Second, from PMB that admitted that a constitutional process has somewhat occurred after the election of Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate to another PMB that said he will not work with Bukola Saraki because he is corrupt.

Thirdly, from a President that sent a memo banning all public servants from medical tourism abroad to another President who travelled abroad for “mere” ear itching. The list goes on and on, but the one that interst me most is one put forward by Senator Shehu Sani “The Insecticide and deodorant approach”.

Recall Babachir David Lawal was indicted by the senate for awarding “grass cutting” contract to himself, the Shehu-Sani led committee demanded for his sack but original President Buhari set up a presidential panel led by the Attorney General of the Federation which investigated both Lawal and Magu and cleared them of any wrong doing. In fact, it lambasted the senate for not giving Lawal a fair hearing which made Senator Sani to say that the President uses deodorant for corrupt executives and uses poisonous insecticides for corrupt legislators.

Surprisingly, on Wednesday 19th April 2017 another President Buhari suspended already cleared “saint” Lawal, over the same case which “original” President Buhari acquitted him is indeed interesting.

It can be observed that after the return of Mr President from London from a medical trip, the Mamman Daura camp are losing control, the Monguno-Magu camp reinforced by the Vice-President are beginning to assert their new found authority. There is no doubt that the suspension of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF) is to pacify the Senate and mend the broken relationship between the two estranged arms of government.

The 3-man investigation panel led by the Vice President is a good step but the presence of the Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami and Mohammed Monguno left much to be desired. I think Abubakar Malami should be fired for misleading and misinforming the original Buhari.

PMB should purge his regime of all corrupt elements around him; there should be no sacred cows. Bukola Saraki once said that some persons have hijacked the Presidency and usurped the powers of President Buhari, It is obvious that the President has not been seen in public for over ten days.

Speculation has it that he is receiving medical attention, which suggests that the country is run by few cabals maybe that is why Babachir David Lawal asked “Who is the Presidency”—maybe time shall tell.

Nkem writes from Kano. He tweets @ogadinmao