Is President Buhari Beginning To Walk Alone?


When the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari started in 2015, it didn't take long before rumours emerged that he had an inner caucus influencing his actions and inactions as the number one citizen of Nigeria. The inner caucus was regarded as a 'cabal'.

This isn't the first time the word 'cabal' is being used in the Nigerian political space. The term became popular during the tenure of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan when he removed the fuel subsidy on the 1st of January, 2012. It was used to describe the powerful forces that profited from the fuel subsidy regime at the expense of the masses.

A couple of names were thrown up as members of Buhari's secret cabal and they were given as Babachir Lawal (the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation), Abba Kyari (late former Chief of Staff of Buhari), and Mamman Daura who happens to be Buhari's nephew. Even though members of the public don't have concrete evidence of the cabal membership of these big figures, it was wildly believed they wielded enormous power using the influence of the president. 

Fast-forward to the year 2020, Buhari has lost two of his alleged cabal members to death while another was sacked due to alleged corruption.

Let's take a closer look at how Buhari's inner caucus became depleted within the space of five years.

Babachir Lawal

He was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. He was appointed on August 27, 2015; a key position in the administration of Buhari. According to reports, it was almost impossible to reach the president without passing through Mr. Lawal. He once admitted on a Channels TV show that he was a member of Buhari's inner caucus. In 2016, he had a squabble with the senate of the 8th assembly and he was linked with a grass-cutting scandal in the north-east. Lawal had awarded a contract worth N220 million to a company he had a stake in, a move which is against the code of conduct guiding his office. After much pressure from the general public, Lawal was suspended from office and he never returned. He was later replaced by Boss Mustapha who has remained in office ever since.

Abba Kyari

He was the Chief of Staff to Buhari. They both have a long history together. According to some sort of eulogy written by Buhari after Kyari's death, he was a loyal friend who stood by the president in all his endeavours. Kyari was alleged to be involved in a number of scandals which never made it to the courtroom. As he grew in influence, his popularity across Nigeria waned as a section of the media painted him as egotistic. Despite all the weighty allegations levelled against him, he was retained by the president and he continued to play key roles in the administration. He later contracted COVID-19 after he returned from a trip to Germany. He never recovered from the ailment. Kyari died! He was later replaced by Ibrahim Gambari.

Mallam Isa Funtua

He was also alleged to be one of the powerful forces behind the current administration, although he held no official position. Recently, a pro-democracy activist and founder of the popular online newspaper - SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore narrated how Isa Funtua led a team to negotiate with him while he was in the detention of the Department of State Security. The journalist was accused of inciting violence and encouraging civil disobedience. According to him, Funtua asked him to abandon his proposed protest for his freedom. But when he declined, he reportedly told him expressly that no one could defeat the government. Funtua's involvement in the issue which generated national interest last year indicates his importance to the Buhari administration. Last week, Funtua passed away after purportedly suffering a heart attack. As expected, Buhari mourned Funtua with another flowery note which was widely circulated in the media.

The exit of Babachir Lawal, Abba Kyari and Isa Funtua means Buhari might be having only Mamman Daura, his nephew by his side. Mamman Daura is another big man who lives in the presidential villa despite not holding any statutory position in the presidency. He has endured a frosty relationship with the First Lady, Aisha Buhari. Last year, video footage emerged of how Aisha Buhari harassed Daura's family members who were residing within the Aso Villa quarters.

From all indications, could it be said that Buhari is apparently walking alone except for the present of Mamman Daura who is reportedly very dependable?

Share your views in the comment section below and remember to share. Lets have a robust conversation on Buhari's assumed loneliness and the depletion of his cabal.

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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on Phone number: +2347053302356.
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