To the expectant Nigerians, who invested hope, excitement and enthusiasm in President Muhammadu Buhari for a better Nigeria, it is becoming more evident that more disappointments await them. More disappointments await them because in Aso Rock, the seat of Nigerian so-called Federal Government, things are no longer at ease. Or as Chinua Achebe would probably prefer, things are falling apart going by the reports emerging from Aso Rock.
This is not the kind of news that Nigerians whose lives are on steroidized poverty, want and squalor would like to hear. It is not what his fundamentalist supporters would like to ponder. It is not the kind of thing that they would like to imagine. It is not what they would like to contemplate. It is not a dream they want to have. But this is a reality they would have to contend with because this is reportedly, happening. President Mohammadu Buhari according to concerned sources, is now a captive. He is, it seems, an unwitting but “willing” captive.
Indications are that President Buhari is no longer in charge fully. Some of his close aides would not confirm this. Those who are fully invested in this administration would not want Nigerians to hear this. This is because for good or bad, they know that the only reason the political waters of Nigeria are still calm at least to a certain degree, is that Nigerians are still holding on to hope of Buhari turning Nigerian around. But the insiders in government know that this would not be the case much longer.
Recently, the President has been unable to perform some public functions due to an “ear infection.” He recently came back from medical trip abroad as a result of this. But some inside sources are reporting that President Buhari is dealing with more than “ear infections.” President Buhari is reportedly seriously challenged. The kind of challenge with which he is inflicted is not something that his handlers and close aides would be able to sweep under the carpet for long.
At President Buhari’s age, this kind of reported challenge is not out of order. It is not uncommon for people of his age. It is not also a crime for him to be so challenged. The only problem is the impact of such a challenge on Nigeria and its governance. If the president is increasingly becoming incapable of exercising his constitutional duties then Nigerians may be back to square one. Nigerians may be back to the Musa Yar’ Adua days. Depending on which side you are, Nigerians may be in trouble or they may sing Halleluiah very soon.
It is now becoming a common occurrence for President Buhari to summon some of his Ministers or other aides and when they show up twenty five to thirty minutes later, the President would not remember that he summoned them or why he summoned them. Sources in Aso Rock and others close to Aso Rock are expressing worries about this quiet development and the impact it is having in the overall governance of the country.
What is further exacerbating the worries include the belief that a “nephew” of the president and few others comprising close family and intimate political confidants are now calling the shots most of the time. Sources in Aso Rock informed that some of the aides to the President are not able to account for some of the decisions emanating from the President’s office as the president himself might not have had any inkling about some of those decisions.
Some of the egregious decisions and actions coming from Aso Rock are being attributed to this development. Some of the sources insisted that President Buhari should not be blamed for some of the heinous decisions that are emanating from Aso Rock because of this development. But other sources are not as generous pointing to one negative controversy after the other and the tepid response of Aso Rock to them. It is the belief of the latter group that the President is even being shielded unnecessarily.
This latter group, which did not dispute the fact that the President is challenged in terms of memory, did not think his situation is that dire to the point where he is totally blobby. That access to the President has not been open in recent times has also been part of worries driving the conclusion that this clique has hijacked the Buhari’s Presidency. The fact that the President has been inviting some of his Ministers and would not remember that he invited them or why he did seems to be the reason this is becoming a sort of general knowledge.
This is Nigeria. Anything goes and anything can happen. It brings back the memories of what happened under the late President Musa Yar’Adua; so long after he was incapacitated, a clique continued to rule in his name and refusing the Constitution to be followed. Nigerians should be worried again as long as this reported situation continues to subsist. They should be very worried because this time around the crisis would constitute more threat to the polity than what obtained under late Yar’Adua.
This is more so because the Northerners are determined to hold on to power. The clique dubbed by someone as the “Daura Clique”, that is reportedly calling the shots right now are determined to carry out an agenda. Whether their agenda is what Nigeria needs right now or not is another question. They are still smarting from what happened as a result of Musa Yar’Adua’s inability to function effectively and complete his tenure. They blame that occurrence for the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Also, some of the Northern political leaders are so afraid of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. As far as they are concerned, the fear of “Jaggaban” is the beginning of political wisdom. They are vowing to the hearing of anyone who cares that they would never allow Tinubu’s stooge be in charge of Nigeria. They are determined to make sure that the “Jonathan Mistake” is NEVER repeated. They are insisting that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo “should forget it.”
Already, some of the leading lights of the Daura Clique, according to one of the sources are seeking “more aggressive” ways to seriously clip the wings of Asiwaju Tinubu before situations get to “a boiling point.” Finger is also pointed in the direction of some Yoruba politicians in President Buhari’s cabinet who are willing to collaborate and work to frustrate any emergence of VP Osinbajo as President because of their distaste for Asiwaju Tinubu.
A concerned insider who used to be a public analyst informed that the country might be headed for a serious constitutional crisis. He insisted that this would not just create constitutional crisis, it would lead to serious political challenges. “The ramifications of these events should better be imagined because no one knows how it would all end and how different parts of the country would react,” he explained.
He surmised that those who are “paying attention to the ground” know that Nigerians are not comfortable with the “way and manner” Nigerian Armed Forces “is rapidly being reorganized; or the way the police and all other security arms are being reorganized.” He describes this as “unnerving when you juxtapose this with what is going on behind the scenes.” He insisted that if President Buhari is not able to complete his term and some threats that are being made are carried out it might be difficult for Osinbajo to assume the presidency and if he did eventually, rings would be ran around him to make him malleable and caged effectively.
Another analyst did not foresee peace under an Osinbajo presidency, even if it happens. He pointed out that apart from the fact that he would be under intense pressure from the Daura Clique who would still be very upset that their man did not complete his tenure, the boiling rift between Asiwaju Tinubu and the Senate President Bukola Saraki would rear its ugly head. He postulated the possibility of a crisis that may lead to impeachment proceedings against Osinbajo, which Saraki in the earlier days of Buhari’s ascension described as “ordinary commissioner.”
This analyst went further that this may even truncate the court proceedings against Senator Saraki and there would be multifaceted crisis within the Federal Government with “different battles being fought simultaneously on different turfs.” This analyst insists that the X factor here still remains Asiwaju Tinubu and the kind of coalitions he would be able to bring about to get things under control should Buhari become constitutionally incapable as the signs are showing.
When his attention was called to the other powerful interests backing Senator Saraki secretly which includes powerful traditional rulers in the North such as the Sultan of Sokoto and the present Emir of Kano that connived with Senator Saraki to defraud the Intercontinental Bank, noting that Asiwaju Tinubu might be the X factor but what about the Y and Z factors that might be unknown now. He agreed that the situation would be very fluid and that anything could happen, if Buhari truly becomes incapable to fulfill the demands of his office.
However, one is considering the implications for 2019, should President Buhari become unable to exercise his duties as president. It points to a bloody 2019 as several others eyeing Aso Rock would be ready to fight to finish. But what is not in doubt is that interesting times are ahead of us all as Nigerians.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
– John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961
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