Last week, a short video of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, fuming about the treatment melted out to her for whatever reason trended. It was assumed then that the First Lady was kept in check by security agents to prevent her from attending cum disrupting the widely publicized wedding of President Muhammadu Buhari to one of his ministers. The wedding didn’t take place, at least, as we were told.
At the time the video was trending, the First Lady was out of the country. There were insinuations in some quarters that a cabal, supposedly led by Mamman Daura, forced the move that seemed to alienate the First Lady from the Seat of Power. Arguably as a save-face move, the First Lady was hurriedly brought back into the country few days after the video became a subject of public discourse.
Reacting on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Aisha Buhari said “The video was an old video, it was me. Actually, it happened in the Villa under the supervision of my security officers right behind me if you look at the video. But they failed to do anything about it because it was Mamman Daura’s daughter, Fatima, that videoed me. So, both me and the security, our hands were tied to do anything, and it continues like that..…”
This statement by the First Lady leaves no doubt about how much influence Mamman Daura wields, even over the First Family. To whom is the allegiance of our security formations? Who exactly is Mamman Daura in the political machination of Nigeria, save his relationship with Buhari? Do things like this happen in a true democracy with respect to the rule of Law, and in the 21st century?
True, world leaders have confidants who may not be political office holders, yet are influential. They go about it in a way it doesn’t affect the organized workings of government, unlike Nigeria. Imagine Mamman Daura’s daughter holding a First Lady ‘captive’!
During her interview on BBC, Fatima, obviously trying to tell her own side of the First Lady’s give at the Airport said “My name is Fatima. I am a daughter to Mallam Mamman Daura. If one reasons well, one will understand that it is not possible to say that the wife of the President is denied access to her apartment but let me give a context. The apartment in question is called the Glass House. You know that there are several houses and apartments in the Villa. When the President got into office, he gave the Glass House to our father, Mamman Daura. You all know that they are friends and are related, more so, they grew up together like twins. When he became President, he gave the Glass House to our dad and said he should stay there. Our dad stayed there for three years now until when the President’s son, Yusuf, had an accident and went to Germany for treatment.”
What right! The entitlement in her speech is top-notch. To her, the place in question ‘belonged’ to her father. But, in what capacity? As the President’s relative? This is a President who, in a bid to tell us how much he’d cut the cost of running the Presidency, said even the Office of the First Lady wouldn’t be dignified. Obviously, he had backtracked on that with the appointment of Special Advisers to the Office of the First Lady earlier this week.
How long are we going to disregard constitution-backed dictates for the selfish and self-centered wishes of a few? Who’s afraid of Mamman Daura? Why do people fear him so much? Is he truly the de-facto President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? How much of this would we take before we begin to self-destruct? Time will tell.