Four months after she granted a controversial interview to the BBC, Aisha Buhari, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari is said to be unhappy with the way some powerful government officials have restricted access to her husband. According to reports, four aides of the president control access to Buhari, who is on extended medical vacation in the UK. The aides are said to be Mamman Daura, Buhari’s nephew; Sarki Aba, senior special assistant to the president on domestic affairs; Abba Kyari, Buhari’s chief of staff; and Tunde Sabiu, personal assistant to the president. PUNCH said anyone who wants to telephone or see the president in London must get the approval of one or more of the four aides.
The only two individuals who are exempted from seeking permission to visit Buhari or call him are Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and Aisha.
Quoting a source, the newspaper said Buhari’s wife had voiced her displeasure to close friends and associates that the “cabal” she complained about were still the ones in charge of her husband in London.
The First Lady is not with him permanently in London, which should normally not be the case. She has had a few clashes with the cabal and she is not happy that they are also firmly in control in London. That’s why she goes and comes. She is not happy with the atmosphere over there,” PUNCH quoted the source as saying.
The newspaper said it gathered that these individuals have turned down numerous requests from the president’s friends, associates and members of his cabinet to see him.
Since Buhari extended his medical vacation on February 19, those who have visited him in his Abuja House residence in London include the Senate President Bukola Saraki; Ahmad Lawan, senate leader; Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives; Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Bisi Akande, former Osun state governor, and Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun state governor.
It was gathered that the visits were initiated by the guests who made requests which had to be reviewed by the president’s aides.
Daura was present during the Tinubu and Akande’s visit. Daura, who holds no political office in the present dispensation, has repeatedly been touted as the most powerful person in the present government, prompting Buhari to publicly declare late October 2016 that, ‘I’m in charge, not Mamman Daura.’
The newspaper said when it presented the names of the aides controlling access to the president, a source in the presidency confirmed the list.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the subject, said,
The names you have are accurate and they are the ones controlling access to the President in London, even in Nigeria. Some ministers, aides and service chiefs tried to talk to the President on the phone, but they turned them down.
The few people that have seen the president only saw him because they agreed to it. If they didn’t, it would never have happened, apart from Governor Amosun, who everyone knows is one of Buhari’s best friends.
The source refused to give the names of those whose requests to see Buhari were turned down.