By Fola Ojo
From the coziness and snugness of his London apartment, holidaying President Muhammadu Buhari watched the sickening siege on the National Assembly complex in Abuja as it played itself out on TV. Commandeered masked men from the Department of State Services hedged off all entrances preventing the federal lawmakers from accessing their offices. Order came from Lawan Daura, a serial breaker of commonsense rules. Daura was the man in charge at the DSS command post. The ugly event that occurred a few days ago was an affront and assault on our burgeoning democracy.
Stunning and shocking it was to the Presidency that Daura’s move was not protocoled through a supervising Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. Despite the enormous power entrusted in him through Section 145 of the Nigerian constitution, Osinbajo had no clue what was about to happen. Daura dissed the Acting President and went rabidly rogue. In government, and with overzealous security operatives who suddenly get drenched with power, this is just a horror movie replaying itself.
In 2010 when ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua was in office, his Chief of Army Staff, Abdulrahaman Dambazau, had reportedly ordered the deployment of two battalions onto Abuja streets. The same constitutional provision that gave Osinbajo legal leverage to command was also applicable to Yar’Adua’s Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan. But clearance was not sought with the Vice President. The idea behind the furtive move was to shield the return of Yar’Adua’s sick body into the country from Nigerians. Under the cover of darkness, Abuja nook and cranny were littered with soldiers armed to the teeth.
Government apparatuses in Nigeria are run in shrivelled caucuses and cabal assemblages. Daura as the DSS supremo was a member of the powerful cabal in Buhari’s government. He did not just wake up after drinking a bowl of fura-de-nunu ordering tanks and men to the entrance of the National Assembly without the know of a few concurring fellas in government who believe they are bigger than the man who is acting as President. Daura was sneaked into Buhari’s government by the very powerful member of the cabal, Mamman Daura, who has the ears of the President 24/7. Cabals always believe that they are more relevant to the Presidency than the Acting President. Aren’t they?
Osinbajo wasn’t having the nauseating behaviour of a man who took his diminutive bodily size and humility for granted. He gave Daura the boots. It took immediate effect. Are you shocked? No, not me. But the Acting President had once told us publicly about his disciplining style. Erring government employees under his authority can’t get away with infractions. He has done in times past what he just did in the Presidency. On Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at the 21st National Economic Summit in Abuja, the Vice President had forewarned about lawlessness and sacred-cow stinking thinking of some administration personnel. “…I find that everybody will like the rules to be applied so long as it will not apply to himself. We can’t apply the rules except we apply the rules to all of us; there should be no sacred cows… I’ve had the experience in public service and don’t mind being the tough guy. I’ve sacked people that needed to be sacked. So, there are no sacred cows. The rules will be applied anyway”, Osinbajo said. It was obvious that nobody, especially the likes of Daura and members of his cabal, took the VP seriously.
Big men and women occupying big positions in Nigeria are wont to sidestepping legal authorities and embracing their artificially scripted power cliques to carry out moves that suit only their worldviews and agenda, but not the law. It is the cabal mentality. With a cabal mentality, a few men in top positions believe they are next to the President in hierarchy, or even more powerful than the man who appointed them. These analphabetic security operatives and occupiers of powerful positions think they are the law that must be obeyed.
From the outset of the Buhari administration, the cabal has operated on the upwardly wayward swing. It was the enormous pressure from the cabal that pushed the President to end counting on major collaborations with men and women on whose back he rode to power in 2015. It was the cabal that shoved a wedge between the President and the APC South-West big-wig, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The former Lagos State Governor was pushed and shoved aside for fear of the possibility of wielding too much power. But a voice of reason from First Lady Aisha Buhari intervened. “We will not be talking about my husband becoming the president if not for Governor Tinubu”, she had once said in a public forum. Suddenly, on Tuesday July 14, 2015, Tinubu showed up in Aso Rock to break the Ramadan fast with the President. He denied any rift. We knew there was one, the handiwork of the electorally valueless cabal. Aisha too raised some dust about the cabal characters who have hijacked her husband. They control plum slots in government but never lifted a finger to make Buhari President. It was the cabal that was responsible for tearing up the list of ambassadorial nominees from state governors and party men across the nation replacing it with one full of their cronies in the extended cabal kingdom.
Cabals are no respecter of persons. They think the world is in their hands and the buck stops with them. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, David Babachir, once asked Nigerians; “Who is the Presidency?” That’s the cabal mentality. Men who were not voted for seem to be in charge of Nigeria today. They are fully entrenched in the spine of Nigeria’s government. To the cabal, men with solutions to Nigeria’s problems are the problems. Buhari’s main problem now is the cabal of self-serving corn artists who yield to no voice of reason.
The President obviously trusts these people. But If you trust your enemies with your life and living, one day, they will thrust you into obfuscation and obliteration. If you trust them with your business, one day, they will thrust you out of business and into beggary. Granting members of the cabal too much freehand and freedom to operate in government is a political personality disorder. Mr. President is either snacking in naivety or grinding in gullibility. Cabals pursue no other agenda but their selfish own.
On June 12, 2015, in my article on this page titled, “Mr President, you are holding the tiger by the tail, I forewarned Mr. President. I sounded an alarm about the attitude of belonging to nobody and hanging with everybody. I warned about Bukola Saraki. Today, the chicken has come home to roost. The evil of today is always in constant rassle and tussle with the good of the present. In Nigeria, the evil of today is in our National Assembly. Our sitting and sinning senators invoke the spirit of the law when convenient; but legislative depravity and lawlessness run in their veins and arteries. There are many people in working relationships with Mr. President who have only come to steal, kill, and destroy. Lawan Daura may be gone, but there are still many ‘Dauras’ yet untouched.
Fola Ojo tweets from @folaojotweet