By Chukwudi Enekwechi
To many political observers we are yet to come to terms with how the word “cabal” surreptitiously crept into our political lexicon. Whoever introduced the word in our discourse at this period of our political and economic re-engineering must be credited with the infamy of mischief making.
The absence of President Muhammadu Buhari over a period of three months afforded Nigerians an opportunity to attest to the non-existence of any cabal at the Aso Villa, as the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo acted as President without let or hindrance. So how come that barely a week after President Buhari resumed duties, the Punch newspaper once again inundated its readers with a story of the ‘side-lining’ of Osinbajo by a non-existing ‘cabal’.
While I question the veracity of the Punch report, the response by the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu is not only believable, but has further lent credence to the integrity of the Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, and by extension the President.
Mallam Abba Kyari is also reported to have declined to utilise the sum of Two Hundred Million Naira which ordinarily is due to his office. I doubt if past occupiers of the office can boast of this level of integrity and accountability in the high office.
It is also gratifying that the openness permissible in this administration has now made it possible for Nigerians to know that Professor Yemi Osinbajo is indeed the closest confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari. Perhaps this revelation by the presidential aide can put to rest the needless rumour of the existence of a ‘cabal’ in Aso Villa.
For a Chief of Staff who is continually making personal sacrifices for the successful realisation of the administration’s “change agenda”, the only deserving reward is commendation rather than derision.
It is also ridiculous that trained journalists or a media outfit will depend on unverifiable and undependable sources for stories that are in themselves questionable and outrightly false and fabricated. Or how else can one describe some reports that portray the Chief of Staff as usurping the President’s powers.
How is this possible with a consummate political leader, manager of men, and a refined Army General like President Buhari who has a knack for details? Anyway, for the benefit of the speculators and rumour mongers, President Buhari is so detailed that he cross checks all memos, statements and speeches, and “edits every single document brought to his desk’’. This assertion by Shehu is doubtless considering the rigorous trainings the President had undergone in the course of his military career and the different high administrative positions he had occupied both within and outside the country.
It is also a known fact that Mallam Abba Kyari’s non-disposition to sharing money in line with the integrity approach which President Buhari has introduced into governance has also contributed to the needless media attacks on his person.
Time has therefore come for Nigerians to come to terms with the new realities, and the most important is the determination of Mallam Abba Kyari and his principal, President Buhari to give Nigerians a purposeful leadership that is bereft of corruption and shady deals.
It is my candid view that President Buhari is resolute at rebuilding the country where all Nigerians will benefit equally, unlike our experience over a period of sixteen years when the Peoples Democratic Party administrations served the interest of the few while the country bled.
It is indeed strange that some persons will always try to be more papal than the Pope, and in the present scenario I take it that they want to arrogate to themselves the task of evaluating the President’s Chief of Staff. Obviously, this is the brief of only one person – President Muhammadu Buhari, and not the critics. It is rather disturbing that some people needlessly try to create division where none exists and the motive for this unpatriotic move is also difficult to fathom. Definitely it is not altruistic and in good faith.
Even in the case of Professor Yemi Osinbajo, President Buhari had at different fora reaffirmed his confidence in his ability to steer the ship of the State in his absence. The Vice President on his part has always demonstrated his competence, in the absence of the President, and never fails to acknowledge the good working relationship between him and his boss, President Buhari. So where the conjecture of a cabal side-lining the vice president did emanate from?
This administration will go down in history as the most selfless we have ever had, and as citizens we owe it a duty support them in the sacrifices they are making to steer the ship of state. It is a daunting task to work with the president of a big country like Nigeria that is beset with challenges of corruption, insecurity and poverty among its citizens. It needs however to be acknowledged that the sacrifices of the senior aides of the president like Abba Kyari, Femi Adesina, Garba Shehu, Alhaji Sarki and others have enabled the administration to redress the maladministration of the past. Notwithstanding the teething problems staring us in the face, today Nigerians can heave a sigh of relief that the Buhari administration is bringing succour to Nigerians.
It is the height of indiscipline and incompetence on the part of a section of the media to concoct stories aimed at maligning senior government officials simply because they are not in a position to join issues with the peddlers of such falsehood.
As professionals, journalists have a responsibility to put the interest of the nation first in their reportage as this is the only way to foster national development and cohesion, especially in this era when the Buhari administration is focused on developing all parts of the country evenly.
In the truest sense of it there is no Aso Villa cabal existing anywhere. At best it can only exist in the imagination of people who don’t mean well for the administration. Despite their misgivings the Buhari administration remains resolute at delivering democracy dividends to Nigerians and such distractions from rumour mongers, mischief makers and peddlers of falsehood should be discountenanced by well-meaning Nigerians.
Chukwudi Enekwechi, Journalist and Politician, wrote from Abuja and could be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org