Immediately President Buhari won the 2015 election, his nephew Mallam Mammam Daura and his coterie of friends who saw themselves as intellectuals, most of them retired journalists and educated overseas, encircled the president and blocked everyone from having access to the man. Even the likes of Governor Nasir El-Rufai and many governors in the APC were blocked from having full access. Some of these powerful people that we have come to know today as The Cabal are Mallam Mamman Daura, Buhari’s nephew who put the team together, and the team consist of Buhari’s late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Babagana Kingibe, late Isa Futua, Buhari’s Arabic and French interpreter Mr. Rufai Abubakar, who would later be made National Intelligence Agency boss in a shady way and a couple of others. These names were the few names who controlled the nation through controlling the president.
They decided who got what and what position in the Buhari administration except for the few people Buhari personally knew and insisted they are given certain positions. Aisha Buhari, the president’s wife, would confirm this in an interview in a desperate bid to save her husband’s image when things started going awry early in the administration in a BBC interview, but Buhari would hush her as naive and belonging to the other room to take care of him.
But before the cabal took over the villa after Buhari won the election, APC members from Arewa were already complaining about curtailing the influence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Yorubas of the South, considering the role the former Lagos State governor played in the emergence of President Buhari. There was talk of the South being in power for 16 years and that it is time for the the North. These are the small talks you sometimes hear among party members that later turn out to be the whole reflection of the President Buhari’s government.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu sensed the hostility from the onset and quickly withdrew back from Abuja to his turf in Lagos immediately after the inauguration of President Buhari and the dinner before he fully took over and started working. Tinubu would avoid the villa and any confrontation for 7 years. Most times when invited to Abuja he would send a representative. Some Northern governors who taught they would have access to Buhari to advise him from time to time, like Nasir El-Rufai, were denied that too, and knowing the politics of what was going on in the villa, Nasir El-Rufai kept off. Most of the governor were completely disconnected from the president. Only few governors were regular at the villa and these are the governor of Kebbi State and Kogi State that The Cabal see as no threat.
If President Buhari’s late Chief of Staff Abba Kyari and Isa Funtua are alive, if Mamman Daura is not ill and oftentimes nowadays out of the country to take care of his health, these trio would have decided who emerged as the APC presidential candidate and it would not have been Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. President Buhari was confused and remain in that Dilemma as the men who run the affairs of the nation, the brain behind this administration, died and the masterminded, Mamman Daura, couldn’t be of much help because of ill-health.
Before now there was already discussion not to handover power to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his boys. That has been why you see all the hostilities against Buhari’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. They had sensed he had ambition and giving him power would be like giving power to Tinubu. This story has been circulating years before the recent APC primaries. They were even those who advised that power should remain in the North because the North has nothing without power. All these silly talks that one hears and wave off would all play a part in the politics of the APC.
President Buhari’s search for an Abba Kyari was what led to the emergence of Abdullahi Adamu as the Chairman of the APC. The former Governor of Nassarawa State was the chief supporter of Buhari’s RUGA project and defender of the Fulani herdsmen against the farmer they kill. Senator Abdullahi Adamu was everywhere defending the herdsmen and the RUGA policy, so when Buhari insisted on not signing the electoral bill until he changes a few lines that has to do with the party autonomy to choose their leader through consensus or an election, it was clear he wanted his man to be party Chairman and Nasir El-Rufai confirmed in a recent interview, that man is no one but Abdullahi Adamu. Even before Adamu emerged, Daily Trust newspaper had carried the story of Buhari’s favourite. Abdullahi Adamu was supposed to come in and do the dirty job of installing a presidential candidate of President Buhari and the cabal’s choice, but they underestimated Jagaban.
Knowing the Northern governors who are majority in the APC were not I good terms with Aso Rock Villa, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu perched with them from the beginning. He became close to them knowing they would be the deciding factor in deciding who emerges as the presidential candidate of the party. Most megalomaniac do not have successor and Buhari does not have one but the villa were looking for someone they could control. They encouraged the Central Bank governor, Mr. Emiefele to contest, they also encouraged some of the contestants as they went shopping for Buhari’s successor after they saw Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu bulldozing his way to clinch the ticket. They couldn’t come with anyone reasonable in the end but the Senate President, Ahmed Lawal. That was the worse choice ever.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai who emerged as the man who every governor listened to that moment decided to take his revenge on the villa and convinced the governors to choose Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in a presidential primaries that showed Buhari and his wife were not happy when Tinubu emerged as president.
It is not surprising that President Buhari and the remnant of The Cabal are still bent on seeing Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu lose the election.