+How They Operate
Who are the most powerful men in the current APC? Can you take a guess? They are so close to Buhari that no decision is taken without consulting them. , They are four governors: Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, the governor of Jigawa State; Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the governor of Kebbi State, and Kayode Fayemi, the governor of Ekiti State.
To describe these four governors as the most powerful men in President Buhari’s government would not be outrageous as they are in charge of what goes on in the party. So powerful and influential are they that they plan all that will be executed in the party, APC to President and decide who gets what, within the party framework
Even all the Ministers and other governors know that they must have a warm relationship with these four governors for them to get the attention of the president. Recall that recently the President removed one of his boys, Mai Mala Buni when he thought he had betrayed him and reportedly had a sinister motive as the party caretaker chairman. No fewer than 20 Governors plotted the coup against him and it saw his temporary exit as the party Chairman. Buni mobilized his boys and changed the narrative within three days and warmed himself to President Buhari’s heart once again.
The four governors unarguably can get Buhari’s attention and ultimately influence his decisions on many things relating to party activities. Outside politics, Buni is married to Gumsu, the Daughter of late General Sani Abacha. Abacha doubles as a colleague in the military and also a very close friend of Mohammadu Buhari. Their friendship lasted up until Abacha’s death. There are also reports that Buhari is still very much close with Abacha’s family.
One of President Buhari’s key allies is also the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu. Despite increased pressure on President Buhari to probe the governor last year after the Pandora papers implicated him, Buhari trusted his loyal ally and ignored all the background talks. He has been with President Buhari since they were in the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
President Muhammadu Buhari rather extolled Governor Bagudu as a committed party man. He expressed satisfaction in the governor’s records of service to the country and the All Progressives Congress (APC), and pointed out that he has distinguished himself in his areas of responsibilities as the chairman of Progressive Governor’s forum and as a committed party member.
Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa state is another loyal party member in President Buhari’s caucus. His closeness to the President reflects in his comments most times in the media. He tells us how Buhari hardly sleeps as he thinks about Nigeria. He was the one who quelled the Buhari-Asiwaju crisis rumour. He was the person who revealed the cost of the 120km federal road project of president Buhari linking Gaya local government in Kano State and Kafin Hausa LG in Jigawa. He belongs to the clique that Buhari has literally given a free pass to see him anytime they deem necessary. He is the Chairman, Presidential Committee on Fertilizer and also the Chairman, Presidential Committee on Non-oil Revenue, and the President of the National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.
The governor from the southwest who falls into the clique of President Buhari is the former minister of mines and steel and serving governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi. For Governor Fayemi, he is more than a political ally to President Buhari. He has become more like a family friend of President Buhari. His wife, Madam Bisi Fayemi in the company of other wives of governors stormed Dubai recently to celebrate the wife of President Buhari, Aisha, on her birthday. He consults with the President on many occasions and he has never kept his relationship status with the President a secret. President Buhari once described Governor Fayemi as a good friend and an active party member who has the interest of the people a heart.
“Ekiti is lucky to have a leader like Governor Fayemi. In his last and final year as second-term governor, he has brought the State back to its glory, culture and values,” said the President
It is however important to note that these four governors did not plot their ways through the President as a collective force. Each governor enjoys his closeness with President Buhari based on the respective relationship they were able to create individually and Buhari’s discretion to determine the genuineness of their intentions.
For instance, the coup that was plotted for Governor Buni a couple of weeks ago was masterminded by two out of the four closest governors to Buhari. The cabals made up of Muhammad Badaru, Jigawa Governor; Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi Governor, and Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna governor reportedly turned their backs on Buni and plotted his eviction; a plan that eventually failed within 72 hours. It cannot be stated categorically, however, if recent events will change President Buhari’s disposition towards his governor-boys.
–Joseph Seun Emmanuel