Inside Story Of The Power-Game
When in 2014, Buhari won the presidential ticket of the APC, one of the men would could be regarded as closest to him then was Nasir El Rufai, who was to later become the Governor of Kaduna State. From the confessions of top shots in the Villa, Rufai did not contest the governorship election for nothing, they wanted him out of the way.He was set to become the Chief of Staff to Buhari. He had positioned himself and only something really big could take him.off the project hence the decision to encourage him to go for the Guber seat of Kaduna State.
They worked tirelessly to achieve this. Failure would.have meant having him in their way which would definitely have disrupted their plan. Their plan, if you must know, is to help Buhari rule by building a cirlce of influence around him. This circle, which you can easily call a mafia helps the President in deciding who gets what, where and when. They are his inner circle of friends. In years past, they easily controlled Presidents. We had the Kaduna Mafia, Langtang Mafia, Katsina Mafia. Only Obasanjo and Jonathan did not build their own inner caucus around people from their ethnic groups.
Even after Rufai was thrown to Kaduna, he still found his way regularly to the Villa. He ensured that nothing took place without his consent. He hands in major appointments including those of the then INEC boss, and the incumbent, the Chief of Staff and many ministers. He was a powerful figure in the government. That was then.
The team that sent him to Kaduna bid their time. What they wanted to avert was already happening as they wanted unfettered access with no one giving Buhari extraneous advice contrary to what they wanted him to hear or know. Along the line, Rufai’s clash with Atiku Abubakar and his tango with Sani Shehu were among other things played up. Rufai is highhanded and ambitious, they told Buhari. They also told him how the Governor had consistently betrayed those who gave him the rope to climb up.
They also.spoke on how he has paralysed the party in the state and ensured that the people who supported them to power were relegated to the background. They pointed to the fact that his desire to control everyone and everything led to the clash with Shehu Sani.
Building on this, they impressed it on the President that such men should be kept off. They were quick to point out the fact that he is ambitious and wants to run for Presidency in 2019, which was one of the allegations Shehu Sani also leveled against him. After this, Buhari we gathered was no longer as accessible to the Kaduna Governor as he was before.
To make matters worse, Shehu Sani his number one critic was welcomed in the Villa and has access to the President. The Senator’s visit was given enough publicity and hype to show the Kaduna governor that he had lost out. This was why he had to wait until the Salah homage in September last year to tell Buhari the same thing Aisha, his wife earlier said. When in January journalists confronted El Rufai over the presence of a Mafia in the Villa, he didn’t mince words. He had tasted their wrath. He acknowledged their existence and quickly retorted that he was not one of them.
What he didn’t tell the media was that he was once one of them but was ostracised due to his ambition and perceived brilliance which could frustrate their plans.
Despite their criticism and obvious inability to help Buhari in guiding the nation through the numerous crisis he met and which has remained intractable, the new Mafia in the presidency is definitely not willing to brook any opposition. Not just now.
-Bamidele Ogundana, Abuja