By Emmanuel Aziken
The revelation that President Muhammadu Buhari for the second time in as many weeks did not appear for the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC last Wednesday, had been set to upstage every other news item for the day and the coming weekend.
The expected controversy was despite the spin of his media managers that no FEC meeting had been fixed for that day.
However, for critical chroniclers of the Buhari presidency, the cancellation only helped to fan the narrative of a president in ill-health.
For a president who has graced only one public event since his return from a nearly two-month medical vacation, and who has not stepped out of the presidential villa in one month, the abrupt cancellation of the FEC meeting could only have served as fodder for critics who claim that his ill-health has become a burden on himself and the nation.
Irrespective of the fact that every man is fallible to ill-health, presidential minders were of course troubled by the fact that the president’s ill-health could translate to his political ill-health and eventually, the destabilization of the cabal.
However, before journalists and political pundits could settle down to sound off the implications of the cancellation of the FEC meeting, the cabal responded with the extraordinary news that inevitably derailed seemingly mischievous journalists and pundits from their tracks.
The suspension of the powerful
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir David Lawal and the director-general of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke completely blanked out news of the failed FEC meeting and any conjectures on the health of the president. With that, any doubt of the president being infirm was temporarily buried as friends and foes of the president reached the uncommon conclusion that Buhari was back!
BD Lawal as he is popularly known within political circles, in the opinion of some folks was turned into a sacrificial lamb, having perfectly executed the political agenda of consolidating the new power bloc that emerged after the election of 2015.
Unlike many in the cabal and in government, BD had played his politics almost consistently along with Buhari and moved with him from the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP through the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC to the now ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. He is, perhaps one out of very, very few now in the top echelons of government that has never been in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Indeed, in the days of Buhari’s political wilderness, he was a state coordinator of TBO, (The Buhari Organisation) as the engine room of Buhari’s political platform was so called before the formation of the CPC.
It was perhaps his consistency with Buhari that turned him into a veritable weapon for the decimation of Buhari’s political rivals in the Northeast prior to the APC presidential primary. How he became national vice-chairman of the APC, Northeast was not because of any extra-ordinary political achievement of his, but mainly on account of the goodwill, he had from Buhari. He used that position firmly to project Buhari at the expense of Atiku Abubakar whose rivalry with Buhari for the APC ticket he saw as an irritation.
His appointment as SGF in 2015, the first Northern Christian to hold that position, it was reasoned, was calculated to shut out Atiku from any position in the APC, especially chairmanship of the Board of Trustees, BoT of the APC. With BD as SGF, Atiku haters said it was illogical to make another Adamawa person chairman of BoT.
It was not surprising that the rivalry between BD and Atiku eventually spread to the governor of Adamawa State, Senator Jibrilla Bindow who is generally considered to be a loyalist of Atiku. When Alhaji Abdulrahman Abba Jimeta, the Chief of Staff to Governor Bindow, earlier this month threatened that the governor would leave the party, everybody knew that he spoke in reference to what people saw as the apparent high-handedness of the Abuja group led by BD against the interests of the governor.
As SGF, BD was the clearing house for federal appointments and it was not surprising that Governor Bindow and his associates came out short.
Though a certified Christian theologian, his brusque tendencies, however, often put off many possible friends, especially after he entered government. Many saw him as rude. It was perhaps a fallout of his education as a pupil at the Nigeria Military School, Zaria where he had his secondary education.
His reaction to his Senate indictment was typical BD. Balderdash! His reaction to his suspension was in like manner. “Who is the presidency?” he blurted out to State House correspondents last Wednesday. Now he knows, the presidency is not BD!