Someone should please ask the first family to keep Yusuf Buhari away from the Presidential Villa in this period of recuperation. It is clear to me now more than ever before that there is something uncanny about that part of the country.
I have no reason to rejoice over the young man’s motorbike crash, he is not responsible for what the country is going through. And I must give it to President Muhammadu Buhari, his family is not as power drunk as some of those before him.
If there is one man who is in control of his household, it is Buhari. There were rulers whose sons were even more powerful than their deputies. Some First Ladies wielded more power than their husbands. Mrs Aisha Buhari does not, in anyway, dictate to her husband. The only part of the President I do not like is his leadership style.
It has not come to my knowledge that Yusuf Buhari carries himself like a king. There is no record to show that he awards contracts to his friends. I doubt if the young man parties around the world, from Abuja to Abu Dhabi. This one appears to be a focused being awaiting a bright future.
Some blame President Buhari for making official trips with his son. That is no point. President Jimmy Carter was in Nigeria over 40 years ago with his daughter, Amy. President Bill Clinton visited Abuja in 2000 with his daughter, Chelsea, while we all applauded.
Aso Villa has become a mystery. I do not know what happened. Aso in Gwari means victory. There is no evidence to show that the man who founded Abuja, Abu Jatau, an Hausa Prince from Zaria, established a shrine anywhere around Asokoro, the Gwari word for People of Victory.
Abuja has become a bloody place for our leaders. Let us go back to the Maj. Gen. Buhari coup of 1983 that sacked President Shehu Shagari. One of those behind it, Brig. Ibrahim Ahmadu Bako, was killed in the process. There are conflicting accounts of how he died.
One account says Bako’s father was close to President Shagari, so the officer wanted to keep him from harm’s way. In the bid to effect the arrest, Bako was ambushed by the Brigade of Guards led by Captain Austine Anyogo and shot dead. Apparently, the Guards Commander, Brigadier Mohammed Bello Kaliel, moved faster than the plotters.
There is another version that Bako could have been killed by friendly fire. Probably, some of his fellow officers did not want to take chances. They feared that if Bako had soft spot for Shagari, it could affect the outcome of the coup.
President Shagari lived in Dodan Barracks, Lagos and was only In Abuja to spend the end of year holidays. In other words, the very first time a President passed the night in Abuja, he ended up losing his job. Buhari did not bother to operate from Abuja.
President Ibrahim Babangida tried the Abuja movement in 1986. He relocated to the new Federal Capital Territory for the country’s 26th Independence Anniversary celebrations. His Deputy, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, did not like the untidy arrangement. He chose to stay away while IBB appeared in the white uniform of a Navy Rear Admiral. Ukiwe lost his job.
On December 12, 1991, Babangida finally moved Lagos to Abuja. He had hosted African leaders in July and thought the place was safer especially after the Gideon Orkar Coup of April 1990. In three years, Nigeria was so hot that he stepped aside.
Chief Ernest Shonekan was not accepted from the day he succeeded IBB. There was a court ruling declaring his tenure illegal. Gen. Sani Abacha was going to kick him if the former UAC boss refused to yield to Col. Lawan Gwadabe. In three months , it was all over.
Abacha got a full dose of the Aso Villa Curse. In January 1996, his first son, Ibrahim, died in a plane crash with his friends, Julie-Anne Modupe Osholukoya, Bello Dangote, Omieba Dan Princewill and 11 others. Abacha also died in the Villa in 1998.
Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar was lucky but while he lived in the Villa, Chief Moshood Abiola died drinking tea. IBB annulled the June 12 Election results. Abacha detained Abiola. It was under Abdusalam that the man died.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo lost his wife, Stella, while they lived in the Villa. President Umaru Yar’adua did not leave the Villa alive. That was how Vice President Goodluck Jonathan mounted the podium.
Goodluck was not so lucky. On November 22, 2012, the day he turned 50, his brother, Meni, died. That was when , First Lady, Patience, was recuperating from a series of surgeries in Germany. The day she planned a Thanksgiving was the day Kaduna governor, Patrick Yakowa, died in a chopper crash with General Owoye Azazi. And the pilot of the helicopter bore same name as Gen. Murtala Mohammed, the leader who began the Abuja change.
Reuben Abati says strange things happen. I still feel for Femi Adesina who lost his Professor sister in a car crash the year he relocated to Aso Villa.
I think I have to contact John and Anne Spencer who authored ‘ The Encyclopedia of the World’s Greatest Unsolved Mysteries’. They should add Aso Villa. And if I were Mrs Buhari, I would not keep my family there anymore.