The most important news story in the Nigerian press of the last five years was published last week. But it was neither news, nor story.
It didn’t make the front page.
It was not written by a reporter.
It was not written in Nigeria.
Farooq Kperogi’s “Government of Buhari’s Family, By His Family, and For His Family” was diligently written in Georgia, in the United States. That is: the story, with its challenging eye for detail, was reported by a teacher and writer who lives thousands of miles away across the Atlantic.
Not by a reporter in Daura or Abuja or even Lagos. Not by an editor in Lagos or Jos or Katsina. As federal governance rots in *the sewers of Buhari’s nepotism* in Nigeria, the local press appears to think that the stench is perfectly in order.
Mercifully, Professor Kperogi defied the odds, and his seminal story was published in Ibadan by the Nigerian Tribune in his weekly back page tour de force.
It was there that he unveiled the scandalous story of Nigeria’s baseline shame: *how a man who took power to an international round of applause for “character,” has become the champion of the deepest, saddest symbol of ethical decay or ruthlessness*.
It is over one week since the story was published. In summary, it recalled that ahead of taking office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari had declared that his family members would not participate in his government, warning them not to use his name to peddle influence.
It was a moment of hope that Kperogi immortalized in his column.
But fast-forward to 2019, and the professor wrote last Saturday: *“There is no equivalent in Nigeria’s 59-year history for the height, depth, breadth, and width of his family members’ offensively brash influence peddling and direct involvement with and in his government.”*
While he had previously written about four members of Mr Buhari’s family who work in the presidential villa, Buhari’s onslaught on the buffet of power is so atrocious the writer called it a “familocracy,” that is: “a government that is run by family members for the benefit of family members.”
“Even Buhari family members who are not directly in government are ruthlessly avaricious influence peddlers,” he wrote. “There is no Buhari relative today, in and out of government, who isn’t a multi-millionaire. In Daura, they are called “the blood.” They are tastelessly showy and egotistical. They ride the biggest and most expensive cars, own the choicest houses in town, and ride roughshod over people less fortunate than they are.”
Here are the first five of the nine entries in his listed nucleus of the “familocracy”:
Abdulkarim Dauda, Buhari’s nephew and Personal Chief Security Officer (PCSO). “Like Mamman Daura, he is Buhari’s nephew. His father, Dauda Daura, is Buhari’s half-brother from the same father…(and a recent secret memo from Buhari to the Nigeria Police instructs the force)“to circumvent time-honoured public service rules and extend his service till 2023 even though he should have retired this year on account of being in service for 35 years.”
Sabiu “Tunde” Yusuf, the son of Mamman Daura’s sister and Buhari’s Private Secretary. “He determines who sees and who doesn’t see Buhari. Only Mamman Daura and Abba Kyari can overrule him. By several accounts, he is now a multi-billionaire, although he had no formal work experience before Buhari became president. He used to sell phone recharge cards in Daura until 2015!”
Dauda “Zeze” Habu, the Senior Personal Assistant to Abba Kyari, whose father is Buhari’s nephew. Kperogi notes: “The formerly unemployed husband of Fatima Mamman Daura—Mamman Daura’s favourite daughter— is also Abba Kyari’s PA. Fatima, too, is now a director in the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development and actually runs the ministry.”
Musa Haro, PA (Domestic Affairs) to Buhari. “His mother, Hajia Kwalla, is Buhari’s biological sister. Hajia Kwalla is a twin. Her twin sister is called Hajia Amadodo. Musa appointed his brother, Hamisu Haro, as his his PA! That’s a PA to the PA!”
Musa Musa Daura (known more popularly as “Musa Terror”), PA to Buhari’s ADC, Lt. Col. M. Lawal Abubakar. “Buhari and Musa Terror’s grandmother, Hajia Amadodo, are full siblings. Lt. Col. Lawal is also married to Musa Terror’s full sister. It’s noteworthy that Musa Terror’s father is the Magajin Garin Daura who was kidnapped recently.”
Beyond Kperogi’s new entries on this list of infamy, he said he had “at least a dozen” other names of the Nigeria ruler’s blood relatives who work in the Presidential Villa and in “lucrative” ministries at the federal and state levels he didn’t bother verify, the point having been made.
He concluded: “My whole interest in this is to record it for posterity that Nigeria once had a “president” by the name of Muhammadu Buhari who gratuitously promised that his nuclear and extended family members would never participate in his government but *who turned out to be the most nepotistic leader Nigeria ever had*; who perpetrated familocratic excesses with both reckless impunity and unparalleled shamelessness.”
Kperogi is not the first to attempt to substantiate allegations of nepotism against the Nigeria leader. Almost every list of appointments Buhari publishes contains graphic evidence of this tragic outrage that was never expected from a former military chief.
Buhari’s government is a loud, boisterous one. It responds with a sharp elbow to every passing fly or bee. In the past week, however, this story was met only with deep silence.
No official popped out from anywhere *to contradict the report in whole, on in part*. Nobody in the presidency challenged the professor’s upbringing or the authenticity of his academic laurels. No official wore a mask on Twitter to propose his hanging for “hate speech.”
That is an admission of guilt; indeed, an acceptance that with Buhari, “familocracy” is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a confession that having taking power, he did choose family and self over his country and his oath of office.
But this is not a victimless crime, even if government officials, driven by cowardice or self-interest, choose to pretend differently.
It is similarly of deep concern that the Nigerian media is either pretending that this shameless policy does not exist. Some media organs and personnel are guilty of complicity, preferring the exchange rate of silence for advertising thrift, political lebensraum, or both.
But it is a lose-lose gamble: Buhari uses power to propagate and prosper his family and self (someone recently joked that *the only thing that has improved in Nigeria in the last four years is Buhari’s health*), a practice which constricts the opportunities available to those outside it and frustrates national policies…about which we then write hypocritical and meaningless opinions.
Little wonder now that Buhari’s performance as president is now limited to bluster, obituary notices and international travel. The Buhari who bragged or pretended he knew the way has surrendered to an impostor whose only regret may be that the PDP did not construct an airport in Daura so he can fly directly to London.
But here is a joke: “If Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria!”
[1st December 2019]