President Muhammadu Buhari likes to front as an anti-corruption crusader. And he has fooled many Nigerians with that act.
However, his son, Yusuf’s high-rolling belies Buhari the elder’s anti-corruption credentials. As a recent graduate from the University of Surrey with no discernible source of income, the younger Buhari would struggle to explain his millionaire playboy lifestyle.
He sustained serious injuries when he crashed a motorbike in December last year. It was reportedly a BMW “powerbike” worth $157,000. Buhari was first treated in an Abuja hospital and then smuggled abroad, allegedly in Germany, for treatment under cloak and dagger.
He returned last week, fully recovered, and one Nigerian online organ claimed that the treatment cost €5m. Once again, there has been no explanation where the money came from. Yusuf allegedly flew into Nigeria from London Heathrow and a regular commercial flight was not good enough for him. He is believed to have hired a private jet – a Bombardier Global Express Jet available for £125,000 – for the six-hour trip to Abuja.
All this is in stark contrast to all that President Buhari claims he stands for. He railed against medical tourism while running for president – but for a good part of last year, the president was in London receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness at undisclosed costs to the Nigerian treasury. The president also knocked the use of private jets by public officials and promised to sell off most the presidential fleet of jets. After much fanfare about putting some of the jets for sale, nothing was heard since.
We reported several months ago about Yusuf’s business ventures, most likely trading off the back of his father’s presidency.
Many Nigerian voters bought into the incorruptible mythology about Buhari over three years ago. Many of them considered him different from the venal political class and believed in his rhetoric, including the claim that he had to borrow money to pay for his presidential nomination form. A few years into his reign, with ostentation from the likes of his son that would put Marie Antoinette to shame, even the most deluded among Buhari’s supporters must be waking up to the reality of the president’s hypocrisy.