14 June 2019
Fear and loathing lurk around officials in the corridors and offices of Nigeria’s sprawling presidential villa at Aso Rock in Abuja as President Muhammadu Buhari eases himself into his second term in office, which officially started on 29 May.
A senior member of staff at the “Villa” revealed to Naijiant.com what life is like working in the Presidency. He said “Buhari is angry with the staff and he is a sadist”. The president lost to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar in Abuja during February’s presidential (s)election and even lost in the ward that includes the presidential villa.
Since his return to office, the source said many colleagues have gone “missing” – either redeployed elsewhere in the civil service or sacked in a fit of vindictiveness on suspicion of not voting for Buhari. Every person that works there is dreading what will happen next, including vice president Yemi Osinbajo.
Osinbajo was described by the source as “afraid” and being “treated like a cockroach” by the president and his cronies. The nominal Number Two has no say in how the country is being run and is just keeping his head down and doing as he is told.
According to the source, the president hardly leaves his living quarters and doesn’t bother coming to work. Anything requiring his signature is taken over to the residential zone for him to sign. The source claimed that Buhari signs stuff without reading it. The president is also said to have little interest in the affairs of state.
Just like when he first came into power in 2015, Buhari is in no hurry to appoint ministers, address Nigeria’s multiple problems and show any direction in terms of policy initiatives. He has left permanent secretaries to run their ministries, while his chief of staff Abba Kyari runs the country. The source said that the permanent secretaries “don’t do anything, attend endless meetings with no agenda, or programme for action”, and “things are just drifting”.
The president doesn’t seem to care as he is constitutionally restricted to two terms in office. The source predicted that Buhari’s party the All Progressives Congress (APC) will “collapse” at the end of the president’s second term in 2023.