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The real President of Nigeria

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Premium Times’ February 17 unmasking of National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno’s secret memo, which revealed that Abba Kyari, Buhari’s Chief of State, exercises presidential powers on Buhari’s behalf, is only the official confirmation of what I have written in many columns and social media updates in the past two years.

The truth is that Buhari has no cognitive, emotional, physical, not to mention intellectual, capacity to be president. And, since nature abhors a vacuum, Abba Kyari has filled the void that Buhari’s emptiness has created.

Sometime in the midpoint of last year, a northern retired general told me Abba Kyari said in private that people who vilify him don’t realize that without him Nigeria would be rudderless and descend into chaos.

He is probably right. When a man who fancies himself as “president” is so wracked by dementia and cognitive decline that he can’t hold a meeting for more than 10 minutes, has lost the ability to follow conversations in a meeting, and has zero short-term memory, someone needs to act on his behalf.

That Buhari is almost wholly emotionally and intellectually dependent on Abba Kyari is no secret in Aso Villa, but it came out in the open when Buhari himself publicly told his newly appointed ministers that Abba Kyari is the only way to him. In any case, most of the ministers were appointed by Abba Kyari.

That Buhari is almost wholly emotionally and intellectually dependent on Abba Kyari is no secret in Aso Villa, but it came out in the open when Buhari himself publicly told his newly appointed ministers that Abba Kyari is the only way to him. In any case, most of the ministers were appointed by Abba Kyari.

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Kyari also made—and continues to make— some of the most consequential appointments of the last five years. For instance, he singlehandedly appointed INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu, DG of DSS Yusuf Magaji Bichi, and CJN Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, among others too numerous to mention.

That was why Kyari could summon INEC chairman Yakubu to the Presidential Villa on October 26, 2018 to instruct him on how to conduct the forthcoming elections. As I wrote in my January 5, 2019 column titled, “INEC’s Troubling Missteps Amid Aso Rock’s Desperation,” what happened on October 26, 2018 had no precedent.

“The Chief of Staff to the President is not a constitutionally recognized position,” I wrote. “He has no legal powers to summon the INEC boss for a meeting.” Of course, I knew that Yakubu was beholden to Kyari because he owes his position to him.

Kyari rode to his current cushy surrogate presidency through Mamman Daura, Buhari’s nephew, who has been Buhari’s link to the northern political mafia and to transnational financial transactions since 1983.

In researching the genealogy and rhetorical techniques of Nigerian crime syndicates for a book I am working on, I came across an insightful 2016 book by Professor Stephen Ellis titled “This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organized Crime,” which spells out the link between Mamman Daura and Buhari.

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On page 132 of the book, which was published by Oxford University Press, Ellis writes: “The Kaduna Mafia is said to have ‘dictated to President Shehu Shagari how Nigeria should be managed’ during his tenure from 1979 to 1983….Buhari’s main connection to this group was through his nephew (although slightly older), Mamman Daura.

“Mamman Daura became a director of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which set up shop in Nigeria in 1979 and became the favourite bank of the ruling group, performing all manner of illegal transactions on behalf of its elite clients.” Daura became director of the defunct Karachi- and London-based BCCI through his father-in-law, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, who had controlling shares in the bank’s Nigerian branch.

Note that, according to Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin in their 1992 book titled “False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, The World’s Most Corrupt Financial Empire,” BCCI was a sensationally fraudulent bank that engaged in high-profile transnational money laundering, including for dictators such as Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, and Samuel Doe.

The Washington Monthly magazine, in a September 4, 2004 investigation titled “Follow the Money: How John Kerry busted the terrorists’ favourite bank,” also found that BCCI laundered money for such criminal corporations as the Medellin Cartel and Abu Nidal and for terrorist kingpins like Osama bin Laden. In fact, Washington Monthly quoted a senior U.S. investigator to have said, “BCCI was the mother and father of terrorist financing operations.”

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