Before he was sworn in as president in May 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, without prompting from anybody, publicly told his immediate and extended family members to stand back from his incoming government. He even warned that any family member who used his name to peddle influence would face dire consequences.
I was so impressed by this declaration that in my May 16, 2015 column titled “6 Reasons Why Incoming Buhari Government Fills Me with Hope,” I isolated it as one of the six reasons I thought Buhari’s administration would “represent a qualitative departure from the legalized banditry that has passed for governance in Nigeria for so long.” Specifically, I wrote: “Buhari’s symbolic but nonetheless significant gestures like telling family members to steer clear of his government and telling aides to obey traffic laws inspire me.”
It turned out that Buhari lied, as usual. 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.None at all!Buhari operates an unabashed “familocracy,” that is, a government that is run by family members for the benefit of family members.
On November 10, 2019, I used my Twitter and Facebook timelines to share the names of four biological relatives of Buhari’s who work in the Presidential Villa.However, further investigations show that there are way more relatives of Buhari’s (and Mamman Daura’s) who work in the Villa—and in the Katsina State government—than I shared.
Family members who are not directly in government are ruthlessly avaricious influence peddlers. 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.
There’s a widespread joke in Daura that goes something like, “Want to change your one thousand naira note? Go to Shaiskawa.” Shaiskawa is the part of Daura town Buhari and his relatives (or “the blood”) come from. The Buhari family members’ exhibitionistic preening of their newfound wealth is particularly amusing to Daura people because most of Buhari’s nouveau-riche relatives used to vegetate in squalid poverty up until 2015.
Here is a partial list of “the blood” who constitute the nucleus of Buhari’s familocracy. I’ve confirmed these names from multiple sources in Daura and the Presidential Villa:
- Abdulkarim Dauda. He is Buhari’s 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. He is de facto president Mamman Daura’s full biological brother. I exposed a recent secret memo that Buhari sent to the Nigeria Police (where Abdulkarim is officially employed as Commissioner of Police after three unnaturally and undeservedly rapid promotions in three years) instructing it to circumvent time-honored 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. He is Buhari’s Private Secretary. Don’t be deceived by the “Tunde” in his name. It’s just a nickname, probably inspired by Tunde Idiagbon, Buhari’s deputy when he was a military dictator. Sabiu is the son of Mamman Daura’s full biological sister by the name of Hajia Halima (more popularly known as “Hajja Madam” in Daura) who died last year. As you should know by now, Mamman Daura’s sister is Buhari’s niece since their father (Dauda Daura) is Buhari’s much older half-brother.
Sabiu, who is in his 30s, is one of the most powerful people in Nigeria today. 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. He is Senior Personal Assistant to Abba Kyari, Buhari’s Chief of Staff who is actually the de facto acting president/VP. His father, HabuKurma, is Mamman Daura’s younger brother. That means his father is Buhari’s nephew.
(The formerly unemployed husband of Fatima Mamman Daura—Mamman Daura’s favorite 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. He is 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 PA! That’s PA to the PA! Anything to keep it in “the blood.”
- Musa Musa Daura is PA to Buhari’s ADC by the name of Lt. Col. M. Lawal Abubakar. Buhari and Musa’s grandmother, Hajia Amadodo, are full siblings. Lt. Col. Lawal is also married to Musar’s full sister. It’s noteworthy that Musa’s father is the Magajin Garin Daura who was kidnaped recently.
- The House of Representatives member representing the Daura/Sandamu/MaiAdua Federal constituency by the name of Fatuhu Muhammad is the son of Buhari’s late older brother (same father, same mother) by the name of Muhammadu “Mamman” Danbafale. People in Daura told me Fatuhu, who graduated from ABU with a Third Class degree in political science in 2009, improperly rode on the coattails of his uncle to his position; they said he became the APC candidate for House of Representatives without undergoing a “proper primary” election.
He recently attracted national attention when he revealed, obviously without intending to, that the land border between Daura and Niger Republic isn’t closed, contrary to government propaganda.
- Rabiya Muhammad Daura.She has been nominated as a commissioner in Kastina State. She is the only woman in the state’s 17-member cabinet. She is the daughter of Mamman Danbafale (Buhari’s late older brother) and full sister of Fatuhu Muhammad.
- Nuhu Dauda. He is an assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, and the family’s “eye” in the ministry. He is Abdulkarim Dauda’s full brother (see number 1 above). That means he is Buhari’s nephew since his father is Buhari’s half-brother.
- Ahmed Rufa’i Zakari. He is Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure. He isn’t Buhari’s biological relative, but he is his relative by marriage and informal adoption. Ahmed’s mother is Mrs. Amina Zakari, the controversial INEC commissioner. Buhari’s older sister was married to Amina Zakari’s father, the late Alhaji Hussaini Adamu. Apart from being Buhari’s in-law, the late Hussaini Adamu also raised Buhari for some time after Buhari’s father died, so he was, in a sense, Buhari’s adoptive father.
I got at least a dozen other names of Buhari’s blood relatives who work in the Presidential Villa and in “lucrative” ministries at the federal and state levels, but I didn’t have the time—or, frankly, the inclination—to verify the information from sources before sending off this column because the point has already been made.
My whole interest in this is to record it for posterity that Nigeria 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 unparalled shamelessness.