In what looks like an end to years of trust, reliance and loyalty, the chummy relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and his nephew, Tunde Sabiu, who also served as his Personal Assistant, ended a few days ago, with the redeployment of the influential aide from the nation’s seat of power to one of the security agencies on secondment.
Though no reason has been given for the removal of the man, who was until his removal, believed to be one of the most influential men behind the throne, a source in the presidency has however confirmed that his exit may not be unconnected with excessive power and his link to various corruption practices.
According to the source, since the death of the late Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, many reports have been brought to Buhari’s notice concerning Sabiu, especially about the stupendous wealth and powermonger of a man many people describe as ‘Mr. fix it’.
As the go-to-person in the presidency, Sabiu was said to have been so powerful that he appointed ministers and recommended politicians to head top agencies in the last five years.
A case study was the appointment of the current Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, who was said to have been singlehandedly ‘anointed’ by Sabiu while APC Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the late Oyo State Governor, Abiola AjImobi, were looking elsewhere. Another instance was when the former presidential aide pushed his father-in-law, Dr. Bashir Jamoh to become the Managing Director of NIMASA.
Jamoh replaced Rivers State’s politician, Dakuku Peterside. Also, Sabiu was believed to have been largely responsible for the appointment of Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, SAN.
However, Peterside’s exit from the office was reported to have so much angered his leader and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, that he drew battle line with Sabiu. Rather than appeased Amaechi, who was believed to be another power broker in the presidency, Buhari’s nephew simply wielded his big stick by making sure Amaechi did not have unbridled access to President Buhari as he used to have.
Three years ago, at his wedding in Kaduna, Sabiu lived up to expectation as one of the ‘brainboxes’ of the Abuja cabal, when he temporarily shifted national attention to the northwest state.
In appreciation of his ‘good’ gesture, businessmen, top government officials, and other favour seekers presented cash, exotic cars, and electronic items to the newly wedded.
Two months ago, the country woke up to the news of the roforofo fight between Mallam Sabiu and the First Lady, Aishat Buhari, which led to the redeployment of some aides of Mrs. Buhari. As at the time of filing this story, the sack still remains like a mystery to those who understand the politics of Nigeria’s Seat of Power.