There seems to be an unending family feud in President Muhammadu Buhari’s extended family as his wife, Aisha, accused Mamman Daura of using Garba Shehu, the president’s media aid to undermine her.
The first lady disclosed that Shehu, President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on media, now takes orders from her husband’s powerful nephew, Daura.
According to a statement she signed and made available on Wednesday, Mrs. Buhari said it was Daura that ordered Shehu to issue a statement to say that the office of the First Lady had been scrapped.
“It is at this late hour that I recall, sadly, that it was the same Garba Shehu who claimed that the government will not allow the office of the First Lady to run. He was later to confirm to one of my aides that he was instructed to say so by Mamman Daura and not the President.
“This antic attracted the anger of Nigerian women. He didn’t realise the fact that [the] First Lady’s office is a tradition which has become an institution,” Aisha said.
The wife of the president further explained that when she returned from her long visit to Europe a few weeks ago, she granted an interview to NTA at the airport wherein she revealed that it was Daura’s daughter, Fatima, that leaked a video showing her protesting the excesses of the Daura family.
Mrs Buhari alleged that rather than do his job and clear the air, Shehu ensured that her media aides and NTA employees were suspended for airing the interview.
She added, “To make matters worse, Mr. Shehu has presented himself to these people as a willing tool and executioner of their antics, from the corridors of power even to the level of interfering with the family affairs of the President. This should not be so.
“The blatant meddling in the affairs of a First Lady of a country is a continuation of the prodigal actions of those that he serves. We all remember that the chief proponent appropriated to himself and his family a part of the Presidential Villa, where he stayed for almost four years and when the time came for him to leave, he orchestrated and invaded my family’s privacy through a video circulated by Mamman’s daughter, Fatima, the public was given the impression that on arrival into the country I was locked out of the villa by Mr. President.
“Garba Shehu, as Villa spokesperson, knew the truth and had the responsibility to set the records straight, but because his allegiance is somewhere else and his loyalty misplaced, he deliberately refused to clear the air and speak for the President who appointed him in the first place. Consequently, his action has shown a complete breakdown of trust between the First Family and him.
“Mr. Shehu was privy and part of the plan and its execution and he was shocked when he realised that I had publicised my return to Nigeria on October 12, 2019, and cleared the air on the many rumours that took over social media, a job he was supposed to do but kept mute to cause more confusion and instability for his principal and his family.
“Garba then, vented his anger on the NTA management, insisting that the media crew to my office must be sacked. He succeeded in getting them suspended for doing their job. I had to intervene to save the innocent staff from losing their means of livelihood by involving the Department of State Services in order to ascertain roles played by key actors in the saga.”
Mrs. Buhari, therefore, asked Shehu to resign, as his loyalty was not to the retired General but to an unelected nephew of her husband.
She said there was a ploy by Shehu and his ilk to start a smear campaign against her and her children.
Aisha added, “Today, even without a budget, I am able to run my humanitarian programmes. In saner climes, Garba Shehu would have resigned immediately after going beyond his boundaries and powers.
“Garba Shehu needs to understand that this kind of behaviour will no longer be tolerated.
“The latest of his antics was to wage a war on the First Family through an orchestrated media campaign of calumny by sponsoring pseudo accounts to write and defame my children and myself.
“Based on Garba Shehu’s misguided sense of loyalty and inability to stay true and loyal to one person or group, it has become apparent that all trust has broken down between him and my family due to the many embarrassments he has caused the Presidency and the First Family.
“We all have families to consider in our actions and therefore, it is in the best interest of all concerned for Garba Shehu to take the advice of the authority given to him sometime in the first week of November 2019.”
Aisha and the Daura family have been embroiled in what appears to be a bitter feud for some time. But the situation got worse in October when one of the Daura daughters made public an unflattering video of the First Lady, in which she appeared angry and ranted about the living conditions at the Villa.