From Desmond Mgboh, Andy Asemota and Abdullahi Hassan, in Daura
FOR many Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari’s years in the military must have moulded him into a life of discipline and integrity that are today his greatest assets and unique selling points. Meanwhile, his relatives and kinsmen reveal the traits have been in him since childhood.
To unravel the man: Buhari, Saturday Sun sent reporters to Daura, the president’s hometown to dig out what Nigerians don’t know about their president. The revelations from his family members and kinsmen had been hidden secrets until now.
They argue that same attributes that today make Buhari the beloved of Nigerian masses have long been recognised by his family members and kinsmen during his childhood years in Daura, Katsina State. As a result, he was made the custodian of inheritance of many orphans and he never for once defaulted.
“People talk about his attitude… let me be frank with you. Buhari, right from childhood is humble, disciplined and has foresight. His advice and general contributions to our family meetings have always been positive. Because of his trustworthiness when we were younger, our parents and relations always kept orphans’ belongings, including money, in his custody, which he returned to them after they had grown older”, says Hajiya Umma Likita, who is the President’s cousin.
While portraying Buhari as a thorough family man and an advocate of justice, Hajia Likita said “In fact, we relate very well. But now that he is a President, our meetings are not as regular as it used to be. But, we still meet anytime he comes to Daura, mostly at the end of the month. We still hold our family meetings together with him. As usual, we laugh and talk and discuss issues that affect the family. On our part, as a family, we always pray for him and we will continue to pray for his success and we are appealing to Nigerians to continue to pray for him. Buhari is always standing for the poor and the rich. He believes in justice, therefore, he requires our prayer for God’s guidance.”
As Nigeria’s President, there will naturally be demands and pressures from his family and kinsmen. But Buhari’s first cousin, Malam Adnan Na Habu said the President had warned them soon after his election not to expect any ministerial or juicy appointment from his government.
His words, “You see, from the outset, after he was declared winner of the Presidential election, Buhari convened an urgent family meeting, through our family association. What he said to us during the meeting was that ‘Nobody should expect to get ministerial position or juicy post in my government just because you are from my family, but I am assuring you that I will protect your integrity and respect’. Shortly after he made this statement, I stood up to tell him that we are not after big position, but our concern is his success. ‘Nigerians expect much from you, please try and deliver.’ He was very delighted to hear this and thanked everybody.”
To maintain regular contact with his family and town, Malam Habu revealed that the President had to appoint a liason officer in Daura. “It is difficult to see him all the time, but there is our relation, called Musa Daura whom the president appointed as a liaison man. He serves as a link between the family and him. So, whoever wants to see him, but cannot go to Abuja, such a person could send whatever message he has through Musa. However, President Buhari always celebrate Sallah in Daura, He meets people and interacts with them during that occasion. Let me tell you that President Buhari has strong commitment to family relationship and values. He cherishes his family so much. He intervenes and mediates whenever and wherever there is a conflict in the family”, he stated.
While pleading for more patience and support for the Buhari-led government, Habu said “It is true that Buhari has strict principles, because he hates injustice. If you want to ignite his anger, just do anything bad. His reaction will not be favourable. So, I enjoin Nigerians to be calm and patient with the present situation. Life will be better for Nigerians in the years to come. Also people in Nigeria should support the ongoing anti-corruption crusade, especially the recovery of looted funds by past government officials and politicians. It is really a serious matter. People should not be used to castigate this administration. Nigerians voted for this government to serve them, so they should accord it all necessary support. I also want to appeal to the Judiciary to support Buhari’s administration in recovering the looted funds.”
He added that Buhari’s victory at his people. “In my position as his family memthe polls was received with mixed feelings by ber, we received the news of his victory in the election with gratitude to Allah. Honestly, much as we were happy for him and for ourselves, we equally sympathised with him. This is because of the enormous responsibility and high expectations that came with the position. You see a lot of damage has been done to this country and it would be practicably difficult for someone to overcome it within the shortest possible time. Thereafter, the family embarked on prayers for his success. You know there are many people in Nigeria today who did not believe that the past administration messed-up the country. The challenges before Buhari are enormous, and I believe he is equal to task. He will deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
Alhaji Sade Gambo is an associate of President Buhari. He described his friend as one politician who is different from those that dominate the nation’s political class. His words: “Let me tell you that, whoever knows or have heard about Muhammad Buhari in Nigeria, knows that the President is not your usual Nigerian politician. He has good principles and vision of how to develop Nigeria. I think that he reminds one of some of our past leaders, especially those we had just after independence. He is a brave man, humble and committed to the welfare of the people, irrespective of the person’s ethnic, religious or sectional background.
“We went round the country together and saw how the people supported his dream to change Nigeria to a better country. Almost every politician in Daura accepted and believed that Buhari is gifted with a sound political culture. That is why for one to win election in Daura today, you must share Buhari’s ideals and philosophy. People in Daura are very much happy with President Buhari and his achievements.
“You see, you don’t need to be told about his achievements within the last eight-nine months. Security alone is paramount in all aspects of human endeavour. During the past administration, people were not thinking of food but were thinking of how to survive. Let me tell you, in the past, going to Kano from Daura was full of uncertainties and fear due to the killings by insurgents. But now, people could travel freely without fear of any attack, be it in the morning or in the night. In short, Buhari ‘s administration has been able to restore stability in Nigeria, especially in the North. This is an important point because the protection of life and property is a cardinal function of any government. So, even the opposition party must respect and accept this reality. We are proud to have him as our son, and as an ambassador of Daura Emirate. We pray for him to succeed and to continue to save and protect Nigeria for a greater future.”