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Buhari’s House of Commotion and Mamman Daura’s “Glass House”

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D. Twitter: @farooqkperogi A few days before it became grist for Nigeria’s overactive social media rumor mil...

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

A few days before it became grist for Nigeria’s overactive social media rumor mills, a retired general and contemporary of Muhammadu Buhari’s told me, in the course of a 30-minute phone conversation, that Mamman Daura, Buhari’s nephew who is nonetheless older than him by three years, had made up his mind to “get at” Aisha Buhari by arranging a quiet marriage between Humanitarian Affairs Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq and Muhammadu Buhari.

He mentioned this as an aside and seemed to expect me to be curious enough about what he had told me to ask further questions. But I didn’t. That appeared to have shocked him, so he asked why I wasn’t piqued by what he had told me. I said it was because it frankly didn’t interest me what Buhari did in his private space.

I'm by no means claiming any moral high grounds here. I think it’s legitimate to be curious about the private lives of public officials whose decisions have consequences for millions of people, but that’s not my own inclination. I care about the private affairs of public officials only if their private affairs impinge on public policy.

That was why, in spite of pressures from friends and social media followers, I kept a studied silence on the social media frenzy over this issue. As I told the general, it means nothing to me that “Buhari has been dating Sadiya since CPC [Congress for Progressive Change] days”; that’s his private business, which, in my opinion, we should be decent enough to respect.

I'm more worried, I told him, by the fact that Sadiya Umar Farouq is minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development even when, according to a two-year-old Daily Nigerian investigation titled “INVESTIGATION: Unmasking the real #Dabinogate beneficiaries,” she allegedly diverted and misappropriated 200 tonnes of date palms (dabino) famously donated to internally displaced persons in the northeast by the Saudi Arabian government in 2017.

She was Federal Commissioner in charge of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons at the time. According to the Daily Nigerian, she “diverted [the 200 tonnes of date palms] to Zamfara State and kept [them] in a warehouse, while the rest was distributed to traditional rulers.”

To steal from humanitarian donations to poor, vulnerable internally displaced people is the vilest, most ignoble, least defensible form of villainy there can ever be. But Buhari has rewarded her eye-wateringly larcenous treachery with an appointment as minister of—of all ministries— Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, a previously non-existent ministry!

 Why would anyone create a ministry of “humanitarian affairs” and “disaster management” for a person who has a history of insensate cruelty toward people who are victims of disasters and who desperately need but have lacked humanitarian assistance? It’s like appointing a wolf to keep guard over sheep.

Curiously, Nigerians are more interested in her history of alleged romantic entanglements with Buhari (which should be no one’s business) than the fact of her heading a ministry which her past eminently disqualifies her for.

Anyway, why have I chosen to comment on the embarrassing public fight by Buhari’s obviously dysfunctional family even when I initially had no interest in it? Well, it’s because the way Buhari manages— or, more appropriately, mismanages—his immediate family provides insightful clues to how he “ungoverns” Nigeria.

Buhari is a feeble, indecisive, infirm, emotionally dependent person for whom the idea of taking responsibility is alien. People who know him intimately have told me that his psychological and emotional makeup is unsuited for leadership. He is not only a loner; he always relies on others to take decisions for him.

People close to him have told me long before now that Buhari has an innately and enduringly infantile craving for a paternal dictatorship. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the fact that he lost his father at an early age and didn’t quite experience sustained paternal guidance. But Mamman Daura has been Buhari’s emotional and intellectual fortress and his father figure, although they are only about three years apart in age. Daura makes momentous decisions for Buhari and rules on his behalf through Abba Kyari, his protégé.

Mamman Daura is the first son of Buhari’s oldest half-brother from a different mother. That makes Buhari his uncle, and him Buhari’s nephew. Many people, particularly from the South, have a hard time wrapping their heads around this. Well, I have a similar situation. My late father married a younger woman and had his last child when he was 80, so my first daughter is older than my youngest half-brother. My daughter still struggles to call him her uncle.

This is important because Mamman Daura and his sidekick Abba Kyari are the power behind the throne. They constitute the nucleus of the ill-famed Aso Rock cabal that acts as Buhari’s puppeteers. In my October 22, 2016 column titled “Aisha Buhari and the Evil Aso Rock Cabal,” I pointed out that “Buhari is held hostage by an evil, sneaky, corrupt, vulturous, and conniving cabal that ensures that his wife doesn’t see him even in the ‘kitchen,’ the ‘living room,’ or ‘the other room.’

“The BBC interview was Aisha’s vigorous ventilation of pent-up anguish against a cold, calculating, and corrupt cabal that has made Buhari a stranger to his own wife.” It’s the fifth most widely read article of all time on my blog because although it was cryptic, many people, particularly in the North, knew what I was talking about. I was told that the cabal actually met to discuss who divulged this information to me.

It’s supremely emblematic that Mamman Daura (along with his entire family) lives in a wing of the Presidential Villa called the “Glass House,” according to his spoilt, entitled daughter by the name of Fatima Mamman Daura.  “Glass house” is a metaphoric expression that means a position or a situation that invites critical public scrutiny. Derived from the English proverb “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones,” it calls attention to hypocrisy.

And Mamman Daura is a dyed-in-the-wool hypocrite. Although he is a monogamist, he wanted to marry a second wife for his younger uncle until he was shamed into abandoning it. Similarly, in “Editing a Government Newspaper in Nigeria,” a chapter he contributed to a book titled Reporting Africa edited by Olav Stokke, he rhapsodized over editing the New Nigerian that was “owned and subsidized by the Government yet we criticize their action.” He characterized this as an “anomaly neither properly understood by the people generally nor particularly liked by some government officials.” Yet, he is now the intellectual driver of a government that supervises one of the most brutal strangulation of the news media and of freedom of speech itself.

I'm glad that Mamman Daura, Nigeria’s de facto president, is now coming out of the shadows. You can’t live in the Glass House, throw stones at Nigerians, and continue to live in the shadows.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Aisha Buhari herself isn’t the victim— and hero of democracy— she’s positioning herself to be. Her fight against Mamman Daura (and Abba Kyari) is mostly over access to the spoils of governance.

She has been given several concessions by the cabal, but she always wants more. For instance, her older brother by the name of Ahmed Halilu was recently quietly appointed as one of only two executive directors at the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC, among several concessions she has been given. So don’t cry for her. Cry for Nigeria.


  1. Truly, I cry for the soul of Nigeria. Thank you Prof for the sound expose.

  2. I honestly like the second to the last paragraph. I have never taken Aisha as any hero but as an additional disaster to our ordeals. Thank you Prof.

  3. This aptly captures what most Nigerians think. Thank you Prof. I actually had a hard time wrapping my mind aroundthe idea that Mamman Daura is Buhari's nephew despite being older by three years. It's clear now.

  4. Prof, anything that has to do with Buhari (his wife and children, family,style of governance, even his apologists) is hypocrisy.So, there's no need for Nigerians to show empathy just as they did when he went to London for medical tourism at the people's expense.

  5. Tank you prof. This is the true situation of Nigeria under buhari administration. May God continue to guide and protect the poor Nigerians

  6. Wow! I salute you Prof. for the wonderful piece.

  7. I am so disappointed at the way Nigerians fall for cheap black mail by a group of persons with ulterior motive of destroying the image of their president. A piece of unfounded write up that could only be attributed to a fiction is believed by people. Please you guys should learn how to ask questions and think critically before they device you

  8. What is annoying is that will all the revelations, Nigerians will still adopt their "siddon and look". Why are we so docile? So many reasons to march out to the streets and protest against poor governance, but no... we are content with it and we just 'hope'things change

    1. He has a strong support base in the South West who want to produce the next president. They will sabotage the action as the overpampered military will deal brutality with any protester.

  9. We Nigerians are always at the receiving end because we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated by our religious and political leaders. Until we take charge we should expect more of the likes of Buhari and Mamman as our decision makers.

  10. Prof, many thanks for your concise and analytic expose on this sham of a government that we have at present. But, how can we ever escape this strangulating hold with our already brow beaten media and elites including supposed leaders that ought to help fight the leprous leadership in place. Rightly said, Buhari relies on others to take decisions for him. This was also the case in his first coming as military head of state. The late General Idiagbon was the man behind all the tough stance of that regime. Still, one would have preferred an independent minded personality as the late Idiagbon as President. At least, knowing his discipline and frugality, Nigeria could have been better of today than the leeches we have around today. Prof, am sure you would have something to say on this someday. The impact of an Idiagbon's Presidency.

  11. are so hilarious when you stated "your daughter still struggles to call your half-brother her uncle".What an unavoidable dilema.

  12. I never knew we could be so beaten hollow by ONE man who has nothing good for Nigerians except for his cabal-defined community of interest. I can see why he changed his mind and has now approved the office of First Lady which he vowed in 2014 never to have in his government. He is also going to build a multi-billion Naira African women leadership centre for Aisha - at taxpayers' expense.

  13. Prof even after reading your preamble on what should worry Nigerian more, much of the responses have been imagineries of the sleaze and lechery in the other room and glass house. It truly distressing to think that a ministry of "humanitarian and disaster" affairs was created specifically as a trophy for the madame. The very name of the ministry says it all. "Humanitarian and disaster affairs". Nigeria is a mess

  14. God will continue to ink your pen for the betterment of mankind. Thank you for the piece.

  15. I was craving for more, just tried it with my Mtn network reception and it worked. Why would Glo block a site so informative as yours prof? More greese to your elbow, don't be cowed. We are with you in prayers and hope.

  16. This current regime is a sad repitition of a glaringly obvious failed the current president's first tenure in office as a military head of state,he was clueless,made incomprehensible policies that made Nigerians miserable.inflation and devaluation of the naira first reared its ugly heads as a result of his ungovernance then.Idiagbon was the only person holding the country together whilst he was off gallivanting from country to was still his own crew/cabal that overthrew him for these same reasons of stagnation and suffering he inflicted on the Nigerian populace.he was clueless then and he is still clueless now.we all are aware that it's the likes of Abba Kyari and Mamman Daura who are running this country as they see fit.nice piece Prof.

  17. They should not worry,three years more and they will all be out. Fuelled my car and paid through pos and was charged 50 naira for it. The attendant told me it is now law to charge for every pos payment. My mouth was just open,no words. Only in this country.


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