Villa Shooting: A Concealed Coup Attempt?

By Bala Ibrahim

It’s now official, that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered investigation into the shooting spree that occurred in the State House on Thursday, and the ADC to his wife, Aisha Bunari is undergoing interrogation. In a statement yesterday, by the presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, the president acknowledged the ugly incident, with an assurance that the law would take it’s course.

Usman Shugaba, ADC to the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, in the company of other security details attached to the First Lady, fired shots in the precincts of the State House on Thursday night, while attempting to arrest the president’s private secretary and nephew, Tunde Sabiu Yusuf, in his house.

Reports have it that, there was a disagreement between the First Lady, Aisha Buhari and Sabiu Tunde Yusuf, the President’s nephew and P.A, sequel to a journey he took to Lagos, to visit his wife, who recently delivered a baby boy. On his return to Abuja, Aisha Buhari, who had long been in discord with him, directed him to self-isolate and stay away from office for two weeks. Tunde reportedly told the President the reason for his trip and how he conducted himself while in Lagos, and the President approved that he should carry on with his duty in the office.

This did not go down well with the First Lady, as such she allegedly sent Usman Shugaba, her ADC, to ensure the compliance with her orders, not withstanding the contrary directive from the President.

To prove her point and powers, on Thursday night, the First Lady and three of her children, Zahra, Halima and Yusuf, accompanied by some of her security aides, led by the Shugaba himself, stormed House 8, the official residence of Tunde, and insisted that he must comply with her quarantine directive, or face consequences. I am not sure if they went there with PPE, but they carried guns.

This lead to an altercation between him and the First Lady, resulting in the Lady ordering his manhandling. When he became overpowered and helpless, Tunde took to logic, by opting to flee with his feet to the residence of Mallam Mamman Daura, where he spent the night. Sources said he arrived there with serious wounds on him.

On the day the incident happened, the first person I placed a call to, was Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity. He refused to comment, pleading with me to keep him out of the saga. Because I am fairly familiar with the politics of the house, I chose not to press further.

However, now that the same Mallam Garba has issued a statement confirming the incident, and giving the position of the President, that arrests were made and investigations ongoing, with emphasis to the determination of the President to permit the law to take its course, the time has come for the President to be told the bitter truth, once more.

For the law to take its proper course, the President must allow all suspects in the saga to be properly interrogated, regardless of their status. This is one incident too many, and almost always, the name of the First Lady is a regular feature. If previous ugly incidences were overlooked, this one cannot be overlooked, because it involved the firing of shots in the villa, the seat of power. Those conversant with security and the statutory functions of the Guard brigade say, any single shot fired there, is presumed to be a shot fired at the Commander-in-Chief.

Gunshots in the villa? You hear of such only when there is a coup attempt, and as a one-time victim of a coup, the President must take the issue with the seriousness it deserved. What would have happened if Tunde was killed? Moreso as this particular Tunde, was so named after the late Gen.Tunde Idiagbon, the then Chief of Staff to Supreme Headquarters, and second in command to the Head of State, General Mohammadu Buhari.

Unless the President want to give the public, the impression that he is not fully in charge, as strongly speculated by the critics, the First lady, who is known to be openly disrespectful of the Covid-19 protocols, particularly with regards to the wearing of the face mask, has no business going personally with her aides, to enforce anything that has to do with the management of the disease. This is the work of the PTF, headed by the SGF.

Hardly a month pass without the First family coming in the news, for bad news. It’s either the First Lady is at war with members of the President’s family, or interfering with the running of the President’s office, or both. Always bringing the office of the President into ridicule, disrespect and undue embarrassment. Not even in the time of Patience Jonathan, was the villa subjected to such scorn.

The shooting has sent wrong signal to the world, that the President is not in control of his domestic affairs, just when his handling of the security situation in Katsina state, his home state, is being constantly condemned. These are issues that have been burning for long.

For long, the president has been advised to check the excesses of the First lady, particularly her regular rage, overbearing nature and the dishonorable display of tantrums, at the slightest provocation.

If the President decides to ignore professional advise, or choose to treat the matter with levity, what happened to him in the past, may reincarnate. This time around, using his wife as the chief coupist.

And I can bet my wallet, Nigerians would never, ever, forgive Mr. President.

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