Editor's note: Public affairs commentator, Adebayo Mukaila, writes on Sabiu 'Tunde' Yusuf, who is a direct cousin of President Muhammadu Buhari, and currently works as the personal assistant to the president in the presidential villa.
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Who is the much-talked-about Sabiu 'Tunde' Yusuf who is said to be calling the shots around President Muhammadu Buhari? Who is the man, outside of the vile media caricature? By way of introduction, Sabiu 'Tunde' Yusuf is a direct cousin of President Buhari, being the son of his niece popularly known as Hajiya Halima or Hajiya Madam in Daura, the president's hometown.
According to some reliable information, the young man, in his 30s, has been with President Buhari since he was a toddler. In fact, the sobriquet 'Tunde' was given to Sabiu by no other person than President Buhari as a mark of appreciation and his fondness of his late second-in-command, General Tunde Idiagbon, when Buhari was the Military Head of State in 1984.
Again, for the better part of his adult life, up until Buhari was elected the president in the historic 2015 presidential election, Sabiu had always been with the president either in Daura or Kaduna. Before 2015, he was General Buhari's personal assistant. Therefore, it was only natural for him to move into the presidential villa with the first family in 2015, as a bona fide and trusted member of the family.
Going by the filial relationship Sabiu shares with the president and taking into consideration how such relationship is often defined in a typical African family setting, it won't be out of place to describe Sabiu as the president's son, other things being equal.
From all indications, Sabiu has been a good boy to the president to the extent that he enjoys the trust and confidence of the old man. There is no doubt that his appointment as personal assistant to the president is premised on the absolute trust the latter has in him as much as the somewhat father and son relationship they both share.
But that is where all that ends.
Of recent, Sabiu has come under some intense attacks first from the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, as widely reported by the papers, and lately, through a string of malicious allegations and bare-faced lies Professor Farooq Kperoqi, who continues to dish out baseless lies and mendacious falsehood from his safe cocoon in the United States of America (USA).
For whatever reasons unknown to the public, but which of course can be deconstructed as some subterranean power play and a battle of supremacy in the villa, Mrs Buhari is believed to be the arrowhead of those who want Sabiu punished for his unbecoming closeness to the president. This was what led to the shooting incident when the First Lady and her Aide-De-Camp, now redeployed out of the villa (after the incident), were trying to force Sabiu to go into compulsory isolation after returning from Lagos from a private trip
Meanwhile, two of the president's daughters who reportedly embarked on a trip outside Abuja were never made to go into self-isolation when they returned to the villa despite their frequent and more intimate contact with the president. What then could be the rationale behind forcing Sabiu into compulsory isolation even when it was obvious he never mingled with anyone upon his return from Lagos as he said? What is sauce for the goose is no longer sauce for gander in the villa? Your guess is as good as mine. Sabiu is more or less like a son to the president and by extension, the First Lady. It is therefore expected that Mrs Aisha Buhari should treat him like her own son, at least.
As for Kperogi, it beggars belief how a university scholar whose forte should always be unalloyed fidelity to truth and factuality will descend into the arena of brainless falsehood just to cast aspersions on the immaculate linen of the president. He has been doing this since God-knows- when.
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Perhaps tired of his unreplied constant bashing of the president in his newspaper column and social media platforms with the latter legendarily unperturbed by the legless criticisms and malnourished lies, he has resorted to taking Sabiu, the president's personal assistant, to the cleaners through infantile concoctions that cannot stand the simple test of scrutiny. When you can't get at the king, you disable his trusted confidante.
In one of his latest odoriferous offerings, Kperoqi again, as usual, tried to mislead the public by dishing out some concocted lies all in a calculated attempt to get at the president by seeming to hammer Sabiu.
He claimed that Sabiu has over N1trillion in several accounts in different banks. Who maintains several different accounts with millions of naira in each of the banks in this era of eagle-eyed anti-corruption agencies and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and such accounts have not been flagged down? Not even the irrepressible, invasive and intrepid investigative journalists in the country have been able to unravel these billion naira accounts owned by a single individual. Kperogi only made an allegation without providing names of the banks and details of the accounts. Incredible! No discerning mind will believe it.
In any case, one would have expected that the teacher of journalism will provide the names of the banks and details of the accounts allegedly belonging to Sabiu. Kperogi needs to be told that he is being misled by his usual coterie of liars masquerading as impeccable sources in Aso Rock. Moreover, a teacher of journalism should be guided by objectivity a basic tenet of the profession he is a proud member of.
In one breath, Kperogi claimed that Sabiu has properties worth billions of naira spread all over Nigeria, yet as meticulous as he is as a self-styled undercover reporter that he calls himself, he could not just name one of the properties, its location and cost. If he had succeeded in doing so, perhaps that would have added some believability to his fairy tale of the mega billions of naira Sabiu allegedly has warehoused in some nameless banks.
The attacks on Sabiu, as unfortunate as they are, are quite needless. Unfortunately again, it is the price one pays for being close to the president. Luckily for Sabiu, he has a principal who knows where the fireworks are coming from and for what purpose they are to serve. Sabiu should be encouraged to continue doing good work without replying his critics. His support and loyalty to his boss will always speak for and vindicate him.
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