The confusion reigning in the country in the last four month is making many Nigerians to demand to know who is in charge of the country? Is it a cabal of kitchen cabinet members, the First lady, the Acting President or the supposedly permanently incapacitated President Umaru Yar’Adua or there is a mere power vacuum?
Wherever you look in
Long before President Umaru Yar’Adua was jetted out of the country on 23 November 2010 to treat pericarditis in Saudi Arabia, his failing health had cause him to loose grip of the government to a self-serving cabal headed by his wife. They are the invisible hands and power behind every government’s action starting from contracts award, government appointments and policy decisions.
Often seen but seldom heard, Turai who is not particularly eloquent is known to be overtly influential in government and over her husband. Some even call her the ‘remote control’ that directs everything including the heartbeat of the president. Ministers used to bow before her and State governors were also allegedly courting her friendship in their bid to remain close to the President. There was the saying in the corridors of power in
She may lack the glamour of the late Mariam Babangida, abrasiveness of Maryam Abacha and the sociability of late Stella Obasanjo but her level of influence in Aso rock is unprecedented by anyone of 11 former first ladies before her. Anywhere you turn in the highest echelon of government in
Look can be deceptive, they say. This cannot be better evidenced than in Hadjia Turai - as she is often called by her aids. The innocently looking mother of seven (5 girls and 2 boys) is everything uninnocent. Most Nigerians are dissatisfied with the mystery surrounding the health of the president especially the way she and his other handlers have thoughtlessly shielded him and facts about his situation from the government and the people who call him their president.
She is known to have singularly inputted names like Adamu Aliero and Babatunde Osotimehin to the previous cabinets. It is also believed that she influenced the deployment of a long-serving minister, Dr. Hassan Lawal, to the Ministry of Works and Housing from his previous Labour portfolio.
Sources said she was behind the appointment of Abubakar Lawal Yar'adua as the Group Managing Director of the NNPC and her blood brother, Bashir Abdullahi, to the position of Managing Director of Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) making her the strongest influence in the oil industry.
In her State front, she was reputed to have nominated Ibrahim Shema, her husband’s successor as Katsina Governor. “She single-handedly tipped him for the position of governor. That’s how powerful she is,” said one source. Turai is also behind the appointment of her in-law, the discredited Alhaji Abdullahi Inde Dikko as the Comptroller-General of Customs and known to be thwarting efforts to remove him from the office even after the unfolding of his forged certificates.
The 53-year-old who married President Umaru Yar'Adua in 1975 at the age of 18 has denied all access to her husband since his night-time return to
Born in the Katsina Metropolis in July 1957 to a modest family, she attended
She later on obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Education) in Language from the
The Yar'Aduas, were an already politically established family by the time Turai joined them even though her husband was seen as the least likely member to enter politics. His elevation to the presidency was a surprise since he had often spoken of his desire to return to teaching at the end of his second term as the governor of Katsina state and especially due to his significantly falling health. It is believed in many quarters that Turai’s affinity for power and her overbearing influence on the husband caused him to accept the offer from President Obasanjo to succeed him in office.
No sooner she joined the Yar’Adua’s dynasty that her love for power was revealed. President Yar’Adua’s elder brother, the late Major General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, was a party leader and powerful figure in the early 90’s and in attestation to Turai’s love for power, when Yar'Adua senior was asked to endorse his younger brother's bid to be governor of Katsina State for the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), he is said to have asked who really wanted the job, Umaru or Turai?
The highly influential Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, who died in prison during the regime of the late Sani Abacha was further reported to have told the people of Katsina that any vote for his younger brother was a vote for Turai, an acknowledgement that in the Umaru Yar'Adua household, the levers of power lie with Turai.
As the nation continues to pray for the recovery of the president and sympathies with the first family because of what he has to go through in the hands of those who should have cared for him, it hoped that the First lady will reciprocate the good intent and gesture of the entire ‘Good People of Great Nation’ and let Nigeria be.