Things seem not to be at ease at the Presidential Villa at the moment: from the widely spread rumour of an impending divorce to the viral wedding speculation, and now, the domestic strife between two families; the Buhari family and the Mamman Daura family.
Question: who is Mamman Daura and what is he, and his family, doing at the Aso Villa?
He is the son of President Buhari’s elder brother.
Theirs is a technical uncle-nephew relationship because though President Buhari should have been Daura’s uncle since the latter is his elder brother’s son, Daura is about three years older than the president.
Here are the key facts you should know about him:
Daura had, and completed, his secondary education at Okene Provincial School in 1956. He studied economics and public administration at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1962 to 1968.
Daura was a Nigerian journalist who reportedly started his journalism career with the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as a programme assistant.
He had earlier worked for a few years with the Daura Native Authority. Daura also reportedly worked in the office of Abba Kyari, the military governor of North-Central state.
In the 1970s, he was editor of an influential newspaper, New Nigerian. He joined the company in April 1969.
Daura was also a renown industrialist who later headed the African International Bank.
He also at one one point served as the chairman of the board of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the now defunct Nigerian Bank of Commerce and Industry.
How Buhari, Daura relationship started Mamman Daura:
Facts about President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘powerful nephew’ Fatima
Daura says her father, Mamman Daura, and President Buhari “grew up together like twins”
“You all know that they are friends and are related, more so, they grew up together like twins.” – Fatima Daura
When Buhari relocated to the Aso Villa in 2015, following his election as Nigeria’s president, he invited someone, outside his immediate family, to stay with him: Mamman Daura.
He gave Daura an apartment named The Glass House to stay.
The Glass House is closer to the main presidential apartment, according to Fatima Daura, daughter of Mamman Daura.
How important is Daura to President Buhari to be accorded this privilege?
The duo’s relationship dated back to childhood, with Daura playing a significant role during Buhari’s formative years.
According to Professor John Paden, in his book, Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria, referenced by TheCable, it was Daura and Waziri al-Hassan, Buhari’s foster father, who encouraged Buhari, who wasn’t showing much interest in education at the time, to take his studies seriously.
The American professor also wrote in the book that it was Daura who “strongly encouraged” Buhari to join the military in 1961.
Buhari would go on to become military head of state in the final years of his career.
“When Buhari’s father died, Waziri al-Hasan – the son of Emir Musa became the guardian of Zulaihat (Buhari’s mother) and her six children, including her youngest, Muhammadu. This played a major role in the upbringing of Buhari.
“This extensive kinship network also affected the future of Buhari in another important way. His senior brother was the father of Mamman Daura, who was three years older than Buhari, although technically his nephew. Mamman would become a life-long inspiration and confidant to Buhari. He was especially critical in encouraging Buhari to pursue lifelong education.
“Like many boys at that time and place, Buhari went to Quranic school before going to primary school. He was not enthusiastic about these studies. Early each morning, he would get up and have to fetch firewood for his teacher for the evening Qur’anic readings. There were also several hours of Qur’anic lessons in the morning, at a time when Buhari would rather be outside playing.
“In part because of his love of the outdoors, Buhari was a reluctant student in his early years. He would often skip school altogether, although this always resulted in beatings with a cane by the schoolmaster. Only with the encouragement of Waziri al-Hasan and Mamman Daura did he eventually settle down and take his studies seriously,” TheCable quoted the book by the The George Mason University professor.
The newspaper also noted that Daura is today described as the “most powerful nephew” in Nigeria by virtue of his closeness to President Buhari.
Mamman Daura: From “powerful nephew” to Cabal
Circa 2016, barely two years into the Buhari administration, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, in an unprecedented and daring move, openly criticised his husband’s government.
Aisha complained that those were not instrumental to Buhari’s elections were now the ones calling the shots; the Cabal, in Nigeria’s political lingo.
As a result of his unfettered closeness, and influence, to Buhari, it was not too long before many believed Daura is one of the cabals Aisha Buhari was referring to, and possibly the head.
Mamman Daura and the wedding rumour
Last week, it was wildly rumoured that President Buhari was ready to marry a second wife, alleged to be the minister of minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, Sadiya Umar
Farouq. Daura’s name also found its way to the rumour as it was alleged that the purported wedding was the handiwork of the cabals who wanted to use it to spite the first Lady for criticizing them.
Fatima Daura, the “spokesperson” for the Daura family?
Though Daura has never come out to debunk all these, he’s never seen making public statements, his daughter, Fatima, denied the insinuations in a BBC Hausa interview.
She described her father as an easy going and shy person.
“… they (Buhari and Daura) grew up together, shared the same friends and did a lot of things together, so if any one is appointed that is close to our dad, that person is also close to the president.
“They have been together and they do things together. Everyone has his own confidant that he listens to. I think that is the reason for the allegations. They are very close friends. They are also related by blood so there is no way you can separate them,” Fatima said.
She said though the president can seek his advice, he is never known for imposing his views on anyone.
“You know the president can seek his advice but he is not the kind of fellow that will impose or insist on something. He can simply advise and stay away at home minding his business. He hardly speaks, he is 80 years old.
“When you talk to him about the allegations, he says you should not bother yourselves, that God is clearing his sins by such false accusations. If you are reasonable, you will see that the powers being allotted to our father by his accusers are wrong. It is only God that has such powers. It doesn’t make sense,” she said.
Regarding the wedding rumour, she said: “Wallahi, it is a lie. It is all part of what I am saying about the false allegations against our father. He is not even aware of the rumours about the marriage issue because he doesn’t use the social media. They are both monogamous. Both my dad and the president practice monogamy. They are all lies aimed at blackmailing him. They keep falsely accusing him. It does not tally with reason.”