Cabal not unusual in Nigeria’s govt ― Presidential aide

Cabal not unusual in Nigeria’s govt ― Presidential aide


The Presidency on Sunday justified the existence of certain individuals who are close to President Muhammadu Buhari otherwise referred to as Cabal, which it claimed helps him in taking informed decisions on critical national issues.


The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu made the confession at an interactive session with newsmen.

Notable among President Buhari close political allies include his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; business mogul, Mallam Isa Funtua and Buhari’s nephew and long-time associate, Mamman Daura.

Mallam Shehu who expressed concern that his principal’s long-time associates are being painted in bad light claimed some of them are successful individuals, making huge personal sacrifices for the nation and submitted that it was not a sin to be in the good book of a sitting president as a close confidant.

He insisted that every administration all over the world has a cabal or kitchen cabinet that drives its policies.

He said: ”What is the meaning of cabal? I just googled Thesaurus and among many other definitions, what they are saying is that cabal means ‘conspire, intrigues, mystique, occult, secret’.

“There is no government in this country that we have had that some people were not accused of being a cabal in that government and it is because every administration, every president must have a secretariat.

“Every president must have people who advise him. It is not a sin, it is not an offence to have people that you take into confidence. Elsewhere, they call it ‘Kitchen Cabinet’, but in our own country we are being derogatory and we term them the cabal so that it will tarnish their own good standing.

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“A lot of them are successful people who are making extreme sacrifices to even come to serve the government. Some of them have no need to be around the government.

“In fact, for some of our elites, Buhari is a bad man because you cannot go to him and say give me oil well and he will sign the paper and give you. So, we understand the game that is playing out and there is always a price, in any case, to pay for that kind of exposure.

“Even the president himself, the kind of things that are being said of him, if he did not offer himself to serve, some of those things, people would not even have the chance to say them against him. So, we will live with it, we will accept it because it goes with the territory”.

On the move by the Federal Government to regulate the social media, he maintained that the Federal Government was determined to execute its plan, despite the scathing criticisms trailing the unpopular move.

Findings revealed that two bills, National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill and the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and Other Related Offences Bill currently sponsored by Senators Sabi Abdullahi and Mohammed Musa, representing Niger North and East, respectively are before the Senate.

Mallam Shehu further argued that regulating social media was a norm, not an aberration in a democracy.

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”Social media has become a problem for many families because rights of women and children are being abused. There is a need to protect vulnerable members of society. There is the need to protect minority whether tribal or religion in our own country.

“So, it makes sense that you as media stakeholders come around the Minister of Information and Culture and formulate the kind of regulation you want so that it is not that there is top-bottom approach so that government will not be accused of imposing a regulatory mechanism on the media.

“The minister is saying come, sit down with me and let us talk about it. And I was told that the day he called on Nigerian Union of Journalists, they walked out on him. If the report is true, I think it is very unfortunate. I think we need to come around him and offer media-driven solutions so that at the end of it this country will have a vibrant and effective social media communication system.

“At the same time, it is the one that does not drive children to the addiction and that it also protects consumers of media content from harmful invasion either of our privacy.

“I think I will be like to appeal that please give serious consideration to some of these elements and see how the media in the country can work together with government to find communication solution to purely communication problem. It is not political, the government has no reason to undermine or weaken the mass media.

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“When you realise it, in-country where the mass media are being suppressed, where there is no freedom of expression and information, you find out that the media space tends to decline, it becomes smaller, media houses close down but the irony of what is happening in the country is that while some civil society groups are crying here that the freedom of expression is being threatened and, in any case, we know why they were shouting because they are looking for donors abroad who will send in United States Dollars for the protection of hate speech, that basically it is a selfish thing.

“But in a country where we are expanding the media space. The last time we did, we licensed about 300 radio stations and as I’m speaking to you now this administration is processing almost 500 requests for radio stations.

”Media cannot be expanding if it is being oppressed. A lot of our colleagues I have seen them, any editor who loses job today or senior journalist, you will see him set up a digital newspaper and they are doing well. Many of them are prospering which tells you that the media is not in any way constrained to carry out its constitutional duties”, he said.

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