President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday continued with his usual nepotistic tradition of appointing close family members and allies into key positions in government by naming Alhaji Bashir Jamoh as new Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
Jamoh, who takes over office from Dakuku Peterside, was the Executive Director, Administration and Finance in the agency until his latest appointment.
A native of Kaduna, the 56-year-old is the incumbent President of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria.
In fact, Jamoh is Buhari’s direct in-law. His wife, Hajiya Zulai, is the daughter of the President's sister and it was while living at Buhari’s Kaduna home that Zulai and Jamoh met.
But beyond that, Jamoh is the father-in-law of one of President Buhari’s most powerful aides – Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf.
Now in his early 30s, Yusuf is regarded as one of the closest and most powerful persons around Nigeria’s President.
In fact, on the corridors of power, only two persons – Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to Buhari, and Mamman Daura, nephew to the President – are believed to be more influential than him especially when it comes to getting the attention and ears of Nigeria’s number one citizen.
Yusuf, who doubles as Personal Assistant and Private Secretary to Buhari, is the son of Daura’s biological sister – Hajia Halima – who died in 2018.
Regarded as one of the wealthiest young men in Nigeria today, Yusuf until his appointment by President Buhari was said to be surviving on proceeds made from the sale of call cards in his native Daura, a sleepy community in Katsina State in the Northern part of the country.
He is said to have gotten the name ‘Tunde’ after being likened to late Tunde Idiagbon, Buhari’s second in command during his military regime in the early 1980s, who was known to be powerful and strategic.
Shedding more light into the personality of Yusuf while also revealing that the President had appointed four family members into key positions in government, Prof Farooq Kperogi, one of Buhari’s staunchest critics, in 2019 said, “Among the people in the cabal but very powerful and not known is someone called Tunde, originally Sabiu Yusuf. He is the son of Mamman Daura’s immediate younger sister.
“He is today P.A to the President even though he has never worked for one day in his life.
“That boy only got married last year and is now one of the billionaires in Nigeria today. Nobody of his age has the kind of money that boy has.
“Sabiu, who is in his 30s, is one of the most powerful people in Nigeria today. He determines who sees and who doesn’t see Buhari. Only Mamman Daura and Abba Kyari can overrule him.
“By several accounts, he is now a billionaire, although he had no formal work experience before Buhari became president. He used to sell recharge cards in Daura until 2015.”
During Buhari’s 77th birthday in December 2019, Yusuf is said to have worn a Patek Phillipe leather wristwatch valued at $99,995.00 – about N36m.
Two years before that time in April 2017 precisely, Yusuf and daughter of new NIMASA boss, Fatima, got married in Kaduna in a colourful ceremony attended by Nigeria’s high and mighty including Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Abba Kyari and a host of other influential citizens including state governors.
Interestingly, Yusuf and Jamoh are not the only beneficiaries of Buhari’s nepotistic tendencies – since coming into office as Nigeria’s democratically elected President in May 2015, the retired military general has slotted close family members and allies into important positions.
For example, Abdulkarim Dauda, Buhari’s nephew, is his Personal Chief Security Officer, according to Kperogi.
He is said to have enjoyed rapid and unmerited promotion in the police up till the position of a commissioner by virtue of his uncle's standing in society.
Dauda “Zeze” Habu, Personal Assistant to Abba Kyari, is said to be related to President Buhari as well.
Habu's father is Buhari’s nephew.
Musa Haro, a Personal Assistant to the President, is another beneficiary of the 'family business' going on in Nigeria's topmost power circle.
His mother, Hajia Kwalla, is Buhari’s biological sister.
According to Kperogi and other persons with close access to Buhari's circle, there are several more persons, who have benefitted from the President's nepotistic way of life.
Recall that on February 24, 2020, SaharaReporters exclusively exposed how the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency sacked 34 contract staff of the agency to clear the way for the appointment of President Buhari’s daughter, Hadiza, and other children of influential Nigerians especially from the Northern part of the country.
Hadiza was employed into the agency as deputy manager – a move facilitated by Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Abdulkadir Umar Saidu.
As a result of this sad trend that rubbishes Nigeria's federal character arrangement, citizens have continued to slam President Buhari for putting ethnicity and religion above every other considerations in making key appointments in his administration.
Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Dioceses, Rev Fr Matthew Hassan Kukah, in December 2019 accused Buhari of nepotism.
Before then in July 2016, Dr Junaid Mohammed, had said nepotism under Buhari’s government was the worst in Nigeria’s history.
While granting an interview to Saturday PUNCH of July 23, 2016, Mohammed said, "First, the most influential person in the Presidency today is one Mamman Daura whom as you know, is a nephew of the President.
"In addition, Mamman Daura was the one who single handedly brought up Abba Kyari, current Chief of Staff to the President.
"Next, the Personal Assistant to Buhari himself is the son of Mamman Daura, next is what they call SCOP, State Chief of Protocol, and is also a son-in-law to Mamman Daura because he is married to Daura’s daughter.
"We have the Aide De Camp to Buhari himself, Colonel Abubakar.
"He is married to the granddaughter of one of Buhari’s elder sisters.
"Next, we have the Minister of Federal Capital Territory called Musa Bello, who used to be the Managing Director of the Northern Nigeria Development Corporation, which used to be the biggest holding company that belonged to all the Northern states.
"His only qualification to be FCT Minister is the fact that his father has been Buhari’s friend over the years.
"Now, there is a young man called Sabiu Yusuf, nicknamed Tunde – probably because of late General Tunde Idiagbon.
"He is another PA to President Buhari.
"He is also a grandson of another sister of Buhari.
"This is enough to prove to you that this is shamelessly the worst form of nepotism in the history of government in Nigeria.
"In fact, in the history of Africa, let me make bold to assert that I have never seen any level of nepotism that has equalled or surpassed this in my entire life – I am now in my 67th year."
Dr Mohammed will be 71 years old this year.
A handful of political observers, who expressed their thoughts on the development, said that real unity will be hard to achieve if Buhari continues to promote nepotism over merit and national spread.