By Barr Azubuike Anoliefo

President Mohammadu Buhari was the Executive Chairman of Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund PTF when I was a Director of the Fund in charge of Corporate Affairs or Public Relations. We were in the Management team. In the day to day activities of the fund, I also worked directly with him and we also related so much, even on a personal level. Beyond our interactions as members of management of PTF, I used to visit him at home and had undertaken many official and private trips together.

One trip that gave me one on one person to person intimate interaction with him was our visit to his bosom friend and boy using the military parlance, Air Force Colonel Orji.Colonel Orji was the Former military Governor of either Bauchi or Gombe State.The occasion was the commissioning of Orji's private home, his Country home at Nenwe, the outskirts of Enugu.

President Buhari specifically requested that I alone accompany him to Nenwe for the commissioning ceremony,without his retinue of aids or any personal staff.It was indeed a private visit.We flew just two of us in a low flying small plane to Enugu and subsequently drove to Nnenwe by road. At Nenwe he asked me to make his personal donation of N100,000 on his behalf.He does not like conspicuous consumption and ostentatious show of wealth.

During our flight, he got so personal with me and relived nostalgically his growing up days and his days as a young Army Officer especially at Ibadan as a Major.We talked about his Romance, marriage, a tour of duty, social life etc. He told me how either he or Colonel Robert Akonobi would have drowned in a swimming pool but for the prompt rescue by Bob Akonobi whom I had worked with when he was Governor.

I remembered telling him about his monotony of dressing for which he confided in me that he had mostly his Army uniform which he had gotten used to wearing. We also discussed Aisha, then his Girlfriend and the scandalous story Tell Magazine wrote about their affair. He also explained to me why he sparingly uses the air conditioner. He told me the story of how he almost lost his life at Ibadan due to cold or pneumonia.

In the course of this trip with him and the preceding and subsequent interactions with him both off and on duty, Buhari impressed me as Spartan, humble, simple and honest person, even shy. But behind that facade is a diehard religious and ethnocentric personality.A no-nonsense military man with immense dictatorial tendencies.

He has the integrity to the extent that he will not steal greedily from public coffers but could watch others steal. His seeming nonchalant disposition when his close associates or confidants steal or indulge in unscrupulous activities leaves much to be desired.

In our PTF days, Buhari set up a parallel management team, a kitchen cabinet or cabal parallel to PTF management, the Afriprojects Consortium, made of his Fulani relatives and close friends, most of whom constitute his inner circle or kitchen cabinet now.

He practiced nepotism and mediocrity were at work. The powers, offices, and duties of the PTF Trustees and Directors appointed by Abacha were brazenly usurped to the extent that we the government appointees took directives from his private personal appointees. PTF was under the whims and caprices of the parochial consortium and the so-called consultants, a bunch of inexperienced and mostly half-baked Fulani professionals that wielded so many powers.

This is exactly what is playing out in his present dispensation.The NNPC GMD and Minister of State for Petroleum impasse are reminiscent of my experience and that of other directors when we're in PTF as window dressing directors that took directives from his Kinsmen or clannish Afriprojects consortium headed by late Alhaji Sahilijo, his in law.

The Fulani mafia ran PTF and same is happening now.Meritocracy was and is being sacrificed on the Altar of mediocrity, nepotism, and ethnocentrism and that is the undoing of my Friend, President Buhari and the undoing of this administration.

This is also the undoing of his so-called war on corruption that I considered dead on arrival being a selective, lopsided vindictive agency ostensibly being used against opponents or perceived enemies of the administration.Like the corruption program, this Government is jaundiced and more sooner than later will fail woefully.

In the picture is me in red chieftaincy cap, cited by me is President Buhari in Kaftan with a white cap at PTF board room 1997.

Publisher: Prince Richmond C. Amadi 
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