Aso Rock Deserted After Presidential Election



Aftermath of the 2015 presidential poll, Aso Rock, the seat of power in Nigeria has become a mere shadow of its usual self in the past few weeks, as most of the visitors who had hitherto made the place a beehive of activities have deserted the place.

LEADERSHIP learnt that since President Goodluck Jonathan’s loss of the presidential poll on March 28, 2015, the number of prominent Nigerians, including top politicians, business moguls, expatriates and technocrats as well as self acclaimed technocrats who usually throng the place on a daily basis has reduced abysmally.

Approximately, about 600 to 800 people visit the presidential villa each week, and the records will include top government functionaries, Christian conservative leaders, lobbyists, politicians, those visiting principal aides to the president as well as people conducting business.

On special days when there are special functions like retreats, seminars, dinners and other government programmes at the banquet hall, Aso Rock also plays host to thousands of persons, including gate crashers.

But observation by our correspondent reveals that between March 28 and last week, the number of persons visiting the president, the Vice President, Namadi Sambo; the First Lady and other presidential aides has dropped to just a quarter of the legion of what used to be Aso Rock visitors.

It was also observed that security personnel at the gates who usually suffer very hectic days clearing people into the place have been left with little work to do.

Upon entry to Aso Rock, visitors are required to present photo identification with information exactly matching the name previously submitted for clearance, and individuals whose identification does not exactly match the name or date cleared will be denied entry to the place.

The scanty turnout of visitors to the villa in the past few weeks became quite noticeable owing to the fact that during months and weeks that preceded the presidential polls, the place hardly contained people who came to show solidarity to the re-election bid of President Jonathan.

But reinforcing the saying that failure is an orphan, non of these persons or group of individuals, including Nollywood actors and actresses, musicians, sports legends among others have bothered to show up since after the presidential poll, at least to even fake it that they could as well also be associated with ‘failure’ the way they did with success.

There was, however, a remarkable improvement on the number of Aso Rock visitors last week unlike previous weeks after the presidential poll, with the place recording a good turnout of ministers, security chiefs, foreign diplomats and a few governors.

This was due to some official assignments that took place at the villa, including the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, security meeting, diplomatic meetings and power meetings.

Presidency officials who spoke to our correspondent on the development gave divergent views, with some admitting that what is happening is a demonstration of how fickle human beings, especially Nigerians, could be be.

An official who spoke on condition that his name must not appear in print said, “This will show you how hypocritical politicians could be. When it was obvious that the outgoing regime had what it takes to address their interest politically, even those who had no business coming here were constantly at war with security operatives, seeking to gain entrance to show their fake loyalty and solidarity.

“Now, they have all disappeared, and if you investigate properly, you would discover that some of them are now thronging the home of President-elect, General Buhari to start paying the same fake loyalty even when he has not assumed office. I am sure the president and his aides would have learnt their lesson by now, although lately, that power is transient and political power is quite ephemeral”.
But another official told LEADERSHIP that it was normal that people were no more trooping the presidential villa as usual since the outgoing administration has nothing serious to do apart from preparations for the handover programme on May 29.

The official who preferred not to be named since he was not speaking for the presidency said, “First of all, you must must be mindful of the fact that there is a correlation between activities in the villa and the number of people who come here. You don’t expect that people should crowd the place as usual when they have no business coming here.

“Aside preparation, which is in top gear, for the transition programme billed for May 29, nothing else is happening in Aso Rock. It is only a few of the president’s aides, ministers and top government official who have handover notes to reconcile that should be expected here. To make it look as if the president has been abandoned by his associates and friends just because he lost the election is mischievous”.