One week after the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as president and Yemi Osinbajo as vice president, both men are yet to settle into the presidential villa, the country’s seat of power.
Although Goodluck Jonathan, the immediate past president and Namadi Sambo, his deputy, took Buhari and Osinbajo on a familarisation tour of the villa a day before handing over, their successors only hosted the inauguration dinner at Aso Rock and have been operating from different locations ever since.
While Buhari has been performing his duties at the defence house, official residence of the president-elect where he met with service chiefs on Wednesday, Osinbajo has been operating from his private residence in the Asokoro area of Abuja.
Buhari does not reside at the defence house, situated in the Mataima area of the federal capital territory (FCT). He only hosts visitors there, and returns to his private residence at Aso Drive, still in the FCT.
A state house correspondent told TheCable that the current development is affecting a lot of things.
“There is so much confusion at the moment. We don’t go to the villa anymore. The key staff like security, protocol and media have resumed at defence house,” he said.
“We just resume and hope to cover one assignment or the other. It is not a conducive place to hang around because there are not enough seats. Nothing happened at the defence house today (Friday).
“We were told to go to his [Buhari’s] residence at Aso Drive for some assignments only for us to get there to discover that they had finished. We went to the mosque after we left the house and it has been very quiet since then.
“We heard this might continue for another two weeks or more.”
Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, said Buhari had yet to move to the villa because his official residence was not ready for habitation.
“As far as the president is concerned, the place (his official residence) is not ready yet,” he told Punch. “Workers are cleaning and refurbishing the place. Once the exercise is completed, the president will move in.”
But some Nigerians have expressed dissatisfaction with Shehu’s response.
“I read what was attributed to Shehu and I shook my head. What do they take us for?” asked Sanya Ladenobi, a businessman based in Lagos.
“Even if we are to believe that the official residence is being rehabilitated, what about the offices? I just don’t see any reason in all this. Could they be carrying out some spiritual cleansing or what, because this is Africa where a lot happen.”
Michael Otobo, a civil servant in Abuja, is of the opinion that the government is not starting on a good note.
“Some people are saying it is too early to make comments about this government without knowing that every minute in the life of any nation counts,” he said.
“This administration had eight weeks for planning, eight solid weeks. For me, I feel the government has hit the ground crawling, as against the running it promised.
“Osinbajo in Sudan, Buhari in Niger, Chad and Germany. International travels would always be there every other day, but your first impression as a government would not be there.
“Five days in our expectant national life, yet no ministers, no economic plan, even the 15 advisers, we don’t know. The government with the largest goodwill in the nation’s history has to sit up.
“We have just been getting different rumours on appointment. Time is of essence.”