Tuesday, 15th June 2021: Renowned labour unionist and elder statesman, Chief Frank Kokori, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as the ‘most inaccessible President, Nigeria has ever produced.
Kokori who spoke in an interview in Lagos also said that the cabal in the Presidency used the advantage of Buhari’s old age to ‘cage him’.
Kokori, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), said people took advantage of Buhari’s old age to exploit the system.
In his words, “Buhari has a limitation and that is age. I think that is one of his problems and those people around him—those we call the Presidency, the cabal or the mafia—are exploiting it. They do anything on his behalf and they would write ‘The Presidency says so.’
Recalled Nigeria has gotten four presidents in this fourth republic which includes President Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari.
Apart from the nation’s First President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Nigeria’s Executive President Sheu Othman Shagari who was the only President in the second republic before the military junta under then Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari ousted him. Of all this lot, President Buhari was described as the most inaccessible in the Presidential Villa.
“He is one of the most inaccessible Presidents in the history of this country. Without his cabal, we don’t get to see him—except for his ministers who see him during the Federal Executive Council meetings. He does not come out; so, you can’t see him,” Kokori added.
He stated that he would instead be referred to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, anytime he requested to see the President.
“I’ve never seen a man like that; I have seen every Nigerian president I wanted to see since I was a young man in NUPENG. Even after I left NUPENG, I could see any president I wanted to see.
“But I can’t see Buhari up till today, apart from when people were campaigning for him in Delta State, he would come to meet us and we would take him round. After that, he would forget everybody,” said Kokori.
He also recalled how he was appointed as the Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund by the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, in October 2017.
He, however, said when President Buhari returned from his medical leave in London, the powerful cabal in the Presidency reversed the appointment.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, later inaugurated his ally, Austin Enajemo-Isire, as the chairman after refusing to inaugurate Kokori for nearly two years.
“They dispel positions, like when I was made the chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund by the then acting President, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, when Buhari went abroad.
“When he came back, they felt that Kokori would be too strong in that position because that is where the workers’ pensions are warehoused and it’s a goldmine for corrupt people.
“In fact, at the last moment, they sold the position to their stooges and you know that struggle. The entirety of Nigerian workers and even the media were backing me, but (the late Chief of Staff) Abba Kyari was in charge. They took the job from me, even though Buhari told me on June 12 that year that ‘you will resume at the end of the week.”
Kokori revealed that Buhari had signed off on his appointment and told Ngige to go ahead and inaugurate him but the President’s directive was disobeyed.