Former President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight-year tenure as Nigeria’s leader came to an end on May 29, 2023, after he handed over power to his successor, President Bola Tinubu.
During his administration, Buhari was surrounded by a number of influential men and women who played key roles in his policies, projects and politics. Some of them were his relatives, aides, ministers, governors and senators.
As the Buhari era fades into history, we take a look at where these ten most powerful (wo)men are now and what they are doing:
– Aisha Buhari: The former first lady of Nigeria was a vocal advocate of women’s and children’s rights, as well as a critic of some aspects of her husband’s government. She also published a book titled Essentials of Beauty Therapy: A Complete Guide for Beauty Specialists. After leaving the presidential villa, Aisha Buhari relocated to London, where she is pursuing a PhD in International Relations at the University of Westminster. She also runs a charity foundation called Future Assured, which focuses on health, education and empowerment of women and youths.
– Tunde Sabiu: The nephew and personal assistant to President Buhari was one of the most influential and controversial figures in the presidency. He was accused of being involved in several shady deals and contracts, as well as having undue influence over the president.
He was also appointed as an assistant director in the National Intelligence Agency, a move that sparked outrage and suspicion. After Buhari’s exit, Sabiu was arrested and charged with illegally owning a shotgun and hundreds of cartridges. He was granted bail, but was re-arrested by the secret police outside the court. His trial is still ongoing.
– Godwin Emefiele: The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria was one of the longest-serving and most powerful appointees of Buhari. He supervised an interventionist currency policy that propped up the naira by pumping billions of dollars into the foreign exchange market.
He also introduced a multiple exchange rate regime to mask pressure on the naira and avoid devaluations. He was suspended by President Tinubu on June 9, 2023, and replaced by Folashodun Shonubi, a former deputy governor of the CBN.
Emefiele was also arraigned and remanded in prison for procurement fraud, involving the award of contracts worth over N500 billion to companies linked to him and his associates. Although, on January 8, 2024, an Abuja court gave a judgement preventing his re-arrest, also issuing a N100 million fine against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for his prolonged detention without trial.
– Ibikunle Amosun: The former governor of Ogun State and two-term senator was a close ally and supporter of Buhari. He was instrumental in delivering the southwest region to the APC in the 2015 and 2019 elections. He also initiated and executed several infrastructural projects in Ogun State, such as roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.
After completing his second term as governor in 2019, he returned to the senate to represent Ogun Central district. He was also appointed as the chairman of the senate committee on capital market.
– Rotimi Amaechi: The former governor of Rivers State and minister of transportation was one of the most loyal and vocal members of Buhari’s cabinet. He oversaw the revival and expansion of Nigeria’s rail network, as well as the development of the maritime and aviation sectors. He was also a key figure in the All Progressive Congress, and was the director-general of Buhari’s campaign organization in 2015 and 2019.
He resigned as minister in 2022 to contest for the presidency under the APC. He came second in the party’s primaries, losing to Tinubu. He also recently bagged a law degree from Baze University in Abuja.