SHOLA JAMES was at Daura, Katsina State where Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s modest apartment sits with others

Daura is a very important town not only to Katsina State but to the entire Hausa race. The town carved another niche for itself recently: it is the hometown of the President-elect, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

Daura, which lies in the savannah zone, occupies a very important position in the history of the Hausa.

It is generally accepted as the origin of the Hausa states (Hausa Bakwai) and it had in time past been under the rule of females (Queens) known as Magajiya and others.

Daura is a predominantly Hausa/Fulani Muslim town centrally located on the northern apex of Nigeria which borders Kano, Jigawa states and Zinder in Niger Republic.

As the sun beat down hard on the President’s home town that sunny afternoon, everyone Punch correspondent made inquiries from regarding Buhari’s residence was happy to lend a helping hand.

The personal residence of the President-elect in Daura is located at the Government Reserved Area.

Navigating the road to the GRA, the sun was still ferocious but this came to an end as Punch correspondent found his way. The reason was not far-fetched. The Daura GRA is heavily screened by trees with lush green leaves cascading down their umbrella-like branches.

There, the modest three-bedroom bungalow of Buhari, a former military head of state is tucked. It is a few metres off Daura-Kwangolam road, nestling the Daura Shagari Low Cost Housing Estate. The building is almost nondescript thus attracting no attention. It is painted white.

The structure is, however, protected from the glaring eyes of the public by average-height concrete perimeter fence. The massive dark-green metal gate that serves as entrance is bordered by a gatehouse with a small window.

It is from there that the security guard peeped out to ask what the mission of Punch correspondent was.

The structure reportedly was built in 1983. Incidentally, Buhari became the military head of state in a coup d’état on December 31, 1983. Prior to this, he was a one-time Military Governor of North-Eastern (now Borno) State, a former Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources, and General Officer Commanding of more than two military divisions.

The surrounding fence of the property is not as high as to prevent passers-by from observing whatever event that is going on inside the General’s residence.

Apart from the fence, the entire building is devoid of heavy barbed wire around it. Similarly, from the outside because of the harsh weather, the neem trees and other plants have grown to further beautify the modest structure.

About 1,500 metres from the residential building, Buhari’s farmhouse stands modestly, surrounded by white sands.

Despite the presence of security operatives moving in, out and around the house, the entrance to the house is not restricted.

Children, youths and others visit the house at all times to exchange greetings with the General’s aides, who reside there.

Going through the wide dark-green gate, one is thrown into the embrace of various flowers, trees and grass which surround the house. The general ambience around the house exudes tranquillity. This probably explains why a neighbour, who craved anonymity, described it as a resting garden.

The building itself is located somewhere close to the middle of the yard with space on both sides as well as the front and back. The space within the abode is enough to give the needed relaxation.

A number of his neighbours who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH said they were humbled to have Buhari close to them.

“We have learnt a lot from the General because he is someone that is principled, strong-willed and quite dependable,” one of them said.

They added that the General identifies with them and that they had no alternative but to ensure his victory during the last general elections.

A neighbour who pleaded anonymity, said, “We shall continue to support and assist him with prayers to enable him do the right things for our great nation, Nigeria.”

Another neighbour, Malam Habu told SUNDAY PUNCH that residents of Daura are very grateful to God for enabling the General to win the election this time around.

He said, “In 1983, when he became head of state, most people had started adjusting their lifestyles owing to some of his administration’s programmes and policies. Look at where he started from, how he has asked his immediate family members and dependants, to find legitimate jobs to do, as anyone of them caught committing a crime would have himself to blame, meaning that none of the them will be spared the rod.”

Salisu Leko, a primary schoolmate of the General said the President-elect has a listening ear for all, including his seniors, mates and immediate neighbours.

Leko, however, said this caring trait of Buhari does not prevent him from calling erring acquaintances to order.

He said, “Anyone found wanting among those he knows or close to him will surely be called to order because he hates cheats. He will not allow cheating wherever he finds himself.”

Leko, who is the Yarin Daura, a Daura traditional title, added that the country would witness “change” during Buhari’s tenure if he gets the desired support and cooperation.

He said, “Buhari loves the downtrodden; whatever he can do to bridge the wide gap presently created between the rich and the poor makes him happy.”

Leko said job creation would be Buhari’s utmost agenda.

“The situation we are now in calls for concern; people can no longer be assured of three square meals per day and this is the type of fight he will engage in during his tenure to improve the lot of all,” he said.

Musan Chairman, a driver to the General’s elder brother described Buhari as strict and law-abiding, adding that Nigerians, would witness more instances of the recently reported incident where Buhari asked his convoy to obey traffic rules.

Chairman said, “I have been close to the family for years. No one gets undue favour. I remember when a worker in the house reported to the General that he had yet to receive his pay and other entitlements. He (Buhari) immediately called the person responsible to explain and directed that the worker’s salaries and other entitlements be paid instantly. He also demanded an apology from the culprit.”

Similarly, Lawal Nata’ala, a businessman, said with the second coming of Buhari, Nigeria would be a better place, but called for the support of Nigerians.

Nata’ala said, “We must be ready to give our support, because no good thing happens so soon. Yes, expectations are very high and all eyes are now on him to redeem this country from its present ‘comatose state.’ We should pray for his administration fervently to enable him make the change that he has dreamt of for this great nation, Nigeria.”


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