The Aso Rock Presidential Villa has suddenly transformed from a beehive of activities to a deserted place, as an aftermath of President Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat at the 2015 presidential poll.The number of prominent Nigerians, including top politicians, business moguls, Christian leaders, expatriates and technocrats as well as lobbyists who throng the place on a daily basis has drastically reduced.
According to reports by close sources to the Presidency, about 800 to 1000 people used to visit the presidential villa weekly before the elections, but only about 150 has visited in the last couple of weeks.
It was observed that between March 28 and last week, the number of persons visiting Jonathan, VP Namadi Sambo, the First Lady and other presidential aides had dropped to just 150 from about 1,000.
Infact it is said that some of these lobbyists used to frolick with the first family round the clock, including joining in the morning prayers at the Villa Chapel but sadly, none of these big men have time to pray with President Jonathan again.
Special functions like retreats, seminars, dinners and other programmes held at the banquet hall, Aso Rock usually played host to thousands of guests, including gate crashers in the past.
Before the presidential poll, there were governors and former governors who visited the president in his office on a regular basis, sometimes twice a week or more, but after the election they have stayed away.
The regular visitors then were Akwa Ibom State Gov, Godswill Akpabio; Benue State Gov, Gabriel Suswam; Ondo State Gov, Olusegun Mimmiko; Bauchi State Gov, Isa Yuguda; Katsina State Gov, Ibrahim Shema and Ekiti State Gov, Ayo Fayose among several others.
Sadly, those even considered as members of Jonathan’s kitchen cabinet have only visited once or twice since March 28 election.
Governor Akpabio showed up only once in the villa, the week after the poll. Mimiko came only last week Thursday. Suswam visited the place last Friday merely to attend the meeting of the board of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Ltd chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Yet some of them have been seen frolicking with members of APC.
The story is not the different in the business community, self acclaimed allies of the President, who turned the villa to their second home before the election, have also deserted the place.
These include the likes of Femi Otedola, Emeka Offor, Arthur Eze, Jim Ovia, and Jimoh Ibrahim among others.
Last on the list is the hordes of Nollywood actors and actresses, musicians and sports stars who have also deserted the villa unlike before Jonathan lost his re-election bid.
As a result of this, security personnels at the gates, who usually had very hectic days clearing people, now have little to no work to do.
Upon entry to Aso Rock, visitors are usually required to present photo identification with information exactly matching the name previously submitted for clearance, and individuals whose identification do not exactly match the name or date cleared would be denied entry.
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 was hardly big enough to contain the hordes of people who came to show solidarity to President Jonathan’s re-election bid.
“They are simply fair weather friends. 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.
“I am sure the president and his aides would have learnt their lessons by now, although late, that power is transient and political power is quite ephemeral,” a close source to the Presidency said. -Societynowng.com
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