In separate interviews with Premium Times on Wednesday, the former commanders-in-chief, who spoke on strict anonymity, said Buhari should be worried about the direction of his administration.
“I strongly reject the notion that Buhari is helpless in his own cabinet,” one of the former leaders said. “I would never have allowed such humiliating insubordination in my administration. It was unthinkable that my own appointee would oppose my nominee at the National Assembly. No one could have tried that with me. He or she would have paid dearly for it.”
“What happened showed clearly that Buhari is not in charge.”
The second former minister said what happened in the Magu case was “entirely inconceivable in a presidential system anywhere in the world.”
In a painful effort to make sense of the development and convey his “rude shock”, the former leader said Buhari might actually be the one behind the “repeated humiliation of his own nominee”.
“Unless he [Buhari] is the one behind the whole controversy by deliberately double-dealing with his own nominee and other subordinates, there’s no way I would have thought a situation like this will play out as someone who had been privileged to hold that position.
“As far as I am concerned, things seem to have fallen apart. It is also possible that he has never been in control. It is very unfortunate.”
Weighing in further on the controversy, one of the former leaders said the intrigues were a clear indication the president had lost grip of his government.
“For me, it’s clearly disrespectful,” another former commander-in-chief said. “His (Buhari’s) appointees are hostile towards him and I think that’s not something we see regularly in governments across the world.”
The former leader said “not a single one” of his appointees ever made any attempt that could “remotely be deemed an act of insubordination.”
“Never did any of my appointees even tried to override a decision that had been concluded.”
One former president said that heads should roll if Buhari must regain control of his government.