Things are no longer at ease within Aso Rock Villa, the sprawling complex that houses the nation’s president, vice president, their staff and families, an investigation by The Point can authoritatively reveal.
Impeccable sources within the Villa told this newspaper that President Muhammadu Buhari had brought his famous spartan lifestyle to bear on all activities in the seat of power. The sources added that some of the Presidency staff, who were used to the freewheeling days of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, were not happy about the President’s austerity measures.
Many Villa staff, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, contrasted the styles of the two presidents and shared insights into the current situation at the Villa.
“President Buhari’s Spartan lifestyle has affected everything here and it is the reason that human traffic has reduced heavily in the Villa,” a source said.
Our correspondent reliably gathered that Buhari’s anti-corruption stance and austerity measures were responsible for the reduction in the number of jobbers coming to the villa.
Although President Buhari has changed the usual practice of a Muslim President observing the Friday Jumat prayer at the National Mosque located in the heart of Abuja, preferring instead to worship at the Aso Rock Mosque, attendance at the Villa Mosque has reduced considerably.
The Villa Chapel, where Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo worships, has also seen a sharp reduction in the number of worshippers every Sunday. Previously, politicians, contractors and job seekers attended the Chapel in droves to catch the attention of former Christian Presidents.
Findings showed that, unlike in the past when cocktails and other parties were held regularly at the Villa, social events were no longer commonplace. The source said House 7, one of the buildings in the complex, was notorious for night parties and other social events. However, the building is now deserted.
“Champagne, one of the symbols of Aso Rock political glamour, has also disappeared. It used to be everywhere. The current official drinks in the Villa are kunu and zobo,” the source said.
According to the source, a former First Lady reportedly went round the Guest Houses to retrieve all the choice wines and champagne prior to her departure. The Buhari team, he added, met almost empty wine cellars and had done little to replenish the stock since then.