The Spiritual side of Aso Villa By Reuben Abati


People tend to be alarmed when the Nigerian Presidency takes certain

decisions. They don’t think the decision makes sense. Sometimes, they

wonder if something has not gone wrong with the thinking process at that

highest level of the country.
I have heard people insist that there is some form of witchcraft at work

in the country’s seat of government. I am ordinarily not a superstitious

person, but working in the Villa, I eventually became convinced that there

must be something supernatural about power and closeness to it. I’ll start

with a personal testimony. I was given an apartment to live in inside the

Villa. It was furnished and equipped. But when my son, Michael arrived,

one of my brothers came with a pastor who was supposed to stay in the

apartment. But the man refused claiming that the Villa was full of evil

spirits and that there would soon be a fire accident in the apartment. He

complained about too much human sacrifice around the Villa and advised

that my family must never sleep overnight inside the Villa.

I thought the man was talking nonsense and he wanted the luxury

of a hotel accommodation. But he turned out to be right. The day I hosted

family friends in that apartment and they slept overnight, there was

indeed a fire accident. The guests escaped and they were so thankful. Not

long after, the President’s physician living two compounds away had a fire

accident in his home. He and his children could have died. He escaped with

bruises.  Around the Villa while I was there, someone always died or their

relations died. I can confirm that every principal officer suffered one

tragedy or the other; it was as if you needed to sacrifice something to

remain on duty inside that environment. Even some of the women became

merchants of dildo because they had suffered a special kind of death in

their homes (I am sorry to reveal this) and many of the men complained

about something that had died below their waists too. The ones who did not

have such misfortune had one ailment or the other that they had to nurse.

From cancer to brain and prostate surgery and whatever, the Villa was a

hospital full of agonizing patients.
I recall the example of one particular man, an asset to the

Jonathan Presidency who practically ran away from the Villa. He said he

needed to save his life. He was quite certain that if he continued to hang

around, he would die.  I can’t talk about colleagues who lost daughters

and sons, brothers and uncles, mothers and fathers, and the many

obituaries that we issued. Even the President was multiply bereaved. His

wife, Mama Peace was in and out of hospital at a point , undergoing many

surgeries. You may have forgotten but after her husband lost the election

and he conceded victory, all her ailments vanished, all scheduled

surgeries were found to be no longer necessary and since then she has been

hale and hearty.  By the same token, all those our colleagues who used to

come to work to complain about a certain death beneath their waists and

who relied on videos and other instruments to entertain wives (take it

easy boys, I don’t mean nay harm, I am writing!), have all experienced a

Every one who went under the blade has received miraculous healing,

and we are happy to be out of that place. But others were not so lucky.

They died. There were days when convoys ran into ditches and lives were

lost. In Norway, our helicopter almost crashed into a mountain. That was

the first time I saw the President panicking, The weather was all so hazy

and he just kept saying it would not be nice for the President of a

country to die in a helicopter crash due to pilot miscalculations. The

President went into a prayer mode. We survived. In Kenya once, we had a

bird strike. The plane had to be recalled and we were already airborne

with the plane acting like it would crash. During the 2015 election

campaigns, our aircraft refused to start on more than one occasion. The

aircraft just went dead. On some other occasions, we were stoned and

directly targeted for evil. I really don’t envy the people who work in Aso

Villa, the seat of Nigeria’s Presidency. For about six months, I couldn’t

even breathe properly. For another two months, I was on crutches. But I

considered myself far luckier than the others who were either nursing a

terminal disease or who could not get it up.
When Presidents make mistakes, they are probably victims of a force

higher than what we can imagine. Every student of Aso Villa politics would

readily admit that when people get in there, they actually become

something else.  They act like they are under a spell. When you issue a

well- crafted statement, the public accepts it wrongly. When the President

makes a speech and he truly means well, the speech is interpreted wrongly

by the public. When a policy is introduced, somehow, something just goes

wrong. In our days, a lot of people used to complain that the APC people

were fighting us spiritually and that there was a witchcraft dimension to

the governance process in Nigeria. But the APC folks now in power are

dealing with the same demons. Since Buhari government assumed office, it

has been one mistake after another. Those mistakes don’t look normal, the

same way they didn’t look normal under President Jonathan. I am therefore

convinced that there is an evil spell enveloping this country.  We need to

rescue Nigeria from the forces of darkness. Aso Villa should be converted

into a spiritual museum, and abandoned.
Should I become President of Nigeria tomorrow , I will build a new

Presidential Villa: a Villa that will be dedicated to the all-conquering

Almighty, and where powers and principalities cannot hold sway.  But it is

not about buildings and space, not so?. It is about the people who go to

the highest levels in Nigeria.  I really don’t quite believe in

superstitions, but I am tempted to suggest that this is indeed a country

in need of prayers, We should pray before people pack their things into

Aso Villa. We should ask God to guide us before we appoint Ministers.  We

should, to put it in technocratic language, advise that the people should

be very vigilant. We have all failed so far, that crucial test of

vigilance. We should have a Presidential Villa where a President can

afford to be human and free. In the White House, in the United States,

Presidents live like normal human beings. In Aso Villa, that is

impossible. They’d have to surround themselves with cooks from their

villages, bodyguards from their mother’s clans and friends they can trust.

It should be possible to be President of Nigeria without having to look

behind one’s shoulders. But we are not yet there. So, how do we run a

Presidency where the man in the saddle can only drink water served by his

kinsman?  No. How can we possibly run a Presidency where every President

proclaims faith in Nigeria but they are better off in the company of

relatives and kinsmen. No. We need as Presidents men and women who are

wiling to be Nigerians. No Nigerian President should be in spiritual

bondage because he belongs to all of us and to nobody.

Now let me go back to the spiritual dimension. A colleague once told me

that I was the most naïve person around the place. I thought I was a

bright, smart, professional doing my bit and enjoying the President’s

confidence.  I spelled it out. But what I got in response was that I was

coming to the villa using Lux soap, but that most people around the place

always bathed in the morning with blood. Goat blood. Ram blood. Whatever

animal blood. I argued. He said there were persons in the Villa walking

upside down, head to the ground. I screamed. Everybody looked normal to

me. But I soon began to suspect that I was in a strange environment

indeed. Every position change was an opportunity for warfare. Civil

servants are very nice people; they obey orders, but they are not very

nice when they fight over personal interests.
The President is most affected by the atmosphere around him. He can

make wrong decisions based on the cloud of evil around him. Even when he

means well and he has taken time to address all possible outcomes, he

could get on the wrong side of the public. A colleague called me one day

and told me a story about how a decision had been taken in the spiritual

realm about the Nigerian government. He talked about the spirit of error,

and how every step taken by the administration would appear to the public

like an error. He didn’t resign on that basis but his words proved

prophetic. I see the same story being re-enacted. Aso Villa is in urgent

need of redemption. I never slept in the apartment they gave me in that

Villa for an hour.
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