Twenty three days after taking the oath of office, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday moved into his official residence, the Aso Villa in Abuja.
Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo operated from the Defence House, Abuja after their inauguration to allow renovation of the facilities at the sprawling Villa.
Military President Ibrahim Babangida built the complex and was the first leader to occupy the place after moving the seat of government from Lagos to the Federal Capital Territory in 1991.
The movement of the capital to Abuja was proposed by the Murtala Muhammed military government in 1975.
Aso Rock Presidential Villa houses the President’s residence and office. It is variously called Aso Villa, The Villa, Aso Rock and State House.
The Aso Villa is located in the Three Arms Zone in the Central Business District of Abuja. The National Assembly Complex and the Nigerian Supreme Court are also located in the three arms zone.
The Presidential Villa is built on the valley of the geographical feature, Aso rock, a 400-meter monolith.
Apart from Gen Babangida, the other leaders who have occupied the place are: Chief Ernest Shonekan, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and now Buhari.
The President’s wife, Aisha, moved into the official residence last Thursday before the President joined her.
Buhari returned to Abuja from his home town, Daura in Katsina State on Saturday and officials began moving his personal effects yesterday before he moved in.
It is believed that the tempo of activities in government will increase this week as vital appointments are expected to be made.
Already the president is being perceived as starting slowly in some quarters but the All Progressives Congress (APC) said he is taking his time to pick his winning team.
Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu said the President did not move into the Presidential Villa on May 29 because it was not ready for habitation.
He said the President chose to live in a rented apartment until the work was completed.
He said: “They claim some renovation was going on; the place is being cleaned up for his occupation. The contractors are probably working at their pace.
“I am not saying he’s comfortable where he is at his rented house, but he is operating from there at the moment and when the Villa is ready, he will move.”
Shehu was also quoted as saying: “As far as the President is concerned, the place (his official residence) is not ready yet.
“Workers are cleaning and refurbishing the place. Once the exercise is completed, the President will move in.”