Editor's note: Rahaman Abiola of Legit.ng, in this piece, explores the daring courage of Nigeria's first lady, Aisha Buhari. He highlights four times she stood against her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the APC in defence of truth and sense of justice.
Of all the first ladies who have backed their husbands to the Nigeria’s Aso-Rock power house, Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, seems to be of a different breed.
The reason is not far-fetched, hers is a narration distinct from the story of array of first ladies Nigeria has witnessed in recent times, especially when compared with the embarrassing legacies of dramatic relief laid by her predecessor, Dame Patience Jonathan.
Although every first lady comes with peculiar features, Aisha - with her classy personality, look of glamour and enviable wit - will forever go down the memory lane as a brave woman with touches of chivalry outside power.
Within the first three years of her being the first lady, she has come a long way to break the tradition of silence in women dominant in her culture. This is a kind of entrapment that subjects womenfolk under the domineering influence of patriarchy.
She is forthright and vocal. She redefines the position she occupies completely without bias.
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Recently, the first lady went weird when she berated the just concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) primary across all levels. The 47-year-old beauty therapist, in her usual pointblank criticism, accused the Oshiomhole-led APC of injustice during the party’s just concluded primary processes.
While this is seemingly surprising and strange, the truth is that her attack on APC primary will not be the first time she will drag attention to herself. Prior to this, the first lady has talked tough on a system she is part of, creating impression that she has an ulterior motif against the government and party her husband takes the captain seat.
This piece highlights four times Aisha Buhari criticised either her husband or the APC-led government as a whole.
1. Cabals ruling my husband’s government
In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa's journalist, Naziru Mikailu in October 2016, Aisha broke the internet while affirming the long-standing allegation of incompetence and nepotism levelled against her husband.
Prior to Aisha's show of anger, President Buhari was in the eye of storm with people accusing him of being a smokescreen leader. People were saying that the control of the country was in the hands of his few kinsmen like Mamman Daura.
Surprisingly, contrary to what anybody might think of, Aisha toed the hard peddlers when she admitted that Nigeria, under the watch of her husband, was being run by a ‘few people’ known as cabals.
She said: “The president does not know 45 out of the 50 of the people he appointed, and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife for 27 years. Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position.”
Similarly, Aisha's criticism came when the political tension in the country was on the rise. Then, the president’s fading health had generated ripples of controversy in the country. Besides, PDP, the major political party was trying to fix its internal problems using all propaganda means to drag APC down to disrepute.
But responding to the allegation, President Buhari who was on a visit to Germany, replied that having contested for three times before eventually emerging a president in 2015, he “claims superior knowledge over her (Aisha).”
President Buhari in his humorous wit further remarked: "I don’t know which party my wife belongs to but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and other room.'’
2. I may not support my husband’s second term ambition
In April 14, 2017, the social media was awash by the statement credited to Aisha Buhari where she threatened not to support her husband due to what she described as a ‘sense of justice.’
When asked the reason behind her outburst during an interview session with BBC journalist, Aisha said she did not mean to disrespect anybody but was only saying the truth expected of her.
She also added that her criticism was because she was seeing the mandate given to her husband being abused by those beside him.
The biggest shock came when she expressed that she might not support the re-election of her husband come 2019.
She said: “He is yet to tell me —if he’ll seek re-election— but I have decided as his wife, that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again.”
When asked why she criticised the APC government, she further added: “I need to state that my position was a result of my sense of justice and not confrontation or disrespect. I was brought up to stand by the truth and this is how I have always been.”
“As we are all aware, Nigerians elected this administration based on the trust and confidence they have on my husband. I therefore feel that we are here to serve Nigeria to the best of our ability. Let me use this opportunity to state that I support my husband in this call to service and will continue to do so.”
3. Jackals leading the government
In the wake of calls across different quarters for President Buhari’s resignation in 2017 due to his deteriorating health (he was away in London on medical ground), the outspoken senator representing Kaduna central at the Senate, Senator Shehu Sani, came on Facebook with his usual tantrum to lampoon how the country’s ship was being driven by a committee of cabals, making Nigeria a difficult place to be.
Sani, using an allegory of animals, said: “Prayer for the absent Lion King has waned. Until he’s back, then they will fall over each other to be on the front row of the palace temple. Now, the hyenas and the jackals are scheming and talking to each other in whispers; still doubting whether the Lion King will be back or not.
Now, the Lion King is asleep and no other dares to confirm if he will wake up or not. It is the wish of the hyenas that the Lion King never wake up or come back so that they can be kings. It is the prayers of the weaker animals that the Lion King comes back to save the kingdom from the hyenas, the wolves and other predators.”
But in her response, using the same allegory, Aisha expressed that: “God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The hyenas and the jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom. We strongly believe in the prayers and support of the weaker animals.”
Alluding to George Orwell’s Animal Farm philosophy of allegory, the weaker animals both the first lady and Senator Sani were referring to are helpless Nigerians forced into an entrapment by the absence of the ‘Lion king,’ President Buhari.
The hyenas and jackals are the few privileged ruling class deciding the fate of the country at Aso-Rock.
4. Oshiomhole-led APC is a disappointment
A day after her husband was declared the APC presidential flag-bearer for 2019, Aisha Buhari shook the social media when she openly expressed her displeasure with the way the just concluded APC primaries were conducted.
In a press release, the first lady accused APC under the watch of Oshiomhole of injustice, adding that some aspirants who paid for party’s nomination and expression of interest were side-lined in the primary process.
She said: “It is disheartening to note that some aspirants used their hard earned money to purchase nomination forms, got screened, cleared and campaigned vigorously yet found their names omitted on Election Day, these forms were bought at exorbitant prices.
"Many others contested and yet had their result delayed, fully knowing that AUTOMATIC tickets have been given to other people.
"All Progressives Congress being a party whose cardinal principle is change and headed by a comrade/ activist whose main concern is for the common man, yet, such impunity could take place under its watch. Given this development, one will not hesitate than DISSOCIATE from such unfairness, be neutral and speak for the voiceless.
"It is important for the populace to rise against impunity and for voters to demand from aspirants to be committed to the provision of basic amenities."
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Legit.ng.
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Nigeria News: Aisha Buhari Backs President Husband | Legit.ng TV