Friday, October 21, 2016

Muhammadu Buhari Vs Aisha Buhari

By Julius Oweh
The relationship between a husband and a wife is so iron clad that no person or matter can come between them especially in a blissful atmosphere.  Wives are known to protect the interest of their husbands especially in the public domain and the stakes are even higher should the husband be a politician and a president at that. Aisha Buhari, the spouse of President Muhammadu Buhari cuts a perfect picture of a dutiful and obedient spouse.
*President Buhari and wife, Aisha
The highly urbane and articulate Aisha was initially not involved in the soap box oratory and campaigns until Madame Patience Jonathan drew her into the arena. Since then, she has continued to distinguished herself as a proud wife and mother both to her children and husband. She has brought intellectualism and dignity to the office of the First Lady even though she has refused to bear the title and preferred to be to as the wife of the president. A case of six and half a dozen!
Courting the mass media is a dangerous terrain to those not aware of its enormous power and influence. The mass media can make or mar any personality depending on the level of interaction. That is why those who know the power and influence of the mass media tread carefully. It is one civics lesson Aisha Buhari may learn rather too late. Speaking to the Hausa service of the BBC, Aisha Buhari lamented that the government of her spouse has been hijacked by a cabal, adding that those who worked for her husband’s victory have been left in the cold.
Listen to part of that interview: "He is yet to tell me 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… The president does not know 45 out of 50.I don't know them either despite been his wife for 27 years. Some of them don't even have voters card and those who made sacrifice have been reduced to nothing and certainly, I ‘m not happy with the way things are going."
The Aisha Buhari assessment is full of candour and the best description yet of the Buhari administration. It has nothing to do with the partisan views of Peoples  Democratic Party, PDP, or that of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State. Coming from a better half of the president, it is really on the mark. It is more of a struggle between spouse obligations and the spirit of patriotism. In this case, patriotism seems to have the upper hand.

President Buhari in a visit to Germany has 'jokingly' dismissed the views of his wife, adding that she belongs to the kitchen, the living room and the other room. This is how President Buhari dismissed the sentiments of his wife: "I don't know which party my wife belongs to but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the  other room.. So I claim superior knowledge over her and the rest of the opposition, because in the end I have succeeded. It is not easy to satisfy the whole Nigerian opposition parties or to participate in the government."
Beyond the public innocent display of the president or what my Warri folks would call bold face, the presidency is not happy with the Aisha Buhari outbursts and specific instructions had been given to media aides not to allow her access to the mass media. There were even reports that the presidency made subtle moves on the BBC not to air the interview. It is rather too late and in Arabic phraseology, the genie is already out of the bottle.
Aisha Buhari many not have the disposition of a  spouse of a former French President that divorced the man based on the reason that she did not like the limelight that came with political office. Aisha Buhari is a woman that has patriotism flowing in her veins and it would be unpatriotic to be quiet when things are going wrong. The sentiments that a certain cabal has hijacked the Buhari government is an echo of Fayose that the government could be liken to a one chance vehicle.  Rather than Buhari fuming with Mrs. Buhari, this should be a moment of retrospection and stock taking. That cabal that hijacked the government and pushing those who campaigned in the rain and shine outside the government must be reined in. That is why some APC members are not happy with the turn of events but some of them have kept sealed lips, hoping against hope that President Buhari may have a change of heart and remember them in appointments.
Presidential family feuds are rare even in advanced nations and this is one area Nigeria can show example to the rest of the world. President Buhari should be proud of his wife for telling him the truth. This is time to change his style. Appointments should reflect the ethnic composition of the country and must have national spread. Policies that advance the progress of the nation should be the norm. No part of the country should be neglected.
Furthermore, the veiled reference that women positions are in the kitchen and bedroom by the president is in the distant past. Women are key players in the economy and politics. It would be a tragedy for some of us to harbour the outdated notion that women should be seen and not heard. Fortunately, Aisha Buhari has broken the glass ceiling by her education and dispassionate reading of the political scene under the control of her husband. Patriotism could not have a better definition. This is a glaring example to other Nigerian women who sheepishly support their husbands when they are on the wrong track. In fact, we need more of such assertive and outspoken women to control the excesses of their men in politics, business and the academic world.
I sincerely appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to continue to shower love on his spouse. Let her be the chief political adviser. This is what the hordes of sycophants around the president cannot tell him.  Political leadership especially in Africa is such a prison that the holder of an office is shielded from the reality by the array of political appointees. Public office holders are more political hostages than office holders . It is only after exit from office that the scale of delusion falls from the eyes of the holder of such office. If President Buhari is still in doubt, he should seek the advice of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Nigerians shall continue to remain grateful to Aisha Buhari for giving us objective assessment of her husband’s tenure. The nation definitely needs more of such patriots.
Julius Oweh, a journalist, wrote from Asaba, Delta State.


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