This could also have probably led to a drastic reduction in the number of child brides in the country – the highest in Africa. I am not saying this out of spite but in recognition of the First Lady’s strong convictions and immense political sagacity.
She knows how to grab Nigerians’ attention at will. She knows what to say, when to talk and the appropriate channel to utilise in passing her message across. She was, for instance, the first to tell Nigerians that her husband was not in control of his government.
She also threatened that she might not support him for a second term in office if things continued the way they were. Somehow, she succeeds in attracting some sympathy from Nigerians even when it was glaring that her complaints are centered around herself, family and personal interests.
Some of us can still remember how the All Progressives Congress set up a parallel campaign body with the First Lady being in charge of one prior to the 2019 presidential election and how Aisha recently went to Kogi State to beg the people to re-elect a governor that had not paid workers’ salaries for years.
Part of the statement she personally signed on Wednesday indicted Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesperson, who she accused of telling Nigerians that there would be no office of the First Lady in 2015without her husband’s instruction. She claimed Shehu took orders from Mamman Daura, her husband’s influential nephew, who does not hold any official position in this administration.
For that reason and many others more, she thinks Shehu is no longer fit to be her husband’s spokesperson.
The President clearly stated that the office of the First Lady was not in the constitution. Buhari, in an interview he granted to Weekly Trust in December 2014 (though the web page is no longer available) had categorically stated that he would not have an office of the First Lady.
He said the Ministry of Women Affairs should be allowed to play its role unhindered.
If the office of the First Lady is constitutionally recognised, he will not tamper with it, but if it is not that’s okay.
They also lead in the fight for the right of women and malnourished children, infant mortality rate, kidnapping and girl-child trafficking.”
Yet, this government never scrapped the office. Rather, President Buhari merely changed the title of the office from the First Lady to Wife of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria in his first term. Just as under other administrations, Aisha’s office has always been occupied by staff members, aides, security details and protocol officials, attached to her.
In 2019, the office was officially designated as the Office of the First Lady through the pronouncement of Aisha herself. While changing her title, she said it was her choice not to be called the First Lady and that she had changed her mind. That’s governance in Nigeria for you!
That sounds like an insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerians. From Aisha’s latest statement, it seems most things she and her husband said before the 2015 elections were carefully crafted to deceive gullible Nigerians for electoral gains.
For me, I don’t see a big deal in retaining or scrapping the office of a first lady. Neither does the absence of such office distress any reasonable Nigerian woman as claimed by Aisha. I think Nigerian women are more interested in seeing a President’s wife that can use her influence to touch the lives of the downtrodden, the oppressed and the forgotten in the society.
Wife of one of Nigeria’s former vice presidents, Mrs Titilayo Atiku, once used her Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication project to wage war against forced prostitution and other forms of human trafficking in the country.
Her pet project was more popular than that of the late First Lady, Mrs Stella Obasanjo, because it touched on a core problem in the Nigerian society then.
This goes beyond making political statements once in a while. Instead of the unending drama of bringing her family’s battle to the court of Nigerians all the time, Mrs Buhari should use her power and position to draw the attention of wealthy Nigerians to the problem of school children still learning under trees in Nigeria.
The honest truth is that the disloyalty of a presidential aide to his boss cannot pass for a Nigeria’s problem? The President elected the aide and he has the power to sack him. Aisha should know how to get her husband to do that. If she cannot, too bad! Some of us are tired of the endless drama coming from the first family’s abode. It is no longer entertaining. It is becoming increasingly boring.
Nigerians need some breathing space. We want something more refreshing from the office of the First Lady.
Interestingly, Adamawa, the home state of Mrs Buhari, is one of such states. Others are Sokoto, Kano, Zamfara, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Bauchi, Yobe, Borno and Gombe.