Wife of the Nigerian President, Aisha Buhari, granted a BBC interview that has engaged Nigerians in an active conversation since the audio clip became public hours ago.
In the 58-second snippet, Aisha Buhari expressed displeasure at President Buhari’s ministerial appointments and his overall approach to running the government (in her terms), she even went ahead to dissociate herself from his campaign in 2019 (if there will be any).
Earlier in the week, when a transcript of the video was leaked on the internet, our theory was that the President has had to repay some campaign-period favours since his administration began, the most recent one being the withdrawal of the forgery case against Senate President Bukola Saraki.
We know the nation is now consumed by her husband’s impolitic response, but let’s go back to the substance of the matter.
If not the entirety of this theory, but for most parts, Mrs Buhari has confirmed our fears on the matter of her husband looking control of his own government, and here are five takeaways from her assertions:
- This defeats every excuse President Buhari gave in the delay in ministerial appointments: Contrary to what was sold to us in 2015 when the presidency delayed picking ministers for a record 6 months, the First Lady has strongly asserted that some political forces influenced the appointment of ministers. And we believe her. At the time, we were told that President Buhari was following the principle of “Separation of Powers” and was not accepting nominees by state governors because apparently, his administration was sworn to changing the face of governance in the country. The abysmal performance of some of these ministers and the ridiculous excuses they have given for their ineptitude cements Aisha Buhari’s claims.
- We should take Aisha Buhari more seriously: Forget that she knows next to nothing about politics as some people have said, no one knows a man like his partner. This has to be the first time the First Lady of a sitting president in Nigeria boldly criticizes their husband in public and not on personal or family issues but on issues that actually concern the nation. Whether it looks right for her image and that of the President or not, we have to commend her brazen sincerity in these matters. Although she claims the President has not voiced his intention to contest in the 2019 election to her directly, it is clear that such plans may be in the works.
- President or figurehead: We assume that if President Buhari “does not know” most of the top officials in his government like his wife claims, then there are so many other things he “does not know”. In her words, “the President does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed”. So, we imagine that our so-called president sits in his office and receives recommendations for these positions but has no actual power to check the background of these individuals because he can’t question the demands of the “few people” who run things in the background. He approves the recommended individuals and gets a thumbs up from the people who run this puppet show. All of this being the case if Aisha Buhari is telling the truth. It’s difficult to believe considering the President held us spellbound with that line in his acceptance speech in 2015 when he said “I am for everybody and for nobody.”
- There is some sort of crisis in the Buhari family: Beyond her concern for the state of the nation (though we know that concern is not genuine), Aisha Buhari has deep-seated resentment for her husband and we know this because, the interview. A First Lady as we’ve always known is a pillar of support for the President on the good and especially, the bad days. We saw that in late Stella Obasanjo and the unforgettable Patience Jonathan. Just as we were playing with the possibility of a crisis in the President’s household in our heads, this happened.
- Governor Fayose was right the whole time: The Ekiti state governor is the number one critic of not only President Buhari’s government but his person too. For all the times Governor Fayose has called the president clueless, incompetent and senile, we now have confirmation that all these may just be true.
When a character like Ayodele Fayose turns out to be right – it means something is terribly, terribly wrong, everywhere.
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