[The Presidential blog]: The 7 ways Garba Shehu’s defense of Buhari doesn’t make sense

It is no News that having six aides attending to your media needs will not preclude the inability to properly respond to any situation. Our President has proven this and his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity too. The latter, one too many times.

Yesterday, Mallam Garba Shehu decided that rather than wait the storm out as usual, he’ll swing right to action and defend his boss’ unpresidential and derogatory remarks. He decided to pin it on us for having no sense of humour. What a joke!

And in case you’ve found yourself almost believing this nonsense about the comments being just banter, keep reading. I have got 7 reasons why nothing about his defense makes sense.

1. He laughed before he made the statement?

So? The fact that the President laughed of the question in no way translates to mean that he was about to crack a joke. The brief smirk reveals how little he thinks of what Aisha Buhari had said. It shows he was lightly amused by her boldness. The kind of brief amusement that usually precedes a put-down of the exact nature he spewed the moment he started to speak.

2. Banter? I think not.

This is what banter looks like. Banter involves a back and forth. At least two people. Banter is fun. Banter inspires others to genuinely laugh. Are we laughing Mr. Shehu? Are Nigerians laughing? Are emotional and verbal abuse now fair topics to banter on?

Garba Shehu like his boss have far underestimated Nigerians’ capacity to see beyond the surface because if they have not, they won’t continuously take the “it-can-all-be-explained-away” approach to handling tricky situations.

3. The President had literally just expressed his lack of respect for women in the society

Saying that the President respects the role of women in the society simpliciter was just not acceptable and the word to describe it would be ‘redundant’ but we cannot say that, can we?. So he believes in the abilities of women (though clearly not his wife’s) in the kitchen, in the living room and bedroom? Is that what Mr. Shehu was trying to say?

The President does not respect the ‘place’ of women in our society and believe in their abilities just because you have said so. No, that’s not how sense works.

4. If you have tried a tactic before that failed, it makes no sense to try it again.

Remember when the Presidency finally responded to the issue of the man who named his dog Buhari? He went off course and said a lot about how the President finds caricatures amusing. Not everything can be explained away by pinning it on humour. Sometimes accept responsibility and move on.

5. Wrong time; wrong place; wrong audience

By the time Garba Shehu sent in his tweets, we had already watched the video and we had also got Chancellor Angela Merkel, Buhari’s host’s response. So we assume that Mr Garba also had. And this sums up her response:

Also, this picture does not look like the person who was around him at the time caught an bit of his humour.


Even if (and one needs to be extremely careful in saying this) the President was truly joking. Let us assume for our own sake that what the President said was merely a word-for-word quote of a private joke he had shared with Aisha Buhari in #TheOtherRoom. Is that the platform where he should have shared the joke? In front of a female world leader, where the whole world was listening and in 2016 when thousands have died for women’s rights and the injustice of suppressing the female voice.

If anything, Mr. Shehu’s response only proves how crass and insensitive the President’s words made him look.

6. Using Mrs Adeosun as an example of PMB’s of confidence in women’s abilities

Let us not even speak about Mrs. Adeosun’s current unpopularity. That’s a given.

What renders this point pointless as a defense is as simple as the fact that Mr. Garba Shehu was only able to mention one woman in  the President’s cabinet. One woman and that proves that he reposes confidence in women? Okay Mr. Garba, sir.

7. Finally, there was only one way out for the President and Garba Shehu’s uncharacteristic quick response has most likely ruined it.

The  only way the President could have commenced the journey to redeem himself would have been a sincere, and seen-to-be-sincere apology publicly tendered; first to his wife and then to women all around Nigeria. Only way. Only way.

Now that Mr Garba has said he was joking, chances are that will be the end of the matter as far as the Presidency is concerned. And that’s just a shame!

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