NIGERIANS yesterday closed ranks in their condemnation of President Muhammadu Buhari over his statement to the effect that his wife,Mrs. Aisha Buhari, who lamented that the All Progressives Congress,APC-led Federal Government had been hijacked, lacked knowledge of the workings of his administration.
Made up of women activists, party leaders, and socio-political organisations among others, the angry Nigerians did not take the President’s response lightly.
In faulting the inability of the first family to be on the same page on the way the country is being governed, those who spoke to Saturday Vanguard and others, who aired their opinions on the social media said the development portends danger for the polity.
They, however, urged President Buhari to heed his wife’s suggestion, noting that being the wife of the President placed her in a position to make informed statements.
The development which indicated that the crisis in APC may have come to a head resulted in the President and his wife disagreeing on call by the later for the restructuring of the former’s cabinet in order to put an end to claims of non-performance against his ministers.
The wife of the President had in an interview with the BBC lamented that the crisis in the ruling party was provoked by the hijack of the party by those, who contributed nothing to its ascension to power.
While Mrs. Buhari said a restructuring of the President’s team would assuage the anger of aggrieved party members, Buhari, while briefing newsmen in Germany, said his administration was succeeding. She said: “He is yet to tell me if he will 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.” The President, however, said his knowledge of the workings of the government surpassed the understanding of his wife and the opposition.
Those, who spoke to Vanguard include the Spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, Prof Dayo Adeyeye; a former Minster of Women Affairs, Mrs. Josephine Anenih; Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Muhammed; retired Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav; National Publicity Secretary of Pan-Yoruba socio-political organistaion, Afefenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin; Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre,WARDC, Dr. Biola Akiyode- Afolabi; Acting National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Timi Frank; former Secretary of PDP in Benue State, Mr. Tertsea Gbise and Publicity Secretary of the APC in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, who made his position known on his Facebook page.
The statement has taken us backward—Afolabi
Reacting to the issue, Afolabi, a woman activist, said: ‘’The statement has actually taken us backward and I think it is an affirmation of his position on gender equality. Such statement was not expected. The fact that he made the statement in Germany where he was beside a female President, made the statement very unfortunate. It was indeed an unfortunate statement. There is a need for Nigerian women to reaffirm themselves beyond the stereotyping of their position in the society. The wife’s statement which he responded to showed that the role of women goes beyond the kitchen.
‘’He has drawn us back to ancient days. With the wave around the world including Germany with a female leadership and the US which is preparing for another, the President has only spoken his mind. Unfortunately, this cannot be tolerated in this generation. We will join his wife to resist any second attempt to introduce patriarchy except he retracts the statement. His statement is condemnable.”
We are stunned—Anenih
Similarly, Anenih said: “The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot belong to his kitchen. When we first read it we were stunned. Then we did not believe he could have said it. But watching him on a video we cannot believe that the gentleman who promised to take Nigerian women higher in public service was serious about what he was saying. If he meant it, then he is definitely on his own because Nigerian women will kick hard against it.
“I think he was trying to make light and downplay the seriousness and import of Mrs. Aisha Buhari’s BBC interview. Unfortunately, he came out with the wrong words. The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot belong to his kitchen.
“ President’s statement is scandalous—Junaid Muhammed On his part, Junaid Muhammed said: ‘’ Mrs. Buhari has just stated what is obvious to everybody but Buhari’s reaction to the interview is scandalous. The statement by Buhari that she belongs to the kitchen is scandalous and for any man to think at this age and time that women are only meant for the kitchen, is a very bad thinking. “I think the person that asked Mr. President to react has done him a great disservice and for him to say such a thing when he was beside one of the most powerful women in the world was wrong.”
Aisha Buhari was right—Tsav
Commenting, Tsav said: ‘’The response is very unfortunate because the President and his wife are not supposed to disagree in public. But she was actually telling him the truth that those, who helped the party, had been left out. The advice is very useful but she should not have made that known to the public. The wife should talk less and not constitute an opposition to the president. She can advice him privately but not in the public.”
Adeyeye said: “What Aisha said is not worth responding to because she was talking to her husband.”
There is a power struggle—Afenifere
Odumakin said: “It is a weighty statement from someone that cannot by any stretch of imagination be among the “wailing wailers”.It shows that there is some crack within which may be unhealthy for the polity. It was definitely prompted by unhealthy power play in the seat of power but our concern is about the direction our country is headed.”
I stand with Aisha Buhari—Igbokwe
Igbokwe said: ‘’ I stand with Aisha Buhari on her BBC interview 120 percent. Nancy Reagan, the wife of a former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan was once asked by the press why she is so powerful and unimaginably influential. She told them she was powerful and influential because she sleeps with the most powerful President on earth. Aisha Buhari is with Africa’s most powerful President.
She is an amazing beauty, very educated and can hold her head high anywhere in the world. She is influential and focused. President Buhari must listen to her and do the needful. This great woman is doing what any sensible wife and mother can do when there is a need to do so and even at a time like this. President Buhari needs our support including that of his jewel of inestimable value, Aisha.”
Buhari should consider cabinet reshuffle a must—Timi Frank
On his part, Timi Frank said: ‘’I think Mrs. Buhari deserve commendation because she was actually speaking the minds of not only the party members but Nigerians. “What Mrs. Buhari has said is not different from what some of us have been saying that it is high time the President restructured his cabinet and bring in people who understand the manifestor of the party and could help deliver on its change mantra, especially, the economy of the country which needs urgent attention.