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Aisha opens up on ‘criticising’ Buhari, early marriage and ‘belonging to the kitchen’

  Aisha, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, has opened up on how she feels about her husband’s administration which she has often criticise...

 


Aisha, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, has opened up on how she feels about her husband’s administration which she has often criticised.

In her biography launched on Thursday, the first lady said she speaks against the current government because of her passion for good governance.

The book, titled, ‘Aisha Buhari: Being different’, also offered insight into how she was married to Buhari as a teenager and her reaction to the president’s comment that she belongs to the kitchen.

“In 1989, the young lady, Aisha Halilu, got married to Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Major General and former military Head of State of Nigeria…Aisha, like any other girl-child married as a teenager, faced the challenges of adapting to womanhood,” the book stated.

“She married the kind of man any woman would want to associate herself with, a highly placed and responsible man….Married at an early age, for her, the future seemed unsure.”

‘WHY I SPEAK AGAINST THIS GOVERNMENT’

Since Buhari came to power in 2015, Aisha has spoken about how dissatisfied she is concerning some things in the current administration on at least three occasions.

Less than two years after her husband was elected president, she threatened not to support his re-election bid if things did not change for the good of Nigerians.

In 2019, months after Buhari won a second term, Aisha claimed that “bad people” have taken over the country under her husband’s watch.

The biography, written by Daji Sani, a presidential aide, noted that although she has “pointed accusing fingers” at those “sabotaging” Buhari’s intention, her actions were not meant to disrespect or publicly criticise him.

“A woman of Aisha’s status — a wife of about three decades, a mother and grandmother — does not stand to ‘criticise her husband publicly,” the book stated.

“When asked about the reason for her outburst, she clarified that she did not mean to disrespect anybody but was only expressing the truth expected of her. She added that she held such views because those around her husband were frustrating the mandate given to him.”

The book further described the first lady as “frank and straightforward”, adding that for her, “telling the truth as she sees it is important.”

“From her point of view, this is not criticism, but a call for people to do the right thing; that is, to incite positive policy change,” the author said of Aisha’s threat to withhold support for the president.

“By speaking the truth, she hopes to touch the sensibilities of those in charge and inspire them to corrective action.”

ON ‘BELONGING TO THE OTHER ROOM’

After Aisha threatened not to campaign for Buhari in 2019, the president dropped a bomb in a BBC interview when he said that the wife “belongs to my kitchen … and the other room (in an apparent reference to the bedroom)”.

The statement had generated a lot of controversy at the time, with many claiming the number one citizen did not speak well of his wife.

But Aisha “never contested the statement or queried her husband”, the biography noted.

 “This is vintage Aisha Buhari. Married for decades, she understands her husband’s mindset and sense of humour, a side of him that the public may not see or appreciate,” it added. 

“However, that ‘controversy’ did not in any way discourage her from regularly and consistently intervening on national issues, particularly concerning party politics and governance.”