Illegal Nigerian Migrants Will Be Repatriated Back Home – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, has said his administration will continue to repatriate illegal Nigerian migrants stuck in foreign countries back home.

Buhari stated this during a joint press briefing with the visiting German Chancellor, Ms Angela Merkel, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President however warned that Nigerians travelling out of the country illegally to search for greener pastures are doing so at their own risk.

According to him, his administration does not support anything illegal or any act of indiscipline.

President Buhari noted that his administration had so far repatriated more than 3,000 illegal migrants who were stuck in Libya on their way to Europe.

He said: “I’m against those (my) countrymen and women who illegally find their ways to other countries other than Nigeria.

“But I believe you know that the ECOWAS Protocol includes free movement of persons and goods and services.

“But for those going to Europe, we are not, as an administration, in agreement with those Nigerians who try to defy the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean (Sea) because they feel there are greener pastures there, whether they are pre-paid, free or not.

“It will be recalled that we repatriated about 3,000 Nigerians who were stuck in Libya on their ways to Europe.

“You also must have read in the newspapers or seen in the television stations the number of Nigerians lost in the Mediterranean.”

He added: “So, the position of this administration is very clear: we do not support anything illegal, and anybody who feels that his country does not value, does not offer him what he should be offered as a citizen and decided to defy the desert and the Mediterranean is doing so at his own risk.

“But if found stuck in Libya or anywhere between his final destination and Nigeria, we will bring him back home.”

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

President Buhari Directs MDAs To Defend 2018 Appropriation

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed all Ministries, departments and Agencies that have not appeared before the National Assembly to defend their 2018 budget to immediately do so, to enhance the speedy passage of the appropriation bill.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha revealed this to Journalists after a meeting between the President and the leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday night at the State House, Abuja.

“The President has given instructions that all Ministers and Heads of Parastatals should ensure that they appear before the National Assembly to defend their submissions so that we can get this out of the way,” he said.

Mustapha said the meeting was very fruitful and it will help maintain a harmonious relationship between the Executive ands Legislative arms of government.

“It was basically an in-house meeting between the Executive and the Legislature because we want to continue building a very harmonious working relationship between us. The President gave them an update on what he is doing about the economy, security and job creation. Nigerians will notice that in the past one week the President has visited three or four state, all in a bid to builds confidence back into the hearts of the people of this country.  We also discussed the processes in the National Assembly, especially with regards to the budget and the need to speedily conclude work on that. This is a very dynamic year, there are preparations for elections and we are having quite a number of challenges so if we do not appropriate where will the money come from?” he said.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Group Petitions President Buhari Over Alleged Fraud In PENCOM

A group, the National Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (NATA), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to order an immediate investigation into alleged financial crimes and fraudulent practices in the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

In a petition addressed to the President, the group alleged that the immediate past Chief Executive of, Chinelo Amazu-Ahonu, illegally withdraw N1 billion from PENCOM’s purse and invested the said amount in a “fragile” microfinance bank.

The petition, which was seen by Abusidiqu reads: “Our alliance sought through various correspondences to the regulatory agency in the past years, an explanation regarding the establishment of a N2 biilion PENCOM TV within the premises of the commission. We are renewing our call for investigation of the media project whose utility to Pencom is at best dubious.”

“Some of the Commission’s heads of departments are currently enmeshed in serial ethical violations and precarious legal tango with multiple banks.”

The group also raised concern over a Senior Staff of the Commission who claimed she was introduced to a commercial bank by her employees and consequently used to draw a N400 million personal loan which has now become the subject of a messy and sprawlin litigation.

“Documents from a Maitama High Court in Abuja (Motion No. FCT/HC/M/9133/16) has now listed PENCOM among the garnishees for the debt owed First Bank by Mrs. Grace Usoro of PENCOM.  Mrs. Usoro who is the General Manager (National Data Bank) for PENCOM along with other associates launched into private businesses other than agriculture as allowed by the regulations and the code of her employment. Since 2015 till date, PENCOM has not deemed it fit to initiate any kind of inquiry into the conduct of Mrs.Usoro. All requests by our alliance for transparent disclosure on this matter were arrogantly ignored by the previous management,” the petition read.

The alliance also described the annual World Pension being hosted by PENCOM in 2014, 2015 and 2016, as a wasteful expenditure. The alliance alleged that about N1 billion was spent on the summit with no disclosure of accountability.

The petition partly read: “Our campaign for ethical public service is hereby requesting the current leadership of Pencom to respond to our correspondence seeking details on the global pension summit under the headship of Mrs. Usoro.”

NATA also highlighted the procurement of a prostate cancer machine stating that, “In the quest for probity, Mrs. Grace Usoro should clear the air regarding her role in the procurement of NI billion prostate cancer machine which has been inoperable and idle for years.”

The Alliance urged the present management “to immediately establish an edifying procedure and legal inquiry for re-ordering and cleansing the internal affairs of PENCOM.”

Among other requests to the president, the Alliance prays it receive responses to the various inquiries and correspondences that were initiated in previous years and recently on the aforementioned matters.

“The In tandem, our alliance implores the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), the Head of Service (HOS), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the EFCC to ensure that the issues raised here are thoroughly investigated. Time is of the essence – this is our clarion call!,” the petition stated.

 

 

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Police Deploys 4,000 Officers To Nasarawa State Ahead Of President Buhari’s Visit

The Police Command in Nasarawa State says it has deployed over 4,000 officers and men to ensure a hitch-free visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the state on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Bello Ahmed, told newsmen on Monday in Lafia that the command had put up a robust security arrangement with sister agencies to ensure a successful visit of the President to the state.

He said about 3,000 officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other security agencies would be working in synergy with the police.

Ahmed said that security personnel would be positioned in strategic locations, adding that there would be road diversions along the route where the President would inaugurate some projects.

“I appeal to members of the public to be law abiding as they come out massively to welcome the president to the state.

“I also urge you to cooperate with the security agencies as they discharge their duties,’’ Ahmed said.

President Buhari, is during the visit, expected to inaugurate some projects embarked upon by the State Government which include; the Comprehensive Special School for the Physically Challenged in Lafia and headquarters of the State Fire Service, also in Lafia.

Other projects billed for inauguration are: Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Centre in Kwandere near Lafia, Muhammadu Buhari International Market, Karu, and the flag-off of construction of cargo airport in Lafia.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

PDP Berates Buhari For Not Visiting Benue

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Benue State to condole with the victims of recent killings in the state.

A statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola, said the inability of President Buhari to visit the state to commiserate with those who lost their loved ones in the killings was pregnant with meaning.

Ologbondiyan said: “It is very sad to note that in its insensitivity, the Federal Government did not consider it important to send a delegation to the burial of those massacred in Benue and till date, there has been no presidential visit of any sort to commiserate with the people of Benue and other states where Nigerians are being slaughtered by bandits under the APC regime.

“The PDP is worried that while innocent Nigerians were still being slaughtered and families crying out for help, the President was busy receiving APC governors on orchestrated self-serving visit to Aso Rock to endorse his personal ambition for a second tenure; a time when a soothing word and practical action from his Presidency would have helped ease the pains and reassure the people.”

The party however urged the Presidency to be more responsive to issues that concern the unity of Nigeria and the security of people.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

President Buhari Reiterates FG’s Commitment To Leverage On ICT To Drive Economic Reforms

President Muhammadu Buhari, has said that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), if effectively harnessed, will provide job opportunities for teaming Nigerian youths, and  enhance the quality of locally produced infrastructure.

President Buhari stated this at the opening ceremony of the 2017 e-Nigeria Conference, organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, ICT has come to stay, and has being a major driver in developmental governance and economic reform plans of the CHANGE agenda of the federal government.

In his address, the President revealed that almost all sectors of Nigeria’s economy now leverage on ICT to increase efficiency, productivity and performance. These sectors, according to him, has recorded huge investments and contributes over 10% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and we are making conscious efforts to see that this contribution continues to grow in the next few years.

The President narrated how his administration has leverage on ICT to transform our government especially in the areas of strategy, policies and digital infrastructure investments.

His words: “You may recall that on assumption of office, we enforced the policy on Treasury Single Account (TSA). Today, we are all witnesses to the impact it has made on our financial management.

“We have so far consolidated over 20,000 accounts, resulting into about N4.7 billion monthly savings. In addition the policy facilitated transparency, accountability and ease of transactions and payments between Government and businesses as well as Government and citizens.

“Another initiative leveraging on ICT and making huge impact on the economy is the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and Bank Verification Number (BVN). Its implementation has helped to eliminate the menace of ghost workers thereby reducing waste in the system by saving government over N20 billion monthly.

“This administration recently issued an Executive Order mandating all ministries, departments and agencies to give preference to locally manufactured goods and services in their procurement of information technology services.

“Such measures are part of the deliberate efforts at encouraging local manufacture of ICT infrastructure, creating job opportunities, providing investment opportunities as well as strengthening our currency. We commend NITDA’s efforts on fostering the patronage of indigenous IT products and services through continuous engagement with indigenous OEMs, relevant stakeholders and other laudable initiatives.

“ICT plays a pivotal role with agencies of government such as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) which have leaned on ICT in improving public service delivery in an efficient and transparent manner. So far, 31 reforms have been completed by the Council and these reforms are already making noticeable impact on our economic diversification efforts.

“The Agency’s efforts at enforcing Federal Government’s directive on ensuring that all ICT projects in the country are cleared by it before implementation are highly commendable. These efforts will ensure that government’s ICT procurements are transparent, they are aligned with government’s IT shared vision and policy, save costs through promotion of shared services, avoid duplication, ensure compatibility of IT systems thereby improving efficiency across government and enforce the patronage of indigenous companies.”

The President, who declared the conference open, urged participants to come up with practical, viable solutions and recommendations to further develop local content in ICT as well as how the administration can best regulate the deployment and use of ICT systems to foster a digital economy in Nigeria.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Group To PDP: Stop Insulting The Sensibilities Of Nigerians

The Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG) has taken exception at the brazen way the PDP lays claims to what it never achieved in its 16 years in power noting that it is a confirmation that the party is still in the business of insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians.

 Reacting to the claims made by officials of the PDP at its non-elective convention last weekend in Abuja, the group blasted the party’s claim that it fought corruption within the 16 years that it was in power.

 In a statement signed by its Chairman, Hon Austin Braimoh and Secretary, Chief Cassidy Madueke, the group said recent recoveries by the EFCC showed that one person alone stole enough money that could build six airports, two long rail lines and implement huge agricultural projects that would have provided much-needed jobs for teeming Nigerian youths.

 “This is money stolen by just one person during the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. Only God knows what other PDP government officials did during the 16 years that that party held Nigerians to ransom’’, the statement said.

 The group reminded that it is on record that former CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi told the entire nation during the same Goodluck Jonathan administration that about $20 Billion was missing from the nation’s treasury, but instead of taking the matter up, the now Emir of Kano was sacked.

 “There was massive looting going by the recoveries made by EFCC and these monies have been traced to the accounts of past PDP government officials. Nigerians now know the truth about what happened to their commonwealth’’, the statement said.

 The group advised PDP to desist from insulting the intelligence of Nigerians, noting that the maladministration that happened under its watch resulted in the hardship and economic recession that the country and Nigerians are currently experiencing for which President Muhammadu Buhari is working hard to redress.

 The group wondered how corrupt regimes of the PDP claimed it fought corruption by just setting up the ICPC and EFCC when it knew that both agencies served as a source of deceit in the sense that they were toothless bulldogs that could only bark and not bite.

 “Both agencies were used by the PDP to hunt down, harass and embarrass political opponents in its bid to retain power by all means. It is now that both agencies have become alive to their responsibilities and the difference is clear’’, the statement said.

 The group reminded PDP that it deliberately failed to implement the use of the Treasury Single Account and the Bank Verification Number meant to track the movement of funds because it would have hooked the numerous crooks in the party who were into dubious transactions.

 BMSG also recalled that Nigeria lost so much revenue to illegalities at the nation’s ports where billions of dollars was lost to mid-stream discharge of cargo while corruption that held sway in the Nigeria Customs Service denied the nation of huge sums of revenue.

After claiming that it spent trillions of Naira to improve power supply across the country, it has become obvious that the PDP paid for Nigeria and Nigerians to remain in darkness.

The group said that it is shocking that the PDP whose import list included tooth picks and other luxury goods could pride its regimes as the best that ever happened to the country.

“It is important to remind the party that evidence of infrastructural decay which include poor road networks, drop in the standard of education are still available. Meanwhile, the highest deceit was the convening of a national conference that gulped billions of Naira when it was obvious that the regime of Goodluck Jonathan had made up its mind not to implement the recommendations of the conference”, the group said.

However, the group noted that under President Buhari, Nigeria has made significant economic gains among which include the implementation of TSA, increased revenue generation by the Nigeria Customs Service and Federal Inland Revenue Service and in-flow of Foreign Direct Investment. 

The nation has also recorded increase in foreign reserves, excess crude account, sovereign wealth fund and a boost in stock market, the statement said. 

 The group observed that the achievements of the Buhari administration in areas of agriculture, security and economy are so clear and already impacting on the well-being of Nigerians.

 BMSG advised the PDP to stop deluding itself in thinking that the party will win the 2019 general elections as Nigerians are yet to recover from the wounds the party inflicted on them.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Court Orders Buhari, Osinbajo To Publish Name Of Looters

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today ordered the Federal Government to “immediately release to Nigerians information about the names of high ranking public officials from whom public funds were recovered and the circumstances under which funds were recovered, as well as the exact amount of funds recovered from each public official.”

The judgment was delivered today by Hon Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari following a Freedom of Information suit number:  FHC/CS/964/2016 brought before it by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

In her judgment Justice Shagari agreed with SERAP that “the Federal Government has a legally binding obligations to tell Nigerians the names of all suspected looters of the public treasury past and present.” Joined as Defendants in the suit are the Minister of Information Alhaji Lai Muhammed and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Senate Confirms Buhari’s Nominees As Supreme Court Justices

The senate on Tuesday confirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees as justices of the supreme court.

The president’s nominees as justices of the supreme court are Ejembi Eko (Benue) and Amina Augie (Kebbi).

In a letter dated September 22, Buhari had sent the names to the senate for confirmation, which was referred to the judiciary, human rights and legal matters committee.

While speaking on the floor of the senate, David Umoru, senate chairman committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters, said his committee found the justices worthy to be judges in the supreme court after “careful scrutiny”.

He added that the committee did not receive any petition against them.

The senate approved of the nominees after it was put to electronic voting, with the candidates scoring 38 to 0 and 39 to 1, respectively.

Also, the senate has received President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees for commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Population Commission (NPC).

The nominees for INEC commissioners are Okechukwu Ibeanu (Anambra), May Agbamuche (Delta), Ahmed Mu’azu (Gombe), Mohammed Haruna (Niger), Adekunle Ogunmola (Oyo) and Abubakar Nahuche.

The nominees for NPC commissioners are Benedict Ukpong (Akwa Ibom), Gloria Izonfuo (Bayelsa), Kupchi Iyanya (Benue), Haliru Bala (Kebbi) and Eyitayo Oyetunji (Oyo).

The confirmation of nominees sought by Buhari is in accordance with Sections 153 and 154 of the 1999 constitution as amended.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Lawyer Sues Buhari, DSS, AGF, Others For N50bn Over Judges’ Arrest

A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, has filed a N50bn suit against President Muhammadu Buhari, the Department of State Services and its Director-General, Lawal Daura, along with others for allegedly violating the rights of judges whose houses were raided by the DSS operatives between October 8 and 9.

Others joined as defendants in the suit, with number FHC/ABJ/CS/809/16, are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN); the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; and the National Judicial Council.

Ogungbeje filed the suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday, October 14.

He alleged that the arrest of the judges without recourse to the NJC was unlawful and amounted to humiliating them.

He said the DSS operations violated the rights of judges under sections 33, 34, 35, 36 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.

The plaintiff sought 10 prayers, among which is an order awarding N50bn against the defendants as “general and exemplary damages.”

He also sought to be awarded N2m as the cost of the suit.

The lawyer also sought an order compelling the DSS to return to the judges the sums of money reportedly recovered from them.

He also sought a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from arresting, inviting, intimidating or harassing the judges with respect to the case.

The DSS had, between Friday and Saturday, arrested Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro of the Supreme Court; Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and Justice Muazu Pindiga of the Federal High Court, Gombe Division.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba’s residence was also searched but he was not arrested.

Others, who were arrested, had been placed on suspension by the NJC pending the time Buhari and the various state governors would approve its recommendation for the sacking of the affected judges.

They are a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; and the judge of the Kano State High Court, Justice Kabiru Auta.

The DSS said it recovered large sums of money in Nigerian and foreign currencies from three of the judges during the raids on the houses of the seven judiciary officers.

The seven of them had since been released on self recognition by the DSS.

But Ogungbeje’s suit is restricted to five of the arrested judges, who are still in active service – Justices Ngwuta, Okoro, Ademola, Pindiga and Dimgba.

The plaintiff contended in his suit that the raids on the residences of the judges and their arrest were unconstitutional.

He maintained that the arrest of the judges did not follow the law.

He stated in a 39-paragraph affidavit, which he deposed to in support of the suit,

“That the 6th respondent (NJC) is the only body empowered by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to discipline judges and judiciary officers in Nigeria.

“That the judiciary is an independent arm of government in Nigeria and separate from the executive and the legislature.

“That this illegal and unconstitutional action by the 1st (President Buhari), 2nd (DG of DSS), 3rd (DSS), 4th (AGF), and 5th (Inspector-General of Police) respondents have been roundly condemned by the Nigerian Bar Association.

“That the 2nd (DG of DSS), 3rd (DSS), and 5th (IGP) respondents carried out their action which brazenly infringed upon the rights of the affected five judges without lawful excuse or recourse to the 6th respondent.”

Punch

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

We Are Ready To Give Aisha Buhari PDP Membership Card – Party Scribe

Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo, has expressed readiness to give membership card to the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, following castigation she received over her recent interview on the British Broadcasting Service.

Jalo also said the statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari at a press conference in Germany has put him in the mould of America’s Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

He is saying that women should not have right to be politicians,” Jalo stated.

He said Mrs. Buhari has assumed the role of the opposition, adding that if the President said he doesn’t know her party, PDP is ready to give her a membership card.

“As far as I am concerned, she has done the work of an opposition, and if she decides to join us, she will have a good reception,” he added.

Jalo warned that should Buhari reject her advice, the consequence could be colossal, which might lead to his popularity being diminished as the nation is approaching the 2019 general elections.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Aisha Buhari And That BBC Interview By Reuben Abati

Public communication is one of the most delicate challenges that people in public life face, either in the corporate or the public sector.

Many people suddenly find themselves in high places, and they become a source of news, a potential interview subject, and they get chased around by journalists and other media figures who want a story, in fact, not just a story, but a scoop.

I used to explain in communication coaching classes and to the bosses whose media I managed, at one point or the other that they should never feel obliged to say things they do not want to say. No matter how aggressive the journalist may be, they should be careful what they say.

A journalist would make you feel at home, he or she may even reassure you that whatever you don’t want published could be edited out, and that if you don’t feel comfortable with a question, you should feel free to keep quiet. But a good journalist knows how to push you into a corner and get you, through follow up questions, to say things you may not ordinarily want to say. By the time the tape starts rolling, and you are encouraged to feel like a star, and your own tongue starts rolling, you’d be surprised the kind of emphasis, what you consider an innocent remark, would receive when it is published.

Point is: journalists, while on duty, are not working for politicians or big men and women; they are working for organizations that need stories that can sell. They want scoops that can make the headlines. That is what makes them journalists: getting the good story, the good comments, the good shots.

After reading the interview granted by First Lady Aisha Buhari on BBC Hausa Service, I was tempted to conclude that this is what may have happened. She could have said the same things in a more delicately phrased manner.

I have always held the view that anybody at all in a public position should be sent for media training (including how to deliver speeches, poise, pronunciation skills, even basic grammar lessons) before they are unleashed on a Nigerian public that has learnt to subject the lives of public officials to utmost scrutiny.

The Aisha Buhari interview also fell short in this regard. She just gave the BBC Hausa service a scoop, which in my view has done more damage to her husband’s politics than good.

Given the enormous effect that the interview has had on the public, I would have expected that by now, she would perhaps have tactically disowned it, put a spin on it somehow, and make it clear that it is not intended in any way to discredit, or criticize her husband’s administration. But nothing of such has happened. And what does that mean? That the interview was deliberate and that she is standing by every word she said.

She has been called the “good lady in the Villa.” She has been praised for being a modern wife who can speak up, and exercise her right to free speech. She has been called fearless and assertive. The only thing I have not heard from some of the hypocritical commentators is that she would be a good Presidential candidate for 2019.

I have also been told that she must have spoken out of frustration and that her public outburst about the existence of a cabal in the Villa, which determines who gets what appointment, to the disadvantage of members of the All Progressives Congress is making APC members who feel left out of the power-sharing process, very unhappy.

But her outburst is nothing but a poor understanding of power politics. There will always be cabals around the seat of power. Power is so potent the people around the corridor will never leave it alone to the President.

And if it is true that this cabal or the President has recruited non-APC members into the government, then that is a positive thing, it is also a positive thing that the President does not know many of the people he has appointed. He doesn’t need to know them personally as long as they come from all parts of Nigeria and they are competent men who can get the job done.

The First Lady seems to assume that only card-carrying members of the APC should work for the Buhari administration. On a positive note, however, she doesn’t want anybody to hijack her husband’s Presidency and she believes those who are trying to do so do not mean well. But what does that say about her husband?

The First Lady is also of the view that if the present trend continues, she cannot campaign for her husband in 2019 should he decide to seek re-election. She sounded pleased with what is being done to ensure security in the North East, but she gave the impression that she doesn’t think her husband has done enough to merit a second term in 2019.

Hear her: “What I fear is the uprising of 15.4 million people”. And consider this: “…Nobody thought it is going to be like this. But now that it is so…Sometimes when one is doing something wrong without him knowing, but when people talk to them, they should listen”. Who is that person doing something wrong and who does not listen?

Altogether, Mrs Aisha Buhari has passed the equivalent of a vote of no confidence in her husband, and the people around him. This is a kind of “home trouble” brought to the public. The biggest challenge a man can face is to have his own wife “fight” him in public. And what has happened is both unprecedented and significant considering that a Hausa-Fulani couple is involved.  It is probably the first time a lady in this position would publicly upbraid her husband and his team. Is she furious because she has been scorned, ignored, rendered powerless?

Well, even if we were not privy to other details, she was publicly scorned when her husband sent a volcanic message from Germany that she should go back to her place in the “kitchen, the living room and the other room.”

Feminists and critics of misogyny have protested over this, quite rightly too, at a time when women are leading countries and corporations, it is incorrect and insensitive to say that the best place for a First Lady is to be a cook, a living-room-soap opera-watching detainee and a bedroom object.

But given the cultural circumstances involved, this may well be the future Aso Villa fate of First Lady Aisha Buhari. She could be marked out as an ambitious woman who wants to share power with her husband, and as a threat to her husband’s politics.

See how much damage has been caused already by the President’s counter-response: The German Chancellor glared at our President when she heard that comment about “the kitchen, the living room and the other room.”  She quickly ended their press conference.

Angela Merkel is married, and she is Chancellor, but I don’t think her husband would dare tell her she is best fit for the kitchen and the other room. And imagine if Theresa May, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Oby Ezekwesili, Grace Alele-Williams, Omobola Johnson, Chimamanda Adichie, Joke Jacobs… had all been chained down in the “other room”.

No wonder, President Buhari’s local opponents are already making big political capital out of his un-Presidential comments, and the German public is shocked that any world leader could be so politically incorrect.

The number of jokes and memes that have been designed around this husband-wife exchange are thoroughly amusing. Mrs Buhari has also handed over to critics of this administration, speaking points that would be exploited all the way till 2019, and she may well end up not as a powerful force in the Villa but as a strong voice for women’s rights.

It is possible she may be advised soon to recruit spin-doctors to do damage control, but she may have left that rather late already.

On the other hand, there is no amount of damage control that the President’s spin-doctors can sell to anyone. Whatever happens, she is cultivating a reputation as a different kind of First Lady.

Since independence, every Nigerian Head of State or President has enjoyed the support of his wife while in office: strong, fanatical support.

Mrs Maryam Abacha was so supportive of her husband, while everybody condemned him, and long after his death, she has continued to celebrate his memory.

Before her, Mrs Maryam Babangida brought greater colour and celebrity status to the Office of the First Lady and added much value to her husband’s tenure.

Mrs Fati Abubakar was a dignified presence behind her husband, the same with Mrs Margaret Shonekan. President Olusegun Obasanjo had as First Lady, the very elegant and beautiful Stella Obasanjo who mobilized support and goodwill for her husband. Turai Yar’Adua, wife of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was also so devoted to her husband’s cause, she was declared the head of the Aso Rock cabal. No one doubted her determination to protect her husband’s interest during those critical moments. You all know Mrs Patience Jonathan. She was as First Lady, her husband’s most vocal supporter. This brought her at loggerheads with some sections of the public who objected to her prominence and controversial statements, but not once did she or the other First Ladies before her, criticize their husbands in public.

Elsewhere, First Ladies also support their husbands. With all the reported cases of dalliance and cuckoldry during the Bill Clinton Presidency, Hillary Clinton stood by her husband.  Michelle Obama has also proven to be a very good role model in this regard.

Certain positions require careful grooming. Any form of tension in the home could distract a political leader and make him seem vulnerable in the eyes of the public.

Mrs Aisha Buhari may have spoken her mind, but she should not make a habit of assuming the role of a radical, in-house critic, throwing her husband under the wheels. She ought to be thoroughly embarrassed by all the fun being poked at her husband because of that BBC Hausa interview she granted. How this matter is resolved between their kitchen and “the other room” is a family affair into which we cannot dabble.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]