Press Release: Aisha Buhari Spoke For Nigerians – CARRD
The Centre for African Resources, Research and Development (CARRD) has expressed its dismay, over the recent media altercations-with attendant global political and gender-tilted reverberations-between President Muhammadu Buhari and his wife, Mrs Aisha Buhari. This was made know in the release issued 15th Oct, 2016 by Chairman of CARRD, Dr Ismail Ibraheem.
The release recalled that “right in the face of global and Nigerian media, President Buhari said his wife belongs to the “kitchen, the living room, and the ‘other’ room”. This was a retort to an interview Mrs Buhari granted the BBC Hausa Service, in which she chided her husband for allowing “strange” people into his cabinet and inner circle; people she accused of hijacking and destabilising his administration, and incurring the wrath of millions of his loyalist-voters on his behalf. She also threatened not to campaign for him like she did in 2015, should he decide to seek re-election in 2019.”
In the release made available to The Rezponder, CARRD shares the sentiments expressed by Mrs Buhari.
”While we agree that the President has the inalienable right to respond to whatever comments his wife makes, within and without the “kitchen and ‘other rooms’”, we disagree with him over his choice of words, and the global and political environment where he said them, the body maintained.
“President Buhari made those comments – which millions within and without Nigeria have interpreted to be misogynist, sexist and “Trump-like” – beside arguably the most powerful woman in the world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to diplomatically-veiled consternation from her,” CARRD lamented.
CARRD insisted that it is “tempted to ask what the President and his team are doing seeking economic, security and political assistance from a country whose leader is also supposed to “belong to the kitchen et al”.
CARRD also invites President Buhari to remember that his now “kitchen-belonging wife” was of inestimable political help to him and his party during the 2015 elections, mobilising millions of women’s votes for them, and defending her husband from misogynist and sexist accusations from the now-opposition. However, when she made the comments to the BBC about issues millions of Nigerians are honestly, but secretly and quietly worried about, she was immediately demoted and banished permanently to the “kitchen and other rooms”! How convenient?!
”Indeed, Aisha Buhari’s cries of strange bed fellows in President Buhari’s inner circle and cabinet may not be far from the truth, with claims already in the public domain of the right officials and appointees being side-lined and pushed to the power fringes, while unappointed, unnomenclatured kinsmen and old friends of the President seem to be calling the shots, many a time to the political detriment of the President himself. These power tussles, and the consequent policy crises these have sparked, have taken a heavy toll on Nigerians, sucking off huge funds, opportunities and development potentials off Nigerians, especially millions of young people who voted President Buhari to power, at his fourth attempt” CARRD said.
Thought, CARRD agrees that President Buhari is doing a yeoman’s job fighting corruption, the body still ”wish to remind him that key members of his inner circle have been publicly accused of corruption, with facts, figures and dates to boot, to absolute silence, and sometimes outright denial by him. Indeed, as against his Inaugural Address vow, President Buhari now seems to belong to some particular persons, some of whom seem to be his worst enemies, judging by the catastrophic policy, media and attitudinal errors he seems to be committing in alarmingly high frequency lately” CARRD posited.
CARRD advises President Buhari to draw his wife out of the “kitchen and other rooms” and address the issues raised by her in the interview, which represent the concerns of millions of Nigerians who don’t have as much access to him as her. When the chips are down, he belongs to her, and she belongs to him first and foremost, before us all.
By Ismail Ibraheem PhD, the Chair, CARRD and Senior Lecturer of Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos