BY JEMILAT NASIRU
A woman on the street I live most likely had a quarrel with her husband overnight, and as early as 6am, the street was echoing with her voice, cursing her husband. Apparently, the man was leaving the house in his car to avoid further trouble. “Useless man, na dat motor go kill you. I say you go die for dat motor.”
But my near fly-enter-my-mouth experience was when I was standing outside my gate in the early evening of that same day and the man drove past my gate with his wife seated beside him in the car. Both all smiles, jamming some gbedu.
Our people say when a couple is at loggerheads and one of them comes to you for advice or reports the other to you, make no unpleasant comments on the other party lest when they reconcile—and they would–your remarks will be a thing of conversation between them.
It first started in 2016, when Aisha said in an interview with BBC that she may not support her husband’s re-election bid should he fail to reshuffle his government. She said she would also not ask other women to. She also complained about the appointments she says are without merit.
“He is yet to tell me 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,” Aisha had said.
“The president does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years… some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position.”
Last time I checked, Buhari was yet to reshuffle his cabinet, despite complaints from the populace that they are underperforming.
Aisha did not end there. No. She continued to criticise her husband’s administration. Her brazenness was received with conflicting reactions. She was praised, she was chastised as well. I guess she swallowed more of the former.
Then our first lady said there were hyenas and jackals in her husband’s kingdom that will be sent packing.
“God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The Hyenas and the Jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom,” she wrote.
Her comment popularised the “Nigeria is a zoo” era. While she did not state who the hyenas and jackals are, I know I am one of the weaker animals, and I think you are, too. But I haven’t seen them sent packing. Have you?
Action, they say, speaks louder than words. In her next move, Aisha did not utter a word, she simply re-posted videos of senators criticising her husband.
“Even today, 50 percent of the ministers are not performing. Since the time the president assumed office, he has not taken any decision to move this country,” one of the senators had said in the video. And Aisha reposted it. Propagation. Emphasis. Concurrence.
But she had defended herself by saying she meant no disrespect but was only standing by the truth.
“I need to state that my position was a result of my sense of justice and not confrontation or disrespect,” she had said.
“I was brought up to stand by the truth and this is how I have always been. As we are all aware, Nigerians elected this administration based on the trust and confidence they have on my husband; I, therefore, feel that we are here to serve Nigeria to the best of our ability.
“Let me use this opportunity to state that I support my husband in this call to service and will continue to do so.”
And when the news broke that the Aso Rock clinic lacked basic first aid necessities like paracetamol, Aisha came out to lend her voice to the condemnation.
She said she had needed to use the X-ray machine but was told it was not working.
“I had to go to a hospital that was established by foreigners in and out 100 percent. What does that mean?” she asked.
“So, I think is high time we did the right thing. If something like this can happen to me, no need for me to ask the governors wives what is happening in their states. This is Abuja, the seat of government, and this is presidential villa.”
Then she went ahead to condemn the APC primaries of 2017. While her direct target was Adams Oshiomhole, the accusation spilled on her husband, the national leader of the party.
In her last punch, thrown just two months to the presidential election, Aisha called on the Nigerian men to stand and fight those whom she says have hijacked her husband’s government.
“Our votes were 15.4 million in the last elections and after that only for us to be dominated by two people… this is totally unacceptable,” she had said.
We do not even know, according to Aisha’s cries, if Buhari is part of the “two people” dominating us.
Without mincing words, the actions of the first lady clearly show her displeasure not only with the government but with her husband also.
But after all is said and done, Aisha will campaign for her husband and his hijacked government. She constituted a team comprising hundreds in her version of the re-election campaign for her husband. That list is sophisticated. I thought and checked to see if my name made it. Unfortunately, no.
I would expect the first lady, if she really were displeased with her husband and his government, to stay underground and remain neutral in the re-election campaign brouhaha. Or, she could participate remotely in the events. But constitute and chair a team? ADIM BAFFLED
Except of course, something has changed that Aisha is yet to tell us.
Jemilat Nasiru is writer and reporter at TheCable Newspaper