Courage. That’s her middle name. I speak of Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady.
Nigerians still remember the drama in October 2016 when the President’s wife granted an interview to the Hausa service of the BBC which generated much controversy and public debate.
In the interview which was conducted by Naziru Mikailu, Aisha said among other things that her husband’s government has been hijacked by members of a cabal who were nowhere to be found during the APC electioneering campaigns and who she didn’t even know despite being married to Buhari for 27 years.
The first lady complained that those who suffered to campaign and actualise Buhari’s Presidency have been marginalised even as she expressed fears that the 15 million people who voted for her husband could revolt if the whole situation doesn’t change.
The President’s wife went on to add that under the prevailing circumstances at the time, she would not support her husband if he seeks re-election in 2019. “Such was the audacious interview Lady Aisha granted the BBC”.
Meanwhile, it was around the same time, in Germany, when Buhari, confronted by journalists to respond to what Aisha said, replied that his wife belongs in his kitchen and “the other room”, an obvious euphemism for the bedroom, in what was clearly an expensive joke and a degrading statement about the role of women, their potentials, their capacity and their impact in the world, and for which the President continues to receive harsh bashing, and which I’ll also add he duly deserves.
But that was back then.
On Friday, the President’s wife, again, did something uncommon and truly remarkable.
She reposted, on her twitter page, @aishambuhari, videos of the brutally-frank Senate session held Thursday to discuss the state of the nation and particularly the menace criminal herdsmen have become in the country. In the videos, Senators Isah Misau, senator representing Bauchi Central and Senator Ben Murray Bruce representing Bayelsa East, hit her husband hard for the way he has conducted the affairs of the country so far.
Both men, in their contributions on the floor of the Senate, suggested that Buhari’s Presidency might have been hijacked by a cabal in the Presidency.
For Aisha, it’s evident the views expressed by the senators aren’t surprising. They tally with her views. Views she’s also shared publicly with the world. In essence, by not hesitating to repost the videos, she is only reinforcing her stance.
That is why, if tomorrow, Aisha says she wouldn’t support her husband’s bid for a second-term in 2019, it shouldn’t be a shocker. She already told us that in 2016.
And so, while her actions may appear unacceptable in some quarters especially by those who profiteer in disorder and are not pricked in their conscience about the public interest, Aisha’s consistent action is that of a loving wife who, though sometimes sidelined, wants her husband to succeed and would go to any length to make it happen.
Of all the First ladies our country has produced, Aisha Buhari is undoubtedly different. She is in a world of her own.
I’ve said this in the past. I’ll repeat it. Aisha Buhari’s uncommon courage will be talked about for generations to come long after her husband is out of power.