Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Five months after, Aisha Buhari still missing from Nigerian public

The presidency has been unwilling to speak about the continued public disappearance of President Buhari’s only wife.

• February 9, 2021
Nigerian first lady, Aisha Buhari (Photo Credit: BBC)

Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has continued to stay away from public appearances and perhaps out of the country since her last outing in September 2020.

Mrs. Buhari has also stopped tweeting with her last tweet dated November 25, 2020.

Before her daughter’s wedding last September, the first lady of Africa’s most populous nation, according to media reports, had been out of the country for a couple of months. There were claims she had relocated to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Some have linked her continued disappearance from the public, especially accompanying her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari, to Daura, to domestic squabbles in the Presidential Villa.

The last time she visited Daura with Mr. Buhari was on March 9, 2019, during the presidential election. The president was without his spouse in his most recent visits to his hometown.

The presidency has been unwilling to speak about the continued public disappearance of Mrs. Buhari.

Reached for comments, the Director of Information, Office of the First Lady, Suleiman Haruna, referred Peoples Gazette to Mrs. Buhari’s special assistant on media, Aliyu Abubakar. Both aides as of press time had declined to comment on her whereabouts.

Since 2016, it became public that Mrs. Buhari was not impressed by how her husband was running the affairs of the country. In an interview with the BBC’s Hausa language service, she claimed Mr. Buhari’s regime had been hijacked.

“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,” she said.

However, her husband did not take that lying down as he fired a salvo from Germany, in the presence of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

“I don’t know which party my wife belongs to. But she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” Mr. Buhari said. The comments drew uproar on social media, with the Nigerian leader sustaining a barrage of public ridicule for several months.

Mrs. Buhari had further pointed out in the interview: “A lot of people have been coming … to tell him that things are not going the way they should,” she said. “If it continues like this, I’m not going to be part of any [re-election] movement again.”

She was, however, back on the campaign train for Mr. Buhari’s re-election. Nevertheless, since that public outburst, the first lady has had to fight various “battles” in the Presidential Villa.

Though the first lady’s office is not provided for in the Nigerian Constitution, the wife of the country’s president is allowed to perform ceremonial functions on behalf of the government. In reality, though, a first lady has the ears of the president even on national issues. In the case of the Buharis, there appears to be no love lost.

In 2019, there were widespread reports that Mr. Buhari was to wed (October 11, 2019) Sadiya Farouq, the current Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Back in the country after two months in the United Kingdom, the first lady told BBC Hausa, “The person that promised her marriage didn’t know it wasn’t going to happen. She didn’t deny the marriage until the day passed.”

Mrs. Farouq later married Sadique Abubakar, Nigeria’s immediate past chief of air staff.

Months ago, Mrs. Buhari’s security detail evicted the president’s controversial personal assistant, Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf, from the villa following the latter’s refusal to go on 14-day isolation after returning from Lagos.

Reports claimed that the first lady’s ADC, Usman Shugaba, while attempting to arrest Mr. Yusuf fired gunshots but Mr. Yusuf escaped and passed the night at Mamman Daura’s (the president’s nephew). Mr. Yusuf later ordered the ADC’s arrest, alongside other members of the first lady’s security detail.

Mrs. Buhari had once accused Mr. Daura of trying to destabilise her matrimony.

In her claim, she said Mr. Daura used Buhari’s media aide, Garba Shehu, to release a viral video in October. In the video, she asked questions and made comments about being locked out of a particular room in the villa and demanding that some people pack out.

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