POLITICS

Aisha Buhari: Why I criticise my husband’s government

Nigerian First Lady, Aisha Buhari, says her passion for good governance is the reason she sometimes criticizes the Buhari administration.

Her actions, according to her, are not meant to disrespect or publicly criticize him.

Aisha had stunned Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike in October 2016 when she said on the Hausa Service of the BBC that she was not sure of supporting a second term bid of her husband except there was a shake-up in government.

She claimed that the president did not know most of the government officials he had appointed and that many had been nominated due to the influence of a few people.

“The president does not know 45 out of 50, for example, of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years,” she said.

Three years later, after Buhari had been elected for a second term, the First Lady said those he called bad people had taken over the government.

But in her biography ‘Aisha Buhari: Being different,’ which was launched in Abuja on Thursday, the author, Daji Sani, says Aisha does not stand to ‘criticize her husband publicly.

“In many villages in northern Nigeria, educating a girl is not considered a priority. In fact, early marriage affects every eighth girl. According to UNICEF, one in seven girls is reported to give birth by age seventeen. The easiest justification for this practice is that it serves as a strategy for reducing the burden on the family.

“It is also viewed as a way of protecting the sanctity of the girl-child. Another report shows that child marriage occurs more frequently among girls who are the least educated and poorest, and who are living in rural areas.

The above scenario was the kind of social-cultural background that Aisha was born into and raised. Married at an early age, for her, the future seemed unsure.

“But the hope in her mind is massive. Interestingly, fate shone on her with the splendor of an enlightened gentleman. She married the kind of man any woman would want to associate herself with, a highly placed and responsible man. Even though this automatically placed her on the path of greatness, her family values have been the key influence in her life to this day.

“In 1989, the young lady, Aisha Halilu, got married to Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Major-General and former Military Head of State of Nigeria. Marriage as an institution moves at an undulating pace, full of uncertainties. The ability to surmount the challenges and move on to an unknown destination is crucial in marriage. Aisha, like any other girl-child married as a teenager, faced the challenges of adapting to womanhood.”

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