Open Letter To General Muhammadu Buhari
Since I heard that the All Progressives Congress (APC) voted you in as its presidential candidate, I have been worried about so many issues, some of which I will mention, but others I will raise at other fora.
To start with, as a woman, I am pained that you will not have an office of the First Lady. Many have said that the constitution does not have a provision for that office, which I believe is true, but I still insist that you bring your wife to Abuja, and into the Aso Rock Villa, to help better our lives. She can only do that with the full paraphernalia of an office, so I advise that you reconsider your position.
Again, Sir, it is not about that office, but about the dividends. Most of us do not like Patience, but we like what she has gotten for us. I am not so stupid and irreligious to believe we will equal the men, but at least we can consolidate on the 35% we now have. With you, the future is grim and foreboding.
I have heard that after your experience with your first wife, the late Safiya, you have decided to completely tame this one so that she does contemplate what the first did. Sir, is it true that even in death you have not forgiven her? What was so mortally sinful that she did? Is it because she thought it necessary as a woman, when in need to take care of her three beautiful girls, accepted help from a group of your friends who incidentally toppled you?
Sir, with all due respect, you have not been a woman married to a frugal man, who as many of your supporters claim, depended only on his salary. If that was the case, Sir, how was she to survive while you were in detention, or was your salary being paid to her? Forgive me, Sir, but it was mean of you to have divorced such a stoic figure when she needed you most, shortly after you came out of detention. Do you know what it means to be deprived of the warmth of your loving husband for three years? Sir, do you know?
And after this, all you had to offer her for her loneliness and cold nights was a divorce. That was brutal, wickedly brutal. It was no wonder therefore that she passed shortly after that. To add to the mean treatment while alive, it was reported then that you did not honour her family with your presence during her burial. That was not just mean, Sir; it was pure, unadulterated wickedness.
Dear General, Sir, I may be sounding disrespectful at this stage in my letter, but it is for a good reason because as a woman who has nurtured children with a supporting husband, I cannot understand why a man who served in the Nigerian Army and rose to your rank can be described as an officer and a gentleman. An officer maybe, but a gentleman definitely not. And I thought one of the reasons given for wives decorating their husbands on promotion was to show they were a rank higher. It appears to me that for some of you, while you are officers, your wives are fresh recruits.
Pardon my anger, but I must keep speaking until I ventilate why I can never, ever, vote for you, even if my husband thinks you are what Nigeria needs. He is still suffering certain deprivations for suggesting that in a discussion with his friends to my hearing.
I read the other day that you claimed to have forgiven those who sent you out of Dodan Barracks, but I think all that is politics. If you could not forgive a divorced and dead wife, only fools, including your newfound friends, especially that South-West rogue who propped you up, will believe you. That is if they are that foolish! I can wager that Ibrahim Babangida did not believe a word of that your comment. Knowing him as I do, he will work his best underground against you. So will his boys.
Sir, where exactly is your second wife, Aisha? There are too many stories in the open concerning her; and her continual absence either proves the stories have a semblance of truth, or you are just the good, old Buhari that cannot change. One of those stories is that when some women and wives in APC rallied to bring her out and on board, you went public with that shot in the foot about not approving of an office of the First Lady.
The other unverified and unverifiable story is that she is not enamoured by your latest foray and has distanced herself. Can that be true? I don't think so, because as a woman, I know we desire to be known as queens of a kingdom, even if it is a pipe dream. So, Sir, which is the case concerning Aisha?
I do not wish to comment on President Goodluck Jonathan or his wife, Patience, but I fear gravely that with you in the Aso Villa, our sex will lose all the gains that Jonathan's presidency gave us.
Dear General, I read something written by a woman on the back page of the Punch newspapers of Thursday, January 8, 2015 concerning your “missing wife”, but this was the most instructive for me. The writer wrote: “There are several reasons one can adduce for Buhari and his wife's photo hide-and-seek. One, the culture of lovey-dovey is simply not him. Like the Igbo proverb that says a man cannot learn to be left-handed in old age, I wager that this is a left-handedness that Buhari has not learnt and is probably a far harder lesson than removing his cap during a church service.
“Two, he probably thinks being seen with a woman will detract from his famed militarist discipline and Spartan image. He has done a lot of bending just to project himself as a non-Islamic fundamentalist (and) pan Nigerian statesman but the woman aspect just does not resonate well with him – yet. Third, the religion and culture Buhari has known all his life do gift a second-class citizen status to women.”
Sir, Is this writer right in her summation? If that is the case, we may have to wait until you are 76 years old and recognize how important we are as women to vote you in. See you in 2019!
Written by Chika Onuora.