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To Aisha Buhari, My Respects

By Remi Oyeyemi
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There have been many commentaries on the BBC interview of Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari. The explosive interview has been widely responded to at home and in Diaspora. She has been praised by many who appreciate her candour. Some hypocrites who are dealers in falsehood and sycophancy, incapable of appreciating facts for what they are have also seized the opportunity to attack the articulate but evidently clear headed first lady.

The First Lady has commandeered my respect and admiration. She has successfully appropriated my regards. Even though, I never did support the Mohammadu Buhari candidacy which she wholeheartedly supported for obvious reasons, I salute her courage, candour and credibility. I salute her honesty. I appreciate her forthrightness.

I must admit that she truly loves her husband. It is only those who truly love you that would wish you success. Only those who truly love you would wish you make fewer mistakes. She not only loves her husband, she is a good mother who does not take her responsibility to her children lightly. Her last name is Buhari. It could become an albatross or an asset depending on the performance and the legacy of her husband. She has a lot of stakes in the success of her husband as the president of Nigeria than an opportunist and alleged bribe taker like Abba Kyari. The future of her children is tied to the legacy of her husband unlike that of a confused and indolent Mamman Daura.

She did not have a choice but to speak up for herself and her children. She would not be a good wife and mother if she had failed to do so. Obviously, she was very concerned that her husband could do better and he is not rising to the occasion. Only true love would make someone have the audacity and the temerity to challenge a devilish and dangerous cabal holding one’s husband hostage. Not all women could do that. Some women in this position would rather wring their hands and resign themselves to fate.

The First Lady’s criticism is also an act of patriotism to the country. She loves the country and wants the country to survive. It shows that she has a heart. She can feel. She is considerate. She is not selfish. She thinks of others. She wants success for her country. She is not removed from reality. Evidently, she could hear the moaning and the groaning of the people. She is grounded in reality and not cocooned off from the gnashing of the teeth of the ordinary Nigerians.

She believes that something could be done about the situation. It is evident that she became an active campaigner for her husband to be elected because she truly believed in him. She had hopes. She had dreams. She was optimistic that her husband could really make a difference. She became actively involved. She expended a lot of energy and time to get her husband elected. Like millions of Nigeria, she was convinced that life could be made better with her husband in charge. She was and is obviously concerned that the president is frittering away the opportunity to live up to expectation.

It is also very evident that she is a better politician than her husband. She believes that those who sow should be allowed to reap the fruits of their efforts. She is of the view that those who dived into the trenches to ensure the success of her husband to be elected as president ought to be closer to him. She believes that they all had a collective dream and hope. She was and is still convinced that they all had good aspirations for Nigeria and Nigerians.

She is convinced that those who worked to get her husband elected would appreciate better the urgency of now and work better for Nigeria and Nigerians than the opportunists and the dangerous cabal who never contributed anything in terms of idea or resources. She seems sure that the administration of her husband would perform better with those foot soldiers that propelled her husband to power because of shared aspiration and hope for the country. She is sure that the price they paid to get to where they are would serve as a reminder of the need to be successful for themselves and Nigeria.

She is also very concerned about the fact that her husband is making enemies of his true friends; or that those who hijacked her husband’s administration her chasing away his true friends. She is concerned that her husband has become captive and removed from the reality subsisting in the rest of Nigeria. She could no longer live with the complaints of the people and other political associates of her husband that she worked with to get her husband elected.

From the tenor of the interview, it was evident that she has not been very successful in getting her stubborn husband to listen to her. It was evident that she is frustrated with an incorrigible husband. It is evident that she was not willing to give up on her husband despite his intractability. True love doesn’t give up so easily. True love perseveres. True love is dutiful. True love is protective at all costs. True love is brave and courageous. True love is fearless; regardless of the circumstance. This is what Aisha has demonstrated for the president.

The First Lady’s threat of not supporting her husband for 2019 seemed to have raised the bar to another level. That threat seemed to have gotten the attention of both supporters of the president and his detractors. It dumbfounded some objective observers. But it underscored the frustration of Nigerians in general with the president who represented so much hope but has brought to bear so much frustration and disappointment.

One’s hope is that President Buhari would have the courage and fortitude to listen to his wife. It is hope that the president would take one step or two back to review the situation and seek remedies. It is hoped that the president would extricate himself from the anachronistic and moribund mentality that consigns the women in our lives to the “kitchen, the living room and the other room.” It is hoped that the scale would fall off the eyes of President Buhari to appreciate his wife better and listen to her more.

President Buhari should remember that all those holding him captive right now would abandon him when the consequences of his failures begin to haunt him. He should understand that they would not bat an eyelid when he would be detained for mismanagement and corruption that is festering under his leadership right now. The president should remember that ONLY Aisha, and the children would always be there for him. She and the children would be the ones to bear the brunt of discomfort engendered by such situation, if it should arise.

My heart goes to Aisha Buhari. My regard goes to her. Showing courage in the face of monumental adversity is not a mean task. Getting a recalcitrant husband to back down is a serious challenge. Convincing an incorrigible husband to see reason is difficult. Tackling a vicious cabal is even more challenging. Calling a calculating cabal to order is not easy. Yet all these are challenges that have to be met. The First Lady’s frustration in this situation is better imagined than experienced. She is engaged in a titanic tussle. She deserves our sympathy; our help and encouragement.

To Hajia Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady, my admiration and respects.

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”

- John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961

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