Sunday, 16 October 2016

Nigerians Urged to Pray for President Buhari’s Wife, Aisha

Image result for President Buhari and his wife

BY Okechukwu Onuegbu
A moral crusader, Aisha Edward has urged well meaning Nigerians to voluntarily embark on fasting and prayers for the wife of Nigeria’s President, Aisha Buhari following the would be outcome of her recent statement on BBC Hausa service.
Edward, who is also the National Coordinator, Association of People Living with Sickle Cell Disorder (APLSCD) also appealed to critic to bear with her namesake because aside passing through some family problems, she lives a life depicting the meaning of her name.

She equally noted that women were indeed, those suffering for the election of political office holders; campaigning vigorously and coming out to vote as at when due, while the men folk and youth may be busy with one thing or another even if induced to vote. She therefore called on women to stand by her side in this difficult time.

The soft spoke woman further disclosed that northerners and military men have high respect for women, and wondered why politicians could politicize this mere family issue.

On President Buhari’s statement that women’s role end in kitchen, living room and other room, Aisha said she was convinced that her dear President was joking, because not even inanimate would ever forget the roles of Oby Ezekwesili in rescuing 21 abducted Chibok girls without seeking for compensation.

“Do not misconstrue Mr. President because he was only joking. Northerners regard muslims a lot. Military regards women also. And women have excelled across all sectors and countries of the world. In fact, you dare not accord military honour on a military man without his wife or mother joining to decorating him” Aisha further maintained. researched meaning of Aisha and found out that the name could also be spelt; A'isha (Arabic: عائشة‎‎, Āʾisha), Aisha, Aishah, Aicha, Aishat, Aisya, Aisyah, Ayşe, Aiša, Ajša, Aïcha, or Ayesha; an Arabic female given name which means "She who lives" or "womanly," ‘Life,’ ‘Vivaciousness’, ‘Living’, ‘Prosperous’.

Historically, Aisha was the name of the third, youngest and favourite wife of the Prophet Muhammad. She was the daughter of Abu Bakr, and after Muhammad's death, she waged war against Ali, the fourth caliph, but was defeated. This name is used more by Sunni Muslims and less by Shias. Possibly inspired by princess Aisha of Jordan (1968-), the daughter of King Hussein and his British-born wife, Aisha as a name began to be used in America in the 1970s,  and later, received a boost in popularity after Stevie Wonder used it for his first daughter in 1975.

In Numerology, Aisha stands for number 11; meaning people with a deep inner desire to inspire others in a higher cause, and to share their own strongly held views on spiritual matters, and also, they tend to be quiet, cooperative, considerate, sympathetic to others, adaptable, balanced, sometimes shy, trustworthy, respecting the confidences of others, and make excellent diplomats, mediators and partners, very intuitive, like detail and order, and often find change worrisome, and may sometimes feel insecure or restless.

It would be recalled that Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari's wife in a BBC interview, said that her husband’s government had been hijacked by only a "few people", who were behind presidential appointments.

According to her, the president did not know most of the officials he had appointed, and if that continues, she may not back him at the next election unless he shakes up his government.

“He is yet to tell me, but I have decided as his wife, that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again”. Asked to name those who had hijacked the government, she smiled and declared that “you will know them if you watch television. 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 for 27 years. Some people are sitting down at their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or ministerial position. Some of them don’t even have voters card, and those who made sacrifice have been reduced to nothing and certainly not happy with the way things are going.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, who is on a visit to Germany, laughing off the comment, said, his wife the first lady, belongs to his kitchen and that he knows not which party she belongs to. “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” he said adding that his wife should remember that he ran for presidency three times before succeeding on the fourth effort, “So I claim superior knowledge over her and the rest of the opposition, because in the end I have succeeded. It’s not easy to satisfy the whole Nigerian opposition parties or to participate in the government.”

His comments to reporters in Germany prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel (a female Head of state), standing at his side, to give him a short glare and then laughed.

Buhari, who was a military dictator in the 1980s, was elected in his fourth run at the presidency in 2015 on the back of a coalition that includes former foes and opportunists who abandoned the former governing party of defeated President Goodluck Jonathan. He had campaigned on promises to crack down on corruption and turn the tide against the Boko Haram insurgency. His government yesterday announced the first negotiated release of 21 of 218 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.

However, Nigeria’s northeast faces a famine that threatens to kill tens of thousands of children after Boko Haram disrupted the region’s transportation and farming. Some areas remain dangerous and inaccessible. Nigeria has also fallen into recession amid slumped oil prices and lost its position as Africa’s biggest petroleum producer as militants attacked pipelines in the south.
His wife's decision to go public with her concerns will shock many people, but it shows the level of discontent with the president's leadership, says the BBC's Naziru Mikailu in the capital, Abuja.

It would be recalled that Aisha Buhari campaigned vigorously for her husband in last year's election in Nigeria, organising town hall meetings with women's groups and youth organisations across the country. However, she kept a low profile at the start of the administration and was barely seen or heard. She was restricted to her work on the empowerment of women and helping victims of the Boko Haram conflict in the north-east of the country where she is from. This is one of the reasons why this damning interview has caught the attention of many Nigerians.
Critics say a large number of people have been appointed because of their relationship with those people in one way or the other.

Mrs Buhari was prompted to speak out in an effort to end those practices so that party loyalists who contributed to his election victory could benefit.
Her critics say she is speaking out only because she failed to convince the president to appoint her own people. However, as the closest person to the president, she must have exhausted all avenues before criticising him in the media.

The comments could also mark a turning point for a government that has clearly struggled to deal with economic recession and is facing growing disquiet within the ruling party. The Nigerian economy, battered by low global oil prices and currency devaluation, officially entered recession in August for the first time in a decade. Oil sales account for 70% of government income. The president famously remarked at his inauguration that he "belongs to nobody and belongs to everybody" which he is not even leavening up to considering his lopsided appointments and war against corruption targeted against few political/ethnic opponents.

Born on 17 February 1971 in north-eastern Nigeria's Adamawa state, Aisha Buhari is the granddaughter of the nation's first Minister of Defence, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu, and married Muhammadu Buhari in 1989. They have five children together, a boy and four girls.

In 1995 she opened the Hanzy Spa, northern Nigeria's first beauty parlour, in Kaduna State, after obtaining a diploma in beauty therapy from the Carlton Institute in the UK, and in published the book, The Essentials of Beauty Therapy: A Complete Guide for Beauty Specialists in 2014.

Also, Mrs. Buhari is an advocate of human rights and has donated money to help the families of victims of Boko Haram after more than 250 girls were kidnapped by the militant group in 2014. She caused upset in Nigeria last year after appearing in public wearing an expensive-looking watch, which led some to ask whether she was undermining Mr Buhari's "man of the people" image.

Similarly, Mrs Buhari was also criticised on social media for attempting to shake hands with the Alaafin of Oyo, a leading chief of the Yoruba people.

Nigerians have been weighing in on Twitter to give their judgement on the first lady's frank interview. Reacting to the President vs First Lady’s war of words, Nigerians made up of women activists, party leaders, and socio-political organisations among others, urged President Buhari to heed his wife’s suggestion, noting that being the wife of the President placed her in a position to make informed statements.

According to the Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, WARDC, Dr. Biola Akiyode- Afolabi (a woman activist), “Buhari’s statement has actually taken us backward and I think it is an affirmation of his position on gender equality. Such statement was not expected. The fact that he made the statement in Germany where he was beside a female President, made the statement very unfortunate. It was indeed an unfortunate statement. There is a need for Nigerian women to reaffirm themselves beyond the stereotyping of their position in the society. The wife’s statement which he responded to showed that the role of women goes beyond the kitchen. He has drawn us back to ancient days. With the wave around the world including Germany with a female leadership and the US which is preparing for another, the President has only spoken his mind. Unfortunately, this cannot be tolerated in this generation. We will join his wife to resist any second attempt to introduce patriarchy except he retracts the statement. His statement is condemnable.”

Also reacting, a former Minster of Women Affairs, Mrs. Josephine Anenih disclosed that “The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot belong to his kitchen. When we first read it we were stunned. Then we did not believe he could have said it. But watching him on a video we cannot believe that the gentleman who promised to take Nigerian women higher in public service was serious about what he was saying. If he meant it, then he is definitely on his own because Nigerian women will kick hard against it. I think he was trying to make light and downplay the seriousness and import of Mrs. Aisha Buhari’s BBC interview. Unfortunately, he came out with the wrong words. The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot belong to his kitchen.”

On his part, Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Muhammed said: “Mrs. Buhari has just stated what is obvious to everybody but Buhari’s reaction to the interview is scandalous. The statement by Buhari that she belongs to the kitchen is scandalous and for any man to think at this age and time that women are only meant for the kitchen, is a very bad thinking. I think the person that asked Mr. President to react has done him a great disservice and for him to say such a thing when he was beside one of the most powerful women in the world was wrong.”

Speaking also, a retired Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav said: “The response is very unfortunate because the President and his wife are not supposed to disagree in public. But she was actually telling him the truth that those, who helped the party, had been left out. The advice is very useful but she should not have made that known to the public. The wife should talk less and not constitute an opposition to the president. She can advice him privately but not in the public.”

In the same vein, the Spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prof Dayo Adeyeye averred that “What Aisha said is not worth responding to because she was talking to her husband.”

To the National Publicity Secretary of Pan-Yoruba socio-political organistaion, Afefenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin; “It is a weighty statement from someone that cannot by any stretch of imagination be among the “wailing wailers”. It shows that there is some crack within which may be unhealthy for the polity. It was definitely prompted by unhealthy power play in the seat of power but our concern is about the direction our country is headed.”

The Acting National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Timi Frank added: ‘’I think Mrs. Buhari deserve commendation because she was actually speaking the minds of not only the party members but Nigerians. What Mrs. Buhari has said is not different from what some of us have been saying that it is high time the President restructured his cabinet and bring in people who understand the manifestoe of the party and could help deliver on its change mantra, especially, the economy of the country which needs urgent attention.

Reacting on his facebook wall, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe  said “I stand with Aisha Buhari on her BBC interview 120 percent. Nancy Reagan, the wife of a former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan was once asked by the press why she is so powerful and unimaginably influential. She told them she was powerful and influential because she sleeps with the most powerful President on earth. Aisha Buhari is with Africa’s most powerful President. She is an amazing beauty, very educated and can hold her head high anywhere in the world. She is influential and focused. President Buhari must listen to her and do the needful. This great woman is doing what any sensible wife and mother can do when there is a need to do so and even at a time like this. President Buhari needs our support including that of his jewel of inestimable value, Aisha.”



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