AISHA BUHARI AND THE WAR IN ASO ROCK

In the history of Nigeria, there is, perhaps, no First Lady who has constituted herself into an opposition to the administration of her husband as Aisha Muhammadu Buhari. Five years down the line, Aisha has continued to lament and to complain against those who work for her husband, particularly members of the inner circle.

From the onset, Aisha did not leave anybody in doubt that she did not fancy these people working for her husband. She has continued to attack them, has remained at odds with them, and in the process, has made herself an onlooker, an outsider, and a stranger to the government of her husband. This is unfortunate.

In 2016, when President Buhari was lying on his sick bed in London, Aisha chided these people he referred to as “vampires”, who, she said, had come to eat from where they did not sow. According to her, during the Presidential election campaigns, these people were never seen, but as soon as the President mounted the saddle, they took over everything, beclouded his vision and started imposing people on him.

She claimed that the President did not know majority of those who were working for him, who were appointed to work for his government, from the Ministers, down the line. They were all imposed on him, and that was why things were not working, why the administration had failed to meet the expectations of the people. She then threatened not to participate in the second term election campaign of the President, unless he purged himself of this excess luggage, in other words, sack all those people who had become liabilities to his administration.

But the President would not listen to the antics of his wife. When later he was confronted and asked to comment about his wife’s outbursts, he simply dismissed them with a wave of the hand, and said that the woman did not know anything about politics, and that her only place was in “the oza room”. It was a joke too hard, but Aisha had to bear it with equanimity.

Next, Aisha went to Katsina State, the home state of her husband. There, she saw many poor women mill around, poverty clearly written on their faces. She was disturbed. She marveled. She asked herself, if these women were from the President’s home state, how about millions of other women in other states where the President did not come from? She burst out in the open and asked: “Where is that billions of naira the government claims to be spending to fight poverty in the name of its social investment programme?”

That outburst jolted many people in the corridors of power. It was a direct attack on the core programme of her husband, where the government claimed to have lifted millions of Nigerians out of poverty. The message Aisha Buhari seemed to have passed was, if the President’s programme was not working in his home state, where else is it working?

It was a very serious indictment of the administration of her husband. The Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Programme, Maryam Uwais, came out of her shell to strenuously begin to defend the indefensible.

During the run up to the 2019 general elections, Aisha wanted her brother to become the Governor of her home state of Adamawa. The man paid heavily to pick the nomination form as stipulated by the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to contest the position. Somewhere along the line, the man was dropped by the leadership of the party at the centre. Aisha was furious and lambasted the APC leadership: Why made people to pay through their nose for the nomination forms when they already had people they wanted in mind?

When President Buhari assumed office for his second term journey in May this year, rather than see this as a challenge and begin to think of how best she could help him succeed, Aisha decided to keep off. For more than two months, her whereabouts were known. This fueled speculations that all was not well with the first family. Then, the rumour mills went to town. They said that the President was planning to marry a second wife!

When the rumour became so intense, Aisha took the next available flight and flew into the country from London, ostensibly to thwart any alleged marriage plans between her husband and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sodiya Umar Farouq. That was when she remembered to tell us that her long absence was because she was on holiday. Some people believed her, others did not.

Aisha did not end at that. A video clip where she was seen accusing the daughter of Mamman Daura (Buhari’s cousin), Fatima, of preventing her from accessing some parts of Aso Rock, the nation’s seat of power, was blown open. It was a serious embarrassment. She was to later publicly apologize for that video leak. Everybody knew that the relationship between Aisha and Mamman Daura, head of the Aso Rock Cabal, was like that of between the cat and the mouse.

Aisha Buhari is in the news again. She has accused Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, of being a willing tool in the hands of Mamman Daura to destroy her and her family. She alleged that Garba Shehu was responsible for the Presidency not recognizing her position as First Lady of the country.

She claimed that the Presidency had refused to approve any funds for her to run her pet project, and that she had been funding the programme from her personal resources. According to her: Garba Shehu had transferred his loyalty to Mamman Daura and thereby working against the interest of the First Lady and in the process, constituted himself into a willing tool to destroy the First Family.

She claimed that Garba Shehu took instructions in the beginning from Mamman Daura to declare that there was no Office of First Lady, a situation which she said, embarrassed the President.

“As spokesperson of the President he (Garba Shehu) has the onerous responsibility of managing the image of the President and promoting the good works he is executing in the country. Rather than face this responsibility squarely, he has shifted his loyalty from the President to others who have no stake in the contract the President signed with Nigerians on May 29, 2015, and 2019”, she stated.

“To make matters worse, Mr. Shehu has presented himself to these people as a willing tool and executioner of their antics, from the corridors of power even to the level of interfering in the family affairs of the President. This should not be so. The blatant meddling in the affairs of a first lady of a country is a continuation of the prodigal action of those that he serves”, she lamented.

A very serious allegation. As they say, when two elephants fight, it is the grasses that suffer. While Aisha and her traducers are busy trading hot blows, fighting one another, governance of the country is abandoned. Even through our President has severally kept mute and pretended as if he did not know of the ongoing war, there is no doubt that the “war” in Aso Rock might have taken a lot of his precious time with which he would have fruitfully put into the governance of the country. This is unfortunate.

At the same time, charity, they say, begins at home. If our President was not able to resolve the conflict in his own family and allows it to continue to fester on and on, since the past five years, it then appears that it would be very difficult for him to solve, or to quench the conflagration that has engulfed the entire nation.

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