I don’t really care whether Aisha Buhari belongs to the President’s kitchen, other room or even another man. That is their personal problem. What I am worried about is the fact that some Nigerians are celebrating her for wanting their most loyal friends in government.
If the first lady had criticized the President’s friends for being inept, then I wouldn’t have bothered even if we decided to name a state after her but as things stand, I can’t help hating those singing her praises and admiring her for other things.
I admire her for having the guts to say what she did without being scared of losing the first ladyship which could mean never being able to afford Salvatore Ferragamo Capes. The one she wore to the African Ladies’ Summit in Brussels costs about $2600 (N1.157M) and that is just about N50,000 less than her husband’s monthly salary. I respect the lady for paying little or no attention to the fact that she might never ‘rock’ a handbag like the one she used on her August trip to the US if Buhari divorces her. It was a Hermes Birkin bag and its worth over N10M. Then you also have the £10,000 Choppard diamond watch she wore while attending the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York alongside her husband and daughters just last month. She didn’t seem to bother about that and It intrigues me to no end.
The first lady’s new ‘fans’ should be asking how she was able to afford all these and whether or not we have suddenly started running a government of friends for friends, something the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti would refer to as ‘Paddy Paddy Government’? Is a cabinet reshuffle or an inner circle shake-up the only condition attached to her support for Buhari come 2019? Does she think any of the women who have seen her in those accessories would be dumb enough to allow themselves be swayed by whatever she thinks or says even if she decides to campaign for her husband in 2019?
You just have to give it up for how she was able to pull it off. To look a people in the eye, sell such a disgustingly self-serving interest to them and still have them applaud her for it is sheer genius.
But not all of us are fools.A lot of us would rather the President surrounds himself with capable hands than true friends in these trying times. Rewarding the people who voted him in by steering us out of this mess and delivering on his electoral promises far outweigh the merits of any friendship. The President had once defended his lopsided appointments by erroneously pointing out that he was covered by the constitution and more notably, that he needed to reward friends who had ‘suffered’ with him all the way to the Presidency.
I remember saying at that time that we were in trouble. We not only had a President who didn’t understand a provision as explicit as that of Federal character in our constitution, we had a man clearly placing loyalty above competence. You need not look far to find out how he aggravated an already bad situation.
For what it is worth, the Buharis are cut from the same cloth and either way, their philosophy on governance is not what we need. I hope everyone realizes that.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.