Mrs Aisha Buhari, wife and First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is indeed one of a kind. In a nation that has had a number of first ladies whose personalities ranged from the beautiful to the cantankerous, first ladies who were reputed more for the absurd and neither possessed the dignity nor the grace that such an office demanded, but rather used the office to foist a dainty personality cult upon the nation, helping to churn out a number of hurried millionaires and billionaires that we have today.
The First Lady’s office has attracted its own share of drama, and whether it was Maryam Babaginda’s highhandedness, Turai Yar Adua’s deft as well as brutish understanding of the power game that almost plunged the nation into a constitutional crisis or our own Dame Patience Jonathan, who was I think without shame, the nation has been well entertained, though it much depends on the genre they sought to star in.
Like I mentioned earlier, we remember how Turai Yar Adua and the cabal attempted to keep the nation hanging on the precipice overlooking a sea of tumult, because she did not want Goodluck Jonathan who was then the vice president to act in her husband’s stead, how could she? Had she not ordered the vice president to cosign himself to the duty of reading newspapers in office? How can we forget the ruinous demeanour of the Dame, who reduced the office of the First Lady to a combination of a Ramota cum Ovularia manned home! Dame Patience Jonathan dared governors and even snatched microphones from them as they spoke, giving them a dressing down, if she disagreed with them! To some, she was the personification of Ejeagha’s ‘Anikoturupka’, to others; she was their ‘Jesus Christ’ and defacto president at times overruling the weakling that co-presided at that time.
Mrs Aisha Buhari appears to be cut from another cloth, unlike previous spouses of our nation’s helmsmen, Mrs Buhari
has approached the difficult task of such an office with a humility not seen in former first ladies. Formerly an office that attracted stories of sleaze and unbridled corruption, Mrs Buhari has managed to keep the office away from activities that could lead to scarring by the press and opponents of her husband. This, perhaps may be due to her husband’s stringent anti -corruption stance, one that has won local, national and international acclaim, however, to rule out Mrs Buhari’s strength of character will be unfair.
Recently, Mrs Buhari did constitute a Woman and Youth Campaign team to champion her husband’s reelection. Before now, a couple of naysayers and busy bodies had latched unto a couple of statements of the first lady predicting that Mrs Buhari would not campaign for her husband’s second term ambition. Of course, this scenario, had it played out would have put the Buhari Campaign in a moral credibility fix, giving the opposition a leeway to dent President Buhari’s integrity using the institution of marriage which is highly revered in the African Society.
True to her type, Mrs Buhari’s campaign style has been brilliant, harping largely on the positives of the president’s social intervention programs, knowing fully well that the major beneficiaries of these programs are women, youths and children.
The campaigns, which kicked off in Kano and then Nassarawa, saw Mrs Buhari pulling a crowd majorly made up of woman, twice the size of the crowd of the PDP Presidential candidate, eliciting a pained statement from the opposition that alleged that Mrs Buhari had been bribed to campaign for her husband.
Mrs Buhari’s campaign language has also been ladened with themes and a language that sits well with most common folk; doing this with a calm and purposive outlook, that soothes rather than aggravates.
One therefore understands much the opposition’s newfound angst in Mrs Buhari’s campaign. It is indeed bad that even with the possession of a mini harem by the opoosition’s candidate, none of his wives have been campaigning for him or have accompanied him on the campaign trail and with the false momentum of a predicted victory for the opposition quickly fading, Mrs Buhari’s entry is making any hope of a recovery by the opposition a fleeting one.
In the end, Mrs Buhari’s campaign for her husband and his party’s candidates all over the federation and their policies is indeed a welcome development. It is also an avenue for the empowerment of most women who came from far and wide to see the first lady. It should also serve that such campaigns and its style might just be the precursor of a female president using Aisha Buhari’s campaign mien and themes as worthy templates.
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