OPINION: Dear First Lady, Nigerians Are No Longer Gullible, By Michael Onjewu
In her characteristic manner, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, Nigeria's first lady took to Twitter on Wednesday to make fresh revelations about happenings at the Presidential Villa.
This time around, Mrs. Buhari accused Garba Shehu, her husband's spokesman of shifting his loyalty from the president to the 'cabal' by presenting himself as a "willing tool and executioner of their antics, from the corridors of power even to the level of interfering with the family affairs of the President."
She also accused Mamman Daura, her in-law of scraping the office of the first lady in 2015 without her husbands knowledge.
This is not the first time madam first lady will be informing Nigerians that her husband is not fully in charge of the presidential villa.
In October, 2016, Mrs. Aisha said she might not support Buhari’s re-election over claims it has been hijacked by cabals.
Speaking in a BBC interview, she revealed that her husband "does not know" most of the top officials in his government, suggesting that a 'powerful caucus' is behind the presidential appointments.
"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 of 27 years," Aisha Buhari said.
On whether she'll support her husband in 2019, Mrs. Buhari said: .."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 as I did before. I will never do it again."
In 2018, Mrs. Buhari also claimed that two powerful personalities were frustrating President Buhari’s effort to develop the country.
According to Aisha, her husband’s administration had “achieved a lot but could have achieved more or even achieved all it had in one year but for two people in government who will never allow things to move fast.”
The first lady noted that she was "disappointed in men who rather than fight these two men will go to them in the night begging for favour.”
Upon her arrival in Nigeria from a London vacation in October, Mrs. Buhari confirmed a viral video showing her ranting in a locked apartment at the Villa. Aisha reportedly got angry after a disagreement with Mamman Daura some months ago.
“I was the one in that video and this person you see standing at my back are my security personnel,” the First Lady narrated.
“It was Fatima, the daughter of Mamman Daura that shot the video in front of my security and everybody there. She was actually recording the whole thing right in front of me and was laughing and mocking me.
“They did that because my husband sacked them from the house. He told them to get all their belongings and leave the house for my son (Yusuf) to occupy.
“I left them and wanted to get to one of the rooms but they prevented me from getting through, I left them and took another way yet I met the store locked,” Mrs. Buhari said.
In the clip, Aisha said: “This is the villa. We have over 200 soldiers guarding us, over 200 policemen. Why do you have to lock this door? What for, what for? Enough is enough. Let me know when you are leaving this place, let me know.”
Before now, I had sympathized with the first lady over her ordeal in the hands of the cabal in the presidency and wondered why the president will allow his wife of 30 years to be treated with so much disdain and disrespect.
Former first ladies - Maryam Babangida, Stella Obasanjo, Turai Yar'Adua and most recently Patience Jonathan didn't have it this bad. They were allowed by their spouses to function effectively without interference from aides or external forces.
Aisha Buhari has however lost my sympathy and those of most Nigerians from her recent actions.
In 2016, she vowed not to support the re-election bid of her husband because of 'cabal' have hijacked his government. But she campaigned vigorously for the president's re-election knowing fully well that the so-called cabals were still there.
Same Aisha Buhari who always runs to twitter to cry foul over how the cabal treats her spoke in support of the draconian social media bill, which seeks to gag free press and freedom of expression. Her daughter, Zahra also supported the bill. Why run to social media for consolation when you want it regulated?.
Has the first lady complained openly about the administration's disobedience to court orders and the clampdown on free speech? has she complained about the jumbo pay our political office holders receive? has she complained about lopsided appointments and nepotism in government? has she spoken openly about insecurity and police brutality in the land?. Why should Mrs. Buhari not blame her own husband for allowing the cabals' operate around him?.
First lady, Nigerians are no longer gullible. We refuse to be distracted by the drama between you and the cabal.
Michael Onjewu is a writer and journalist.