By Okanga Agila
If given the latitude to describe the personality in Hajiya Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammedu Buhari, I would not hesitate to say, she is a complete encapsulation of a virtuous woman. She blazes as an epitome of excellence, hard work, discipline and humility. Though, an introvert, no one can contest her unbeatable savvy in uprightness and philanthropy.
Unarguably, Aisha Buhari is so far the only wife of a Nigerian President, who operates quietly and noiselessly, but very impactful on the lives of thousands of people. She is distinctively measured in domestic affairs or matrimony, much as in business and academics. But imbued with all these enviable qualities, she does not puff the usual aura of celebrities or the exuberance of rare breeds of her stuff, but keeps a low profile of herself and the family, reputed as stainless and unblemished.
I am sure these are essentially the noble virtues; the likes of Mr. Reno Omokri, the former aide on Social Media to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan admired in Aisha Buhari, but lacked the wit and gait to accurately reflect in his recent facebook comments on her.
Again, while struggling to tame the anger instigated by Omokri’s egoistic provocations on the first family, I noticed that the online portal, Saharareporters, which excites itself with the visibility of substance in the “change agenda,” in the contour and face of governance in Nigeria, baselessly and conspiratorially went on the offensive. It downplayed its relishing of the extra-ordinary stripping of the appurtenances and flamboyance routinely associated with the office of First Ladies in Nigeria, which President Buhari has suspended, preferring his better half, Aisha to function in Nigeria’s context as wife of Mr. President.
Yet, in spite of his voluntary submission to the ethos of prudence and a culture of discipline completely alien to former First Ladies of Nigeria, the online publication’s insatiable quest to unjustly malign and castigate eminent personalities in Nigeria compelled it to do the unthinkable. It has pursued the shadows of Aisha Buhari in blind fury and tended to injure itself.
Back to Reno Omokri for a while; I dare say, he deserves pity. He is obviously exuding signs of senility. And it has so frustrated him to the extent; it appears he talks before thinking. He is glued to politicking. But unfortunately, his inability to find a bearing to exercise his sycophantic instincts like he did in the Jonathan days in Aso Rock bleeds torrents of indignation. Thus, upstaged by destiny, rioting thoughts constantly assail and enslave his prehensile so badly.
He posted on his facebook account these idle comments thus; “Aisha Buhari is a decent and courageous woman who carries herself well in my opinion. Her public interventions have shown that she has the heart of the common man in mind. She is, dare I say it, a breath of fresh air. I actually wish she was our President instead of her truly clueless husband. But whatever the case, she is not an elected official, thus, the media should leave her alone and focus on her husband.”
A perusal of the comment leaves you in the middle of nowhere; or in some sort of dilemma understanding his intentions. Is it to praise or lampoon the Buharis? It’s a question; Omokri himself would spend a century pondering an answer.
But observing him from the outside, I could not resist the conclusion that he deserves to be assisted in discerning and appreciating the new political and governance environment in Nigeria, ennobled by President Buhari. It continuously and unbelievably assail his sensitivities, throwing him into a mesmerized trance of repeatedly shouting aloud to his solitary self, “It cannot be true.” But it’s true, Omokri, that the face of Nigeria is changing for good.
I know Reno Omokri is an African from Nigeria’s Niger Delta creeks. Our belief in Africa is that behind every successful man there is a woman. A family is a perfect example of an ideal home only to the extent both the husband and wife pair evenly in noble character. It’s not possible to completely separate the meat from the born.
So, if Aisha Buhari is agreeably a positive character as Omokri affirms, would her husband Buhari not be infectiously influenced by these virtues? It’s impossible for Omokri to draw a distinction or rightly put, perceive a success in Hajiya Aisha and failure in President Buhari simultaneously. As a reminder, his former boss, Ex-President Jonathan was a failure in leadership because his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan was not just his albatross, but the worse image of failure. It affected him severely. If Omokri reflects deeply on the allusion, the difference would strike him like thunder.
For emphasis though and re-education of warped minds like Omokri, President Buhari is a rare example of a leader, not just in Nigeria, but in the entire world. Nigeria has become a country accorded prestige in the comity of nations, with glowing appellations from world leaders because of the Buhari Presidency. It has never happened since 1999.
The digestive tips suggest that despite the inherited economic crunch and its refusal to subside, since Buhari took over the reins of governance, he has been able to forage and steadily remedy Nigeria’s tissue of problems. He has improved public power supply and re-energized the construction of rails, as an alternative public transport system for the masses.
Buhari is constructing multi-billion naira road projects across the country; he has dealt a fatal blow to insecurity, by defeating Boko Haram insurgents; much as providing jobs for unemployed youths in Nigeria; his anti-graft campaigns have not only polished Nigeria’s image abroad, but looters are returning amazing amounts of stolen wealth; Nigeria’s economy is on the path of diversification in agriculture, with verifiable loans to farmers and the measures already implemented have indicated signs of Nigeria’s hopeful recovery from the economic recession in 2017 and so forth. This is not a president any sane mind can describe as clueless.
Aisha Buhari is a replica of her husband. In her private career in beauty and fashion, she established and administered a successful company called, Hanzy Spa and the Hanzy Beauty Institute in Kaduna and Abuja. Her resentment of corruption compelled her to shut down her beauty salon following the emergence of her husband as President of Nigeria, to frustrate con-persons from using it to blackmail and defraud Nigerians.
In academics she has measured impressively to the extent of authoring a book titled; “Essentials of Beauty Therapy: A Complete Guide for Beauty Specialists.” Innately philanthropic, Aisha Buhari donated the N55 million realized from the public presentation of the book to parents of the missing Chibok school girls and the Buni Yadi school boys slain by Boko Haram insurgents.
Each time she visits IDP camps in the Northeast, the occupants, especially women, the young and vulnerable feel the tender, affectionate touch of not just the mother of a nation, but the love of their own biological mothers. The gestures are not incidental to her, as wife of the President, but it is a cause she is naturally inclined and has pursued and devoted her entire life. Though a Muslim, she fetes Abuja residents, her temporary residential abode, with Christmas gifts to demonstrate that religion is not a barrier in the communion and unity of Nigerians.
A loud woman and child-rights advocate, Mrs. Buhari’s NGO “Future Assured” is anchored on the promotion of the good health and well-being of women and children through community mobilization and health promotion. It is mainly focused on improving the recurring poor health conditions of women, children and other vulnerable Nigerians. Foresighted enough, Aisha has exposed her NGO not only to Nigerians, but publicly launched “Future Assured” at the last session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York in September 2016.
A woman with a corruptible mindset would not dare expose herself to a venerated world body like the United Nations (UN). It brings to the fore; Saharareporters smear campaign and foolery in attempting to demean the character and persona of the wife of President Buhari.
It alleged in publications that Hajiya Aisha Buhari’s frequent visits to London engulfed a “minimum” of £7,000 from the Nigeria’s High Commission in the United Kingdom (UK), an amount it claimed was for hospitality on each of the trips.
It said, “Last year alone, Mrs. Buhari visited the UK at least seven times.” It quoted a memo signed by Ibrahim Sule, Minister Counselor/Head of Chancery to the effect although the wife of the President and members of her entourage would stay at the vacant house/official residence of High Commissioner, but hospitality to the tune of £7,000 was needed for the purpose and the request was approved the same day.
In normal government operations, nowhere request for such expenditures are approved in the exactitude of the amount requested as the media report presented. Wife of the President is entitled to such protocols anywhere she visits. Besides, in Aisha Buhari’s case her NGO sponsors most of the trips.
Some arm-chair critics of the Buhari administration may not notice the change in the face of governance in Nigeria. But prior to the emergence of Buhari as President, in the same UK, a whooping £32, 000 would be squandered on landing fees for the private jets of Nigerian First Ladies alone; hospitality excluded. But in Mrs. Buhari’s case, only a paltry £3,500 was expended on hospitality or for the entire trip, in spite of the hullabaloo by the online platform, which covered her entire entourage for days.
Even on the face value, is there no yawning difference between the past and the present or are the sponsors of the report insinuating that the wife of Nigeria’s incumbent President is not entitled to official treatment anywhere she goes in the world for whatever reason? This is babyish pettiness. The report could not as much as even whisper to gratify itself that the £3,500 the Nigerian High Commission claimed to have been expended on Mrs. Buhari was handed to her in cash as estacode allowance. This is truly, idle journalism.
Hajiya Aisha Buhari has demanded a mere apology from the online medium over the malicious publication for the embarrassment cause her. It is in her spirit of humility, but the online portal should go the extra-mile to repair its damaged reputation by its penchant to anoint and decorate falsehood with the status reality. The Buharis remain an incorruptible family and no hateful propaganda can tarnish this image.
Okanga writes from Agila, Benue State.