Fire in the Presidential Bedroom

Fire in the Presidential Bedroom

By Ahmed Musa Husaini 

Ahmed Musa Husaini
Ahmed Musa Husaini

“An event has happened upon which it is difficult to speak and impossible to remain silent.” – Edmund Burke.

I find Mrs Aisha Buhari’s explosive BBC Hausa interview perfectly befitting the above dilemma. There is fire in the bedroom!

I am among those who disagree with the First Lady’s decision to go public with her criticism of her husband’s stewardship. Why? Because, motives and political correctness aside, I strongly believe spousal loyalty is absolute, unconditional, and beyond politics.

We have seen political figures and their marriages surviving through difficult trials and misfortunes, from infidelities to legal convictions to political setbacks. Most Nigerians rightly expect the First Lady to do better than dissing her husband in public.

But that is merely after the fact. There’s nothing we can do to undo the damage already done. Now, more than ever, we owe ourselves a duty to examine the reservations she expressed on their own merits and demerits.

The fact is, what the First Lady said is what many of the President’s genuine loyalists have been saying in private. A self-centred, integrity-challenged cabal has, to some extent, hijacked the Presidency and various efforts to make the President retake control and restore some balance have proved ineffective.

As someone fairly stated about the Aso Rock power struggle, I can relate to all the First Lady was saying as she struggled to express herself in Hausa. There are details that aren’t meant for public consumption because of their sensitivity, more so when the President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime is still work in progress.

This is not an issue about the President belonging to nobody. I make bold to say President Buhari is only living partly true to his I-belong-to-everybody-I-belong-to-nobody ideal. The unpalatable truth is that the President belongs to some more than others.

I read critics of her interview pointing at her obsession with political appointments as a sign that her frustration is borne out of her inability to have her way by matter of political patronage, some even going as far as saying President Buhari is under no obligation to reward political loyalties. But that’s plain doublespeak. Rewarding political loyalty matters.

President Buhari fell out with his then protégé, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, former governor of Kano State, because of the latter’s decision to abandon Buhari loyalists in the The Buhari Organization, the political machinery that brought the little known Shekarau to power against a powerful incumbent.

Political patronage can be dispensed in a meritocratic and inclusive manner, without jeopardizing the need to put the right people at the right places. I never came across any great political figure without seeing in him or her a person adept at rewarding loyalties and balancing interest groups. This is because, there are no people who share your vision than those who follow you through thick and thin to sell your candidacy. Yes, it is possible that some may be there for their own interests, but considering the fact that PMB had neither wealth nor power when he was running for office, it is safe to assume that the majority of those who subscribed to the Sai Buhari chant put national interests above their own self interests.

It is normal that political cabal and interest groups are bound to lurk around the corridors of power. Every politician, every leader, is surrounded by a certain circle that more or less calls the shots. The problem is when such cabal mixes its own interests with those of the country, or when the leader concerned becomes incapable of reasserting himself when necessary.

To me, the claim that she was talking out of a selfish prism rather than altruism is merely secondary. In the past, I had advocated a decision over the status of the office of the First Lady either by abolishing it altogether or granting it official status through an executive order or legislative bill. I also made public my reservations about the increasing official visibility of a so-called First Daughter, describing it as a creeping aberration capable of setting a wrong and dangerous precedent.

I am appalled, however, to read those exhorting us to accept Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin’s legislative padding revelations and ignore his own individual culpability now preaching that we should reject the First Lady and her message altogether. I expect some consistency here. Whatever sauce that is reserved for Jibrin’s goose should be extended to the First Lady’s gander.

Finally, I have few words for the mobs at the two political extremes: the wailers and the hailers. The wailers should be ashamed of themselves for shamelessly celebrating a woman who until recently was the subject of their relentless campaign of hate and calumny.

To the hailers, it smacks of poor judgment to insult the President’s wife over a disagreement with her husband of 27 years. You simply do not have those liberties. One cannot claim to respect the President and insult his wife. No self-respecting Buhari loyalist will stoop this low.

  • Ahmed Musa Husaini
  • Abuja



  1. Jazuli October 20, 2016 Reply
  2. Isah Ibrahim October 20, 2016 Reply

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