Aisha Buhari v. Muhammadu Buhari: Should a president’s wife publicly question his political judgment?

Ladybrillers, by now you must have heard and read about the public relations crisis involving Nigeria’s president Muhammad Buhari and his wife Aisha Buhari. If you haven’t, here is the short gist. A few days ago, Mrs. Buhari publicly criticized and questioned her husband’s political judgment in appointing some of the officials he has appointed to his cabinet. In addition, she warned that she would not support him in a  bid for re-election should he continue with his modus operandi, unless he appoints the right persons to help deliver on the promises he made to the Nigerian people. She stated that her husband did not know at least “45 of 50” persons he had appointed, and claimed a few were “hijacking” his administration.

“Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife has warned him that she may not back him at the next election unless he shakes up his government.

In a BBC interview, Aisha Buhari suggested his government had been hijacked by only a “few people”, who were behind presidential appointments.

She said the president did not know most of the officials he had appointed.

Mr Buhari, who is on a visit to Germany, has responded by saying his wife belonged in his kitchen.

Standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a news conference, the president laughed off his wife’s accusations.

“I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” he said.” –BBC

The President’s response to his wife’s statement, on a global platform, was to say his wife “belonged in (his) kitchen, (his) living room and the other room.”

While Buhari’s response is backward and an inappropriate way to speak about his wife, a bigger and more more troubling question, for anyone, should be: is it appropriate for the wife of a sitting President to publicly criticize and question his political judgment?

What happens if Michelle Obama publicly criticized and questioned President Barack Obama’s political judgment? Is such action going beyond the scope of the powers granted to a First Lady? Does it  compromise the safety and integrity of the President’s administration?

Also, why should a President’s wife have to know all of the persons he appoints in his administration?

Share your thoughts and let us know.

Mrs. Buhari is currently attending the African Women’s Forum in Switzerland where she is speaking on “Women’s Role in Global Security.”

Ladybrille Magazine

Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.

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