By Mahmoon Baba-Ahmed
Hajiya Aisha Buhari is charming, full of dignity, always showing self-respect and behaving in a proper and respectable way. She is the adorable wife of General Muhammadu Buhari, who is himself a fine gentlemen and intelligent politician. He is reputed to be upright, incorruptible and undemanding personality. He abhors ostentations and shy away from needless publicity. He is neither aristocratic nor a patrician but a simple folk who likes to mingle with both the highly and lowly in the society. In accordance with his simple disposition, General Buhari has been a vociferous critic of the unwarranted importance attached to the office of the First Lady and the illegal, unauthorised allocation of public funds to sustain it.
His wife has also reasoned in the same vein as she subtly and tactfully disparages it, pointing out that the glamour and relevance of that unconstitutional office has already died with its flamboyant architect, Maryam Babangida, the wife of a colourful military president. Hajiya A’isha indicated that she will prefer to be called and addressed as the Wife of President rather than the First Lady which was superfluous and inconsistent with present realities.
That was why the concept of First Ladyship, imported from Western democracies, is awfully abused in this country, and from all indications it is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good. Its practice is making everyone ill at ease. Initially the idea was to enable the wife of a President or governor accompany him to any state function where her presence will add colour and glamour, but in Nigeria First Ladies have redefined that role by usurping the authorities of their hubbies, performing executive functions, making unbudgeted expenditure and annexing public property for their personal aggrandisement.
They have systematically liberated themselves from the control of their spouses, exerting themselves as independent partners that could do and undo. They emerged overnight as larger than life consorts, dwarfing the political stature of their men. They do not have anybody’s mandate to act as they wish, but are more powerful than their so-called elected mates. That was an unfortunate development that terribly negates the notion of governance and which also projects our leaders as totally hopeless in curbing their wives’ extravagant immoderation in the affairs of the state.
Although Nigerians love and respect the basic rights of their womenfolk, they do not sanction their indulgence in activities that go beyond what is morally or socially acceptable to the extent of pouring scorn on their status and bringing shame to the community. While most Nigerian women are vociferous and always at liberty to pursue their legitimate interests, they are still firmly placed under the guidance and supervision of their male partners for effective control.
Nowadays such vital control is terribly relaxed and women are on the loose, ensnaring men into their devious designs. A typical example of that lack of control is Dame Patience Jonathan whose overbearing influen