Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and Chinelo Obogo
First Lady, Aisha Buhari has accused Mamman Daura, a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari, of using a presidential media aide, Garba Shehu, to destabilise her matrimonial home.
She claimed the same media aide was used by Daura to release a video that went viral in October when she returned from a two-month foreign trip, where she was seen asking questions and making comments about being locked out of a particular room in the villa and demanding that some people should pack their belongings out.
Mrs. Buhari in a statement personally signed and titled: “Garba Shehu Has Gone Beyond His Boundaries,” and sent through one of her media aides, Suleiman Haruna’s email, the First Lady said:
“Nigeria’s development is hinged on the ability of public officials to execute their mandates professionally, and to be shining examples in their various areas of endeavor. It is not a good sign when officials abandoned their responsibility and start clutching at straws.
As spokesperson of the President, he has the onerous responsibility of managing the image of the President and all the good works that he is executing in the country. Rather than face this responsibility squarely, he has shifted his loyalty from the President to others who have no stake in the compact that the President signed with Nigerians on May 29, 2015 and 2019.
To make matters worse, Mr. Shehu has presented himself to these people 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. This should not be so. The blatant meddling in the affairs of a First Lady of a country is a continuation of the prodigal actions of those that he serves. We all remember that the chief proponent appropriated to himself and his family a part of the Presidential Villa, where he stayed for almost 4 years and when the time came for him to leave, he orchestrated and invaded my family’s privacy through a video circulated by Mamman’s Daughter, Fatima, the public was given the impression that on arrival into the country I was locked out of the villa by Mr. President. Garba Shehu as Villa Spokesperson, knew the truth and had the responsibility to set the records straight, but because his allegiance is somewhere else and his loyalty misplaced, he deliberately refused to clear the air and speak for the President who appointed him in the first place. Consequently, his action has shown a complete breakdown of trust between the First Family and him.
Mr. Shehu was privy and part of the plan and it’s execution and he was shocked when he realized that I had publicized my return to Nigeria on October 12, 2019 and cleared the air on the many rumors that took over social media, a job he was supposed to do but kept mute to cause more confusion and instability for his Principal and his family.
Garba then, vented his anger on the National Television Authority (NTA) Management insisting that the media crew to my office must be sacked. He succeeded in getting them suspended for doing their job. I had to intervene to save the innocent staff from losing their means of livelihood by involving the Department of State Services (DSS) in order to ascertain roles played by key actors in the saga.
It is at this late hour that I recall, sadly, that it was the same Garba Shehu who claimed that the government will not allow office of the First Lady to run. He was later to confirm to one of my aides that he was instructed to say so by Mamman Daura and not the President. This antic attracted the anger of Nigerian women. He didn’t realize the fact that First Lady’s office is a tradition which has become an institution.
Today, even without a budget, I am able run my humanitarian programmes.
In saner climes, Garba Shehu would have resigned immediately after going beyond his boundaries and powers.
But the response to her post have been mainly negative as hundreds of Twitter users accused her of hypocrisy, saying she is in full support of the hate speech bill to gag the media, yet, she posts personal family matters on social media to elicit sympathy.
One of such responses was from Amara Nwakpa with twitter handle, @Nwakpa_A, who said: “Everytime Aisha Buhari fights, she fights for herself and her perceived entitlements. Absolutely tired of hearing from her,” while @dondekojo said: “Opened this, hoping that Aisha Buhari attacked them for poor governance, record high food inflation, security, unemployment. Guess what? She’s fighting for ‘first lady’ title. Absolutely selfish, insensitive and ridiculous. Get your family fight off here.”
Another user, Edward Essien (@edwardessien) said, “When Aisha Buhari has issues with the cabal, she runs to social media and the press to cry wolf. This same woman advocated for a ban on social media, remember?
Madam, please stew in your vomit and leave us out. The damage your husband and his cabal has created for us is still here,” while Ugo Ikeakor (@ugoIkeakor) said, “Aisha Buhari needs to shut up and stop disturbing us with her family problems. You support your husband’s move to ban social media and you’re here crying like an orphan. Enjoy Mammam Daura. We have SARS to contend with.”
Moris Monye (@Moris_Monye) said: “If Aisha Buhari cannot say what the hell is going on in Aso-rock then she should forever hold her peace or go keep herself busy in the kitchen. My honest to God opinion is that she is manipulative. Throwing snippets to us so that we fight her enemies for her,” and Dipo Awojide (@OgbeniDipo) said: “Every other month Aisha Buhari makes it clear that General Buhari is not in charge or there is a cabal controlling him. But the rest of us should not say anything or criticise his failings, because if we do, WhatsApp -controlled clowns will camp in your mention the whole day.”