Opinion: Will Buhari succumb to First Ladyism? By Pius Abioje

Date: 2015-05-11

SIR: People's fears have started to materialize that those who rallied support for GMB's election only found it convenient to use him to attain power, and that they would not allow him to effect any positive change in Nigeria, even though the campaign slogan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) hinged on "Change".

The power brokers, who supported his election, do practise First Ladyism themselves, and it will be ridiculous to them if GMB discards it.

GMB and his wife, Aisha, had said before the election that the "Office of the First Lady" would stand only if allowed in the Constitution. Of course, it is not constitutional.

It started with Maryam Babangida, the late wife of Nigeria's former military Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB).

Maryam had wondered aloud why her husband should be publicly relevant while she was relegated to the home front. That was the genesis of the "Office of the First Lady" in Nigeria.

Maryam then covered-up with what she termed a non-governmental organization christened, "Better Life for Rural Women". Over time, people saw it contrarily as "Better Life for Privileged Women.

Nevertheless, in the course of time, First Ladyism was exported to the rest of Africa, God knows with how much money thrown around for the propagation.

Even then, not every African country has created "Office of the First Lady" as in Nigeria. I spent 12 calendar months in Ghana and President John Dramani Mahama's wife was not competing with her husband on public relevance.

I don't know which country developed through the "Office of the First Lady". My research revealed that a nation's President's wife (or a Governor's wife) is too close to power to run a non-governmental organization.

GMB and his wife, Aisha, had said before the election that the “Office of the First Lady" would stand only if allowed in the Constitution. Of course, it is not constitutional. It started with Maryam Babangida, the late wife of Nigeria's former military Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB). Maryam had wondered aloud why her husband should be publicly relevant while she was relegated to the home front.

Those who will support the organization, financially, will be beneficiaries or those seeking the favour of her husband. In Kwara State, the people are being deceived that the Governor's wife, is running her Office and non-governmental organisation without any official budget, but funded by "her friends".

Where were those "friends" before Mrs. Ahmed became Governor's wife? Is it government's policies/programmes and women ministry or the ruler’s wife that will empower women? “Office of the First Lady" is another distraction.

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