Nigeria`s President Buhari: My Wife Belongs in Kitchen and Room

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On his visit to Germany, Nigeria`s President Muhammadu Buhari triggered a hot debate with his controversial remark that his wife belongs in his kitchen and room. While responding to a rare criticism from his wife Aisha Buhari, who said she might not support her husband at the next election unless he took control of his government, President Buhari said:

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

Embarrassingly, President Buhari made the controversial sexist statement while standing next to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world. As if she didn`t hear well, Chancellor Merkel coldly glared at him.

Mrs Buhari, who campaigned vigorously for the husband before his election, aired her frustrations during an interview with the BBC’s Hausa language service. She lamented that the government headed by her husband has been effectively hijacked by a few individuals in the party, who were behind presidential appointments. Mrs. Buhari, who has been married to the President for 27 years with 5 children, equally lamented that the President does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed.

One may recall that President Buhari, a no-nonsense, strict former military head of state, who won the presidential election on the anti- corruption platform, promised to stamp out corruption and turn the economy around, once elected. He is believed to be the least corrupt amongst Nigerian ex-leaders. Sadly, since he came to power, many, including some of his supporters, have voiced their disappointment at his insignificant achievement. Although his government insists Buhari`s minimal achievement is due to the low price of oil, which accounts for 70 % of Nigeria`s foreign earnings. Others have insisted that Buhari has simply no grip on the government. With such controversial, yet bold remarks from Aisha Buhari, a businesswoman, and activist, who has been working on the empowerment of women as well as helping victims of the Boko Haram conflict in the north-east of the Nigeria, one starts to wonder if there is indeed some truth   in her line of thought. Definitely, her decision to express her frustrations publicly did not only shock people, but it equally shows the level of discontent amongst many Nigerians with the president’s leadership.

With the president’s “kitchen and room“ remarks, many are shocked about President Buhari`s attitude towards women ““ including his wife and for that matter, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was standing next to him.

For a man who has a tough and no-nonsense reputation, the remark of Aisha Buhari is definitely a blow to President Buhari, Worse still, with the economy of the country in recession, coupled with his recent sexist remarks, President Buhari has now, even more, to worry about ““ especially having in mind that one of his problems is now even in his kitchen and room.