Nigeria’s leader dismisses his first lady's criticism; declares she belongs "in the kitchen"
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday dismissed criticism voiced by his wife Aisha Buhari in a BBC interview, saying she belonged in the kitchen and he had “superior knowledge” about running a government.
“I don’t know exactly what party my wife belongs to. Actually she belongs in the kitchen, the living room and the other rooms in my house,” Buhari told reporters with a chuckle after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Buhari’s wife told the BBC in an interview published on Friday that she might not back her husband in the next election unless he shakes up his government.
In an interview with the BBC Hausa-language service broadcast on Friday, Aisha Buhari said her husband did not know many top government appointees, and she accused them of not sharing the vision of his All Progressives Congress party. She did not name names.
Her husband, a 73-year-old former military ruler, was elected last year after a campaign largely fought on his pledge to crush the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and crack down on corruption. He also served on the country’s supreme court.
Nigeria, which has Africa’s largest economy, is in recession for the first time in 25 years, largely due to a fall global oil prices that has slashed the state’s main source of income.Nigeria’s first lady has openly questioned whether her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari, is in control of his government and said she may not campaign for him if he seeks a second term.
Buhari, who was briefly a military dictator in the 1980s, was elected in his fourth run at the presidency in 2015 on the back of a coalition that includes former foes and opportunists who abandoned the former governing party of defeated President Goodluck Jonathan.
Buhari has not said whether he will run again in 2019.
“He is yet to tell me, but I have decided as his wife that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again,” Aisha Buhari said.
Muhammadu Buhari campaigned promising to crack down on corruption and turn the tide against the Boko Haram insurgency. His government yesterday announced the first negotiated release of 21 of 218 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.
However, Nigeria’s northeast faces a famine that threatens to kill tens of thousands of children after Boko Haram disrupted the region’s transportation and farming. Some areas remain dangerous and inaccessible. Nigeria has also fallen into recession amid slumped oil prices and lost its position as Africa’s biggest petroleum producer as militants attacked pipelines in the south.