Opinion

Questions for Aisha Buhari 

 By Promise Adiele

Titubi’s character in Femi Osofisan’s Morountodun attracts different interpretations from many people across the world. The ebullient daughter of the wealthy Alhaja Kabirat, leader of the market women, commits class suicide by repudiating the ideals of her class and identifying with the poor struggling, impoverished farmers. Cast in the mode of the mythical Moremi of Ile-Ife, the splendour and opulence of Titubi’s bourgeois background do not impair her appreciation of the enervating realities suffered by the helpless, exploited farmers. In all her Spartan disposition, Titubi failed to save the people from the agony of losing Marshal her husband at the end of the play. The unanswered question for Titubi is – why was she unable to stop Marshal from embarking on that fateful journey at the end of the play thereby plunging the people into despair and grief? In many ways, one can easily establish a parallel, even if minimal, between Titubi and Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari. Like Titubi, Aisha Buhari is beautiful, resplendent, endearing, and enchanting. Her elegance belongs to the realm of Aglaea, the Greek goddess of glory and beauty, yet she is one of us by birth but perhaps not by inclination and predilection. 

Aisha Buhari follows the tradition of Nigeria’s beautiful past First Ladies but she is different in many ways. She is fearless, blunt, assertive, uncompromising, and speaks truth to power no matter whose Ox is gored. She manifests the characteristics of an activist, one committed to fighting for the rights and privileges of the common people. Many Nigerians love her for different reasons – some for her outspokenness and many others for her humility. Indeed, the mother of five children has not relented in empathizing with the downtrodden and their multifaceted challenges under the constricting administration of her husband. Hitherto unknown before her husband’s ascension to power, she does not come across as a grovelling, subservient, tame housewife consigned to za oza room in remorseless servitude. Still, there are Nigerians who believe she is a crafty, scheming power hungry lady who only speaks out when her interests are threatened. Not many Nigerians smiled when she posted a picture of her graduating daughter-in-law in the UK when Nigerian universities were closed for eight months. Her reaction after the public outcry to the insensitive display of education triumph in a foreign land revealed her responsive other. Truly, there are many sides to Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady. 

Recently, Aisha Buhari admitted that her husband President Muhammadu Buhari suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an accumulation of all the tensions of the civil war, the coup he experienced in 1984 and the subsequent 40 months of detention following the coup. The First Lady confessed that her husband’s mental and psychological issues posed some problems for her as a 19-year-old wife soon after their marriage in 1989. In her no-holds-barred manner, she revealed that her husband’s condition degenerated following his electoral defeat in 2003, 2007, and 2011. Unfortunately, after all these extreme psychological and mental experiences, her husband was never rehabilitated nor did he go through any formal physiotherapy to put him in a proper condition. I am not a Medical Doctor but can, in my little way, decipher that someone suffering from PTSD cannot be fit to occupy a sensitive position as the President of any country in the world. PTSD is a psychological and mental condition characterized by nightmares, tragic flashbacks, pain, sweating, trembling sensations, distress, trauma, and loss of memory. PTSD challenges the psychological and mental balance of the patients and renders them ineffectual to carry out their daily activities. 

Mrs Aisha Buhari

Certainly, the scenario described above is a serious one. It can happen to anyone who has gone through all the turmoil and experiences as explained. Is it possible that a PTSD patient is fit to occupy public office and preside over the affairs of millions of people? The all-important question for our dear exquisite, delectable First Lady is why she didn’t reveal to Nigerians that her husband was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and therefore was unfit to run for the position of president. If Aisha Buhari did not reveal the mental and psychological state of her husband then, why did she reveal it now that her husband’s administration is coming to a disreputable end? By failing to reveal to Nigerians the exact mental and psychological state of her husband, Aisha Buhari is guilty of foisting on Nigerians a man who was, ab initio not fit for office. No doubt President Buhari’s mental and psychological conditions have affected his performance and functions as the president which is evident to all. Anyone can be ill, and there is nothing wrong with that but the question once more is, why did Aisha Buhari conceal the conditions of the man Nigerians voted for as their president in 2015

Although Aisha Buhari’s answers to these questions may be irrelevant, they will certainly guide conscientious observers to understand the psychology of power desperados privileged to know the inner secrets of public office seekers. Could it be that Aisha Buhari desperately wanted to answer the First Lady and therefore did not mind that her unfit husband ascended to power to the detriment of several millions of people? Aisha must answer these questions and in good time too. While the campaigns for the 2015 elections were going on, many Nigerians noticed that the handsome, tough-talking Muhammadu Buhari was not in control of himself. But those desperate to see him in Aso Rock for their selfish purposes egged him on, shutting dissenting voices up. We could see the glaring pointers as the former military head of state floundered from one gaffe to another. Nigerians were encouraged to overlook the obvious psychological and mental conditions of the aspiring Muhammadu Buhari. Aisha Buhari knew the truth but concealed it for reasons best known to her. Madam First Lady, why didn’t you call a press conference and inform Nigerians that your husband suffered from PTSD and therefore was not fit to occupy the office of the President? Since the assumption of office, President Buhari has spent 201 days on medical leave abroad with taxpayers’ money to good effect. 

Towards the 2023 general elections, some presidential aspirants are obviously sick and unfit to occupy public office. It is glaring to all Nigerians, no soothsayer is required. No seer or magician is needed. The signs are there for everybody to see. Yet, for impenetrable reasons, for reasons that border on greed and psychotic desperation for personal glory, many people are covering our sickly aspirants in healthy apparel. It is not enough that Nigeria has witnessed a calamitous administration in the last seven and half years – yet some people are willing to see the country go through the same experience in the next eight years. It is unthinkable. Are there wives with a good knowledge of their spouses’ flawed health status but are desperate to answer First Lady no matter what Nigerians go through under a sickly president? Are there associates who know more than the rest of us but would rather keep mute because they are sure of filthy patronage upon the assumption of office by our sickly aspirants? Is Nigerian doomed to have health-challenged presidents because there are no healthy people on our soil? These are questions we must collectively address and answer in the tranquillity of our rooms before polluting public space from the putrid congestion of our compromised sensibilities. As a matter of urgency, all the presidential aspirants, without exception, should travel to the best hospitals in the UK or USA, undergo a comprehensive medical examination and present the certificates to Nigerians which will also be confirmed. That is the way to go. That is what a serious-minded country should do. 

Promise Adiele PhD, Mountain Top University, Promee01@yahoo.com Twitter: Drpee4 

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