Pres­i­dent warned by his wife

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Nige­rian Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari’s wife has warned him that she may not back him at the next elec­tion un­less he shakes up his gov­ern­ment.

In a BBC in­ter­view, Aisha Buhari said the pres­i­dent “does not know” most of the top of­fi­cials he has ap­pointed.

She sug­gested the gov­ern­ment had been hi­jacked, say­ing a “few peo­ple” were be­hind pres­i­den­tial ap­point­ments.

Mr Buhari was elected last year with a prom­ise to tackle cor­rup­tion and nepo­tism in gov­ern­ment.

His wife’s de­ci­sion to go pub­lic with her con­cerns will shock many peo­ple, but it shows the level of dis­con­tent with the pres­i­dent’s lead­er­ship.

The Nige­rian econ­omy, bat­tered by low global oil prices and a cur­rency de­val­u­a­tion, of­fi­cially en­tered re­ces­sion in Au­gust for the first time in a decade. Oil sales ac­count for 70% of gov­ern­ment in­come. The pres­i­dent fa­mously re­marked at his in­au­gu­ra­tion that he “be­longs to no­body and be­longs to ev­ery­body”.

In the in­ter­view with Naziru Mikailu from BBC Hausa, Mrs Buhari said: “The pres­i­dent does not know 45 out of 50 of the peo­ple he ap­pointed and I don’t know them ei­ther, de­spite be­ing his wife of 27 years.”

She said peo­ple who did not share the vi­sion of the rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress were now ap­pointed to top posts be­cause of the in­flu­ence a “few peo­ple” wield.

“Some peo­ple are sit­ting down in their homes fold­ing their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a min­is­te­rial po­si­tion.”

Asked to name those who had hi­jacked the gov­ern­ment, she re­fused, say­ing: “You will know them if you watch tele­vi­sion.”

On whether the pres­i­dent was in charge, she said: “That is left for the peo­ple to de­cide.”

Mrs Buhari, who at 45, is 23 years her hus­band’s ju­nior, said he had not told her whether he would con­test the 2019 elec­tion. Her grand­fa­ther was Nigeria’s first de­fence min­is­ter. “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.”

Asked what she re­garded as the gov­ern­ment’s ma­jor achieve­ment, she said it was to im­prove se­cu­rity in the north-east where mil­i­tant Is­lamist group Boko Haram has waged an in­sur­gency since 2009.

“No-one is com­plain­ing about be­ing at­tacked in their own homes. Thank­fully ev­ery­one can walk around freely, go to places of wor­ship, etc. Even kids in Maiduguri have re­turned to schools,” Mrs Buhari said, re­fer­ring to the city which was once the head­quar­ters of the mil­i­tant group.

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