Aisha Buhari said on Saturday that she criticised her husband and threatened to withdraw her support for his re-election bid because of her “sense of justice.”
She didn’t intend to confront or disrespect the president, she said in her acceptance letter to Vanguard Newspaper which made her its person of the year this week.
Mrs Buhari drew worldwide attention when she criticised Muhammadu Buhari in an October 2016 interview with the BBC, saying she feared his administration was veering from its mandate to the people.
She also expressed doubt that she would support him if he seeks re-election unless he implemented immediate changes in personnel and policies.
“He is yet to tell me —if he’ll seek re-election— 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,” Mrs. Buhari warned. “I will never do it again.”
Mr Buhari responded at the time by telling her to save her opinion of his government and confine herself to the kitchen, sparking biting ridicule from the public.
Nearly two years on, Mr Buhari has commenced his re-election campaign, but yet to effect the cabinet shake-up demanded by his wife.
Mrs Buhari had said the shake-up was necessary to encourage those who worked fervently to actualise her husband’s victory in 2015.
In her acceptance statement to Vanguard, Mrs Buhari did not say whether her expectations have been met, but indicated she would support his re-election bid. But as recently as January, she recirculated videos of senators who delivered scathing review of her husband’s performance in office.
“One of the reasons adduced for honouring me was the interview I granted which some people saw as criticism to a government that I am part of,” she was quoted as saying in the statement circulated by her media aide Suleiman Haruna. “I need to state that my position was a result of my sense of justice and not confrontation or disrespect. I was brought up to stand by the truth and this is how I have always been,”
“As we are all aware, Nigerians elected this administration based on the trust and confidence they have on my husband.
“I therefore feel that we are here to serve Nigeria to the best of our ability. Let me use this opportunity to state that I support my husband in this call to service and will continue to do so,” she added.