The Centre for African Resources, Research and Development has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement about his wife, Aisha.
In a statement in Lagos on Saturday, the group said Aisha Buhari spoke the heart of many Nigerians.
“CARRD advises President Buhari to draw his wife out of the ‘kitchen and other rooms’ and address the issues raised by her in the interview, which represent the concerns of millions of Nigerians who don’t have as much access to him as her,” said Ismail Ibraheem, Chair, CARRD.
“When the chips are down, he belongs to her, and she belongs to him first and foremost, before us all.”
Mr. Buhari’s comment before an international audience that his wife belongs to the kitchen and the “other room” had elicited condemnations from the public who say the president’s statement rubbished achievements made in gender equality.
The president was responding to Mrs. Buhari’s interview with the BBC Hausa Service where she expressed displeasure over how her husband’s inner cabinet had hijacked governance and created disaffection among his core supporters across the country.
She also threatened not to campaign for him like she did in 2015, should he decide to seek re-election in 2019.
“CARRD shares the sentiments expressed by Mrs Buhari,” said Mr. Ibraheem, a senior lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos.
“While we agree that the President has the inalienable right to respond to whatever comments his wife makes, within and without the ‘kitchen and ‘other rooms,’ we disagree with him over his choice of words, and the global and political environment where he said them.
“President Buhari made those comments – which millions within and without Nigeria have interpreted to be misogynist, sexist and ‘Trump-like’ – beside arguably the most powerful woman in the world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to diplomatically-veiled consternation from her.
“CARRD is tempted to ask what the President and his team are doing seeking economic, security and political assistance from a country whose leader is also supposed to “belong to the kitchen et al.”
CARRD noted that the president’s “kitchen-loving wife” was of inestimable political help to him and his party during the 2015 elections, mobilizing millions of women’s votes for them, and defending her husband from misogynist and sexist accusations from the then ruling party.
“However, when she made the comments to the BBC about issues millions of Nigerians are honestly, but secretly and quietly worried about, she was immediately demoted and banished permanently to the ‘kitchen and other rooms.’
“While Mr. President is doing a yeoman’s job fighting corruption, we at CARRD wish to remind him that key members of his inner circle have been publicly accused of corruption, with facts, figures and dates to boot, to absolute silence, and sometimes outright denial by him.
“Indeed, as against his inaugural address vow, President Buhari now seems to belong to some particular persons, some of whom seem to be his worst enemies, judging by the catastrophic policy, media and attitudinal errors he seems to be committing in alarmingly high frequency lately.”