…Says she’s an unusual kind of First Lady
…Her achievements have shown the need for the office of first lady – Tinubu
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
VICE President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday showered encomiums on the First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari, saying she has with her views, forthrightness, truthfulness and once in a while controversial stance, endeared herself to Nigerians.
National leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, also said the First Lady had proven the need for the office of first lady in Nigeria.
He said contrary to the criticism of those who opposed the office, Aisha had been a voice of conscience in carrying out her role as first lady.
Vice President Osinbajo stated this at the presentation of the book, “Aisha Buhari: Being Different”, written by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administration and Women Affairs, Office of the First Lady, Dr Hajo Sani, at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the First Lady was always concerned about the issues that concerned ordinary Nigerians, especially those bordering on good governance, security, food for the people, education of children, prompt payment of pensions to army veterans, drug abuse, among others.
Osinbajo described the First Lady as an unusual occupier of the First Lady’s office, whose spontaneity had redefined the role of the office.
He said Aisha Buhari had taken steps outside the box of what used to be the personage and traditional roles in Nigeria’s presidential history, adding that her unusual approaches had endeared her to the Nigerian public.
Osinbajo said: “Dr. Hajo Sani has written a most engaging book on an incredibly fascinating person, Her Excellency Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady. It’s unlikely that any First Lady in Nigeria’s history has, in such a few years, captured the imagination of Nigerians as profoundly as Aisha Buhari.
“She’s, of course, the first First Lady to be on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, getting her unfiltered views across to the Nigerian people and she’s probably the first to receive, in real time, the opinions of Nigerians on her views.
“With her views, forthright, crisp, truthful and once in a while controversial stance, she has established an ongoing conversation with the Nigerian people. The issues that concern them most, the issues that concern us the most; good governance, security, putting food on the table, the education of our children, prompt payment of pensions to army veterans, drug abuse, the violation and victimisation of women and every once in a while she airs her own personal struggles, her annoyance, in a manner, probably unprecedented in the role of the First Lady anywhere.
“There is no question that Aisha Buhari is different. Her difference has been to empower Nigerian people and there is never any question that her comments come from a good place, a place of genuine love and respect for the Nigerian people and our several concerns.”
Making reference to what President Muhammadu Buhari said on the character of the First Lady, Osinbajo said, “Aisha, as the world has come to know her, is kind-hearted. This made her transition to philanthropy and humanitarianism easy.”
The Vice President described the book, authored by Dr. Sani as a work that had summarised the past five years of the life of the First Lady in her husband’s administration, even as it successfully preserved highlights of the activities of the administration for history.
He said the book explored the various aspects of the First Lady’s life; growing years, home front, life in public office, various sweet and sour encounters, as well as her philosophies and humanitarian ventures.
Also speaking, APC national leader and former Lagos State governor, who was chairman of the occasion, Bola Tinubu, said Mrs Buhari had proven the need for the office of first lady in Nigeria.
Tinubu said Aisha’s achievements had laid to rest the concerns of those who once argued that such office was illegal and not needed, and described her as a voice of conscience.
Extolling the virtues of sincerity and courage among the invaluable contributions of Aisha Buhari, Tinubu said: “Given the first lady’s achievement, no one can reasonably question the role of a first lady any longer.
“Remember that there were those who argued that the constitution does not assign any official role to the first lady. With Dr. Aisha Buhari, their concerns have been forever laid to rest.
“(The) first lady has played an uplifting, unifying role, both in symbol and substance. She has been a voice of conscience calling us to be at our better self for the good of the nation and for the vulnerable among us.
The role of First Lady provides critical support to the public functioning of the presidency. The author thus must be commended not just for documenting the background, education, career, family and public life of Mrs. Buhari in an enjoyable, easily readable manner but also in narrating the political and constitutional context within which Mrs. Buhari has moulded the position of the First Lady in Nigeria.
The book presentation was attended by dignitaries from different walks of life and political divide, including former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and wife of former Vice President, Amina Sambo, as well as former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs under the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, Godsday Orubebe.
Others include Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, who was represented by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege; Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi; wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III, as well as state governors and ministers.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN, Dr Amina Muhammed, sent their recorded messages.