The President of Nigeria Mr. Muhammadu Buhari should have been much more diplomatic upon hearing his wife’s outburst about how he runs the country and the people he chose to help him. Men are wont to show a lot of bravado when talking about their wives. In olden times the worst fear a man had was to be labelled in vulgar language a “woman wrapper.” In order to avoid the label men have been known to show that no woman has wrapped them up. But that was then but not now. PMB’s statement that his wife belongs to his kitchen, or living room or the other room is very, very unfortunate.
For several reasons:
1. As the president of Nigeria all citizens are equal before the law and belong to the highest tier which is “citizen.” It is higher than any cabinet office, or any House of Assembly, or the presidency. Mrs. Aisha Buhari is a citizen. All citizens have the right to express their views on any subject about our country and their views have to be considered on their merits, not denigrated.
2. As president PMB is our role model. We expect that he should show examples in the manner he talks especially on matters that are not music to his ears. He could disagree without being disagreeable. In Mrs. Buhari’s case he was extremely disagreeable and rude. It was once alleged that PMB is shy or uncomfortable among women. Could this be a manifestation of this lack of confidence?
3. Women of Nigeria expect that their views should be worth something to the Nigerian president but the president’s words did not inspire confidence. If he could disregard the opinions his wife and mother of his children this lightly why would any other woman expect something different when dealing with him?
It is because of these reasons that the President’s choice of words in response to his wife’s opinions is regrettable. This is a very simple case where humor could have served PMB well. How about:
a. “I love my wife very dearly” which did not answer any questions but stops well short of rebuking his wife. Or
b. “My wife is a Nigerian citizen and is entitled to her views just like all of us”. Again he would have recognized his wife’s right to speak and would have been much politer. Or
c. “We need a pillow conversation/talk where she would convince me as she always does.”
. Or such simple words
But we know that Mr. Buhari is not capable of laughing or taking anything in a lighter mood. We know that often he acts before he thinks, which is not a good thing.
There is another view point on this exchange between the president and the first lady. Men most often do not listen to their wives’ advise which very often result in tragic consequences for men. A catastrophic example can be found in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar Act II Scene II where Caesar’s wife tried vainly to persuade her husband not to go to the Capitol because his enemies (his cabinet members) were conspiring to kill him. Caesar brushed her off relying on his very many conquests as proof that he was invincible. He went to the Capitol where he was killed. Had Caesar paid heed to his wife’s advice history might have turned out differently.
President Muhammadu Buhari may be making the same mistake that Julius Caesar made.
Women have what I will call the sixth sense about their husbands and family which most men lack. Because they live with their family and are deeply involved in whatever they do women can easily recognize a family member’s weakness and recognize when they are being taken advantage of. Most often they are ignored or dismissed as “woman talk” to the chagrin of family members. The unfortunate thing is even though women foresaw event and warned about them, they are not spared the consequences.
It is important to recognize that PMB was put between the devil and deep blue sea, or as the Igbo would say “my god asked me something and my father-in-law asked me for the same thing. If I do not give it to my god, he will kill me and if I don’t give it to my father-in-law he will take my wife back.” It is ugly. PMB felt that he had a choice to defend his cabinet members or to defend his wife. He did not reason scientifically for there is a third choice: to be ambivalent and use any of the suggestion above.
We hope that he will make amends ostensibly by publicly apologizing to his wife but indeed apologizing to all women and Nigerians. He can blame it on the press. That is what the press are there for.
When a sinner laments his sins and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba