LAGOS – Mrs. Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady, was in the news last week over a leaked video that went viral on social media, where she was seen ventilating her anger over an issue between her and the daughter of Mamman Daura, a nephew and close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Throughout President Buhari’s first term, the First Lady remained a critic of her husband, especially as it concerned the handling of affairs at Aso Rock Villa, Nigeria’s seat of power.
In October 2016, Aisha in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa’s journalist, Naziru Mikailu, broke the internet while affirming the long-standing allegation of “incompetence and nepotism” leveled against her husband.
The president has been accused of not being in charge of his own government and the government was allegedly being run by the likes of Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff, Daura and a host of few others who are alleged to be the de facto rulers in the Villa.
During the said BBC interview, the First Lady was quoted to have said, “The president does not know 45 out of the 50 of the people he appointed, and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife for 27 years. 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.”
In his response to his wife’s allegation, President Buhari who was then on a visit to Germany, “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and other room.”
The issue got to the peak at a point when the First Lady threatened not to support the re-election of her husband due to what she termed as a ‘sense of justice.’ She alleged that her criticism was because she was seeing the mandate given to her husband being abused by those beside him.
However, in the recent incident, in which one of Daura’s daughter, Fatima, released a video of Mrs. Buhari, which she captured in 2017, accused the wife of the president of attacking her inside the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Those who circulated the video claimed that Mrs. Buhari was being locked in a room at the Aso Villa and prevented from seeing her husband, who was recently rumoured to have concluded plans to walk down the aisle with another woman as a second wife.
But, Mrs. Buhari, who confirmed the authenticity of the video, said she was blocked from accessing an apartment in the Villa, despite being the only known wife of the president.
While speaking with BBC, she maintained that the video was not a recent incident as claimed by those who circulated it.
After being away for some months, she returned to the country last Sunday, two days after the date of the rumoured wedding between her husband and Sadiya Umaru Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
“I was the one in that video and this person you see standing at my back are my security personnel. It was Fatima, the daughter of Mamman Daura, that shot the video in front of my security and everybody there. She was actually recording the whole thing right in front of me and was laughing and mocking me.
“They did that because my husband sacked them from the house. He told them to get all their belongings and leave the house for my son (Yusuf) to occupy.
“I left them and wanted to get to one of the rooms, but they prevented me from getting through, I left them and took another way; yet, I met the store locked,” she said.
But, Fatima on her part, said she least expected the First Lady to act in a violent manner. Also in an interview with the BBC, Daura’s daughter claimed that she recorded the video as a proof that Buhari’s wife confronted her violently.
She said in the interview, “My name is Fatima. I am a daughter to Malam Mamman Daura. If one reasons well, he or she will understand that it is not possible to say that the wife of the president is denied access to her apartment; but let me give a context.
“The apartment in question is called the Glass House. You know that there are several houses and apartments in the Villa. When the President got into office, he gave the Glass House to our father, Mamman Daura.
“You all know that they are friends and are related, more so, they grew up together like twins. When he became President, he gave the Glass House to our dad and said he should stay there. Our dad stayed there for three years now until when the president’s son, Yusuf, had an accident and went to Germany for treatment.
“When he returned, the President told our dad to move out of that apartment to an even bigger one in the Villa, that Yusuf is going to stay and be treated in the Glass House. The Glass House is closer to the main Presidential apartment and that will make easier access to him by his mother. It is not in her apartment, which is in the main apartment.”
Fatima narrated what led to the incident that was captured in the video, saying she recorded it to use as evidence against the First Lady.
“On that day, my parents were not around. So, my dad instructed me and my elder sister (both of us are working and we go to work every morning) that we should come on a Saturday and move our belongings to the new apartment the President instructed.
“We planned to pack out then and have even concluded moving all the things. All of a sudden, in the afternoon as we were busy on that errand of packing our belongings when we heard noise from outside. I was in an inner room in the house while my sister was in an outer one close to the main gate of the apartment. So, my sister went out before I could come out.
“On getting there, it was the wife of the President. When she came, the door was locked and she picked a metal chair and broke the door. I have sent the picture to you. My sister that went out was almost hit by the chair. She threw the chair which broke through the door and almost hit my sister.
“I was so shocked and afraid of getting there because she was shouting and raining abusive words and saying we should move out of that apartment. That she has never seen this kind of thing before. I then went back and picked my phone because if one is to say that she acted that way, no one would believe it without a proof. She has already been saying a lot of things depicting that she is being suppressed.
“So, I recorded it to show our parents and the security, so that they will know the truth should anything happen. Because the way she was raging and shouting, I was thinking that she would pick something and hit us with it, or something like that. That was why we recorded it. Had it been we wanted to release the video, we would have done it earlier. But, you know, if a video clip enters one or two hands, you can’t control where it will get to.
“There are even other clips that have not been released, I will send them to you to see how she was insulting the security and how she drove them away saying who are they protecting and calling them bloody idiots. It’s all on the video clip. That was what happened.”
But, in a swift reaction, a Presidency source on Monday faulted the release of the video by Fatima, saying that it was shot over a year ago, when the President’s son, Yusuf, had power bike accident in Abuja.
The source, whose name was not revealed, explained that the accommodation was needed for the then recuperating Yusuf, adding that the order for the Dauras to vacate the Villa accommodation, was approved by the President.
According to the source, “By now, the airwaves are awash with Fatima Mamman Daura’s daughter consenting to the fact that she indeed shot and leaked the now infamous video clip, which showed the wife of the President in a very angry mood.
“The incident happened over a year ago when the wife of the President on the instructions of the President asked the Dauras to vacate their living quarters inside the Villa for a sick Yussuf Buhari, who was recuperating after an accident.
“For this reason, the quarters were needed and the Dauras were asked to move to another part of the Villa. Long before the accident, Yusuf’s mother had requested in writing for the Dauras to vacate the place because the building is officially designated for the biological children of any serving President.
“The IG of Police, DG DSS, NSA and the Vice President who was the Acting President, were all notified of this request. Despite this, the Dauras deliberately refused to comply with the instructions of the security agencies. Mamman Dauras daughter, Fatima, did not say this in her interview.
“What really was the intent for the video being released now if not for mischief? Fatima didn’t showcase her part in the drama where the door was locked against the First Lady to deny her access to some areas of the Villa, neither did she acknowledge the abuse she first vented before the First Lady reacted under the instruction of DG Lawal Daura, who was brought into government by Mamman Daura,” the source stated.
Though the First Lady has apologised over the viral video, but the incident has continued to generate reactions from Nigerians, with many condemning the President for bringing the Dauras to live in the Villa and others slamming Fatima for releasing a video of an incident that occurred about two years ago.
Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation condemned those who leaked the video to the public.
In a series of tweets, Fani-Kayode wrote: “I never make comments about the wives and children of my political adversaries because I do not think that it is right or proper. However, I must say the following: those who recorded and leaked the video of @aishambuhari losing her cool in the Villa are shameless and despicable.
“What happens in the home of @MBuhari is a private matter and it is not anyone else’s business. There ought to be a certain level of decency and decorum even in politics. What happens between Buhari, his wife and children is entirely their problem. We should leave his family alone.”
While advising President Buhari to wade into the conflict, Fani-Kayode equally told Buhari to protect his wife from her attackers, noting that he (Fani-Kayode) would not allow anybody to insult nor attack his wife.
His words: “No matter what she does or what she subjects me to I will never allow anyone to disrespect my wife in the way that Fatima disrespected Aisha Muhammadu Buhari. It is a matter of honor. As long as she is under my roof, she has my protection even when she errs. Buhari please protect your wife.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the feud as a “dirty public fight”, which had turned Nigeria’s seat of power into a house of comedy.
In a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP stated that incident has “exposed the leadership failure of the president” and Buhari’s “failure to manage his family until they fought over rooms in the presidential villa, is disgraceful.
“The chaos in the Villa further exposes the Buhari Presidency’s poor management of issues and highlights why it has failed monumentally in delivering on any of its responsibilities in governance, thus leaving our dear nation in a shambolic situation in the last five years.
“The feud further uncovers the impunity, disorderliness and vanity that pervade the Buhari Presidency and how the once serious and productive seat of power has been turned into a house of comedy and an overcrowded quarter for illegal occupants.”
Ologbondiyan also claimed that nothing progressive should be expected from the current administration, asking President Buhari to apologise to Nigerians.
“Our party notes that our dear nation has suffered enough disgrace from the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC). The PDP therefore charges President Buhari to immediately apologise to Nigerians for his failures and be ready to vacate office for more competent hands, since it has become obvious that he is leading our country to nowhere.”
The PDP also called on the National Assembly to investigate the alleged allocation of rooms to unofficial persons, in the Presidential Villa, adding that the National Assembly should not hesitate to implement appropriate sanctions when needed.
“Furthermore, the PDP urges the National Assembly to investigate the alleged abuse of office by President Buhari following revelation that he assigns official facilities in the Presidential Villa to unauthorised persons that have no official roles in governance, and apply appropriate sanctions.
“The PDP also urges the National Assembly to sanitise the Presidential villa by probing allegations of illegal allotment of offices and apartments to unauthorised persons, including scammers and corruption fronts in Aso Rock,” the statement added.
In his reaction, Reno Omokri, an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, described the crisis as an evidence of the president’s inability to solve the problems of the nation.
Omokri on his Twitter handle @renoomokri said, “If a man can’t achieve peace in his own home, how can he achieve peace for a nation, talk less of providing leadership? No wonder Nigeria is the way it is. Our society is a reflection of the General @MBuhari’s turbulent home.”
Omokri, a staunch critic of President Buhari’s administration berated the President for bringing his extended family to the Aso-Rock. He described the interview granted to the BBC as a disgrace to Nigeria.
“Just imagine that it was @GEJonathan that packed his extended family and stashed them in Aso Rock and they started fighting and releasing videos and interviews disgracing Nigeria to the @BBC, would you have been quiet?,” the tweets added.
Also, some Nigerians took to twitter to share their views on the matter.
According to Emmanuel Ukeme, “So, these illegal occupants of Aso Rock are being fed, accommodated at the expense of the Nigerian state, using taxpayers’ money? So, does anyone still have a doubt about the Aso Rock cabals now? @aishambuhari, a mother of the nation, Nigerians are solidly behind you.”
@movtOfDPeople said, “In what capacity are you residing in the Presidential Villa, Miss Fatima Mamman Daura? You’re neither elected nor have any official appointment, yet you are waging war against the only known wife of the President. Your guts in going to town with this expose hidden truth.”
However, @orenjur, stated, “Why blame Mamman Daura for bringing his family to the Villa? Was it not Buhari that gave him the Glass House in the Villa? We should be blaming Buhari for not putting his house in order.”
@Gimbason_E also said, “The Buhari presidency is already in a shambles. How come Mamman Daura has so much power to the extent that his daughter can say that about the President’s wife?”
Nigerians are still waiting to hear from the President who has kept mum over the matter since it happened over a week ago.