There are indications that the cold war between the first couple in Nigeria is far from over as President Muhammadu Buhari has initiated moves to curtail some of the influences of the first lady in an attempt to bring her back under control.
Sources told Aljazirahnews that the President is yet to be appeased by the incalculable political capital he has lost due to the recent confrontation between him and his wife of many years.
Aisha Buhari in a recent interview granted BBC has criticised her husband’s judgement in political appointments adding that she would not support his reelection bid in 2019.
Buhari has not indicated his willingness to run for second term in office yet.
Buhari, who was on a trip to Germany as at the time the first lady made the comments replied tersely via the media that his wife’s place was ‘in the kitchen, living room and the other room’ and not in political matters, a comment that generated mixed reaction across the globe.
After Buhari’s return, the first lady had a few days afterwards jetted out of the country for a women empowerment program in Brussels, a trip many opined indicated the first lady wanted to stamp her independence and also that the rift between the duo had deepened.
Aljazirahnews learnt from Presidential sources that she had been banned from some selected national assignments by the president in recent weeks.
The medium could not obtain official comments from Presidential spokespersons as at press time.
A source privy to the development confided in the reporter that Aisha has been battling with domestic challenges and restriction from many official engagements by the president, which she considered as an affront to the office of the First Lady.
Buhari was said to have insisted she restricted her input in political matters, a development she was not comfortable with.
Investigations further revealed that the First Lady was ‘given stern warning a few months after the inauguration of Federal Executive Council (FEC) late last year by President Buhari,’ to stay out of politics.
“She was told not to see her office as a means of amassing wealth,” the source said.
This directive, according to a State House source, did not go down well with the First Lady, who was said to be planning to utilize the exalted position to boost her Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and private businesses, especially two companies she owns in Dubai and Nigeria respectively.
It was also learnt that, apart from giving her stern warning to restrict her engagements, she was also banned by the president from receiving ‘too much crowd’ at Aso Villa, particularly the governors and ministers, majority of whom, President Buhari believed would have corrupt influence over her.
The source also said that only two governors from the core North were allowed to have assess to the First Lady and pay her visits regularly, even without official notice, unless she was out of Abuja or Nigeria.
Investigations further showed that with her recent outburst, when President Buhari was out of the country for official assignment in Germany, the President was advised by some top advisers to evict her from the Villa to ‘serve as lesson and deterrent.”
Aljazirahnews gathered that the President while mulling further actions to take to clip his wife’s growing influence has however been advised by other aides to tread softly so as not to be seen as antagonistic to women as a whole.
The president has however directed the officials of the Department of State Services (DSS), as well the conventional and mobile policemen and other sister agencies within the Villa not to allow any frivolous solidarity visit to the First Lady.
“You know these corrupt elements “the politicians”, especially the governors and ministers might use Her Excellency, the First Lady to get what they want, and being a woman, she might not know the motive behind such visit(s), until it leads either the president or herself into trouble. So, that is why the president is taking the action and currently has instructed his aides not to allow her to relate too much with politicians because she is not a politician,” the source said.
It was gathered also that family members and top political aides to the duo are however making frantic moves to ensure that peace returns to the first family so that domestic matters would not continue to bring the family and ruling party’s (All Progressive Congress, APC) image into ridicule.
By Abubakar Sodiq, Abuja