By Okechukwu Ifeanyi
There was palpable fear in All Progressive Congress, APC, circles that President Muhammadu Buhari might kick start his electioneering Campaigns for his re-election bid in 2019 without the support of Aisha, the first lady.
This fear became more pronounced because of her anger that few people , who never supported his 2015 Presidential nomination have hijacked his government. She had told the BBC in an interview in 2017,that the cabal were too powerful that they could dictate who get appointment into the Buhari led government.
The first lady may have had in mind , Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President,Lawal Musa Daura, a former Director General, Department of State Security,DSS, Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police, Lawal Babachir, a former secretary to the Federal Government and Hameed Ali, a retired Colonal and Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS.
She had revealed that the President ”did not know most of the people he had appointed into his government ”. The first lady had said that ”some of the government appointees were in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position”.
Worried that Buhari had allowed the cabal in the Presidency to hijack his government ,she had vowed never to support his re-election bid in the 2019 general elections.
The Value News Magazie learnt that Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the wife of Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and now National leader of the APC had confronted Aiaha, her close friend to lodge complaints that her husband who spent both cash and time to ensure the defeat of the PDP led government by APC, which was the then opposition party had been side lined in the running of the government.
Tinubu, was said to have nominated Wale Edu, a former Lagos state Commissioner of Finance to serve in the Buhari government as the minister of Finance but was turned down. The president was said to have settled for kemi Adeosun,a former Commissioner of Finance, Ogun state state, recommended by Ibikunle Amosun, the state governor and a member of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, a party floated by Buhari to contest the 2011, Presidential election. The rejection of Edun was a big blow to Tinubu as he never recommended any other person to be given ministerial appointment in the Buhari led APC government, leaving the cabal to take full control of the government.
It was therefore not surprising that Aisha said to the hearing of her husband that ”feeling of use and dump runs deep across the support network that projected him to victory in 2015”.There may have been several other politicians who supported the APC Candidate election in 2015 both in cash and kind , but are now being sidelined by the cabal.
The first lady who may have known the implication of Tinubu turning his back on her husband in the 2019 general elections had no option but to cry out with a threat never to support him in the election to avoid a repeat of 2015.
Buhari may have known the implications of kick starting the 2019 electioneering campaigns without the backing of the wife to mobilise the women to come out enmass to vote in their respective states than to find a way to pacify her without the interference of the cabal.
As a prelude to win her back to support the party, Buhari was said to have given Aisha , her rightful position in the government.
Last August, Buhari was said to have taken Aisha, the first lady and their daughter to China to participate in the 27th Summit of the Forum on China -African Cooperation, FOCAC, which was held on September 4, 2018. This may have gladdened her heart to support the President’s re-election bid in the 2019 general elections.
It was gathered that the visit to China by the first family may have strengthened the bond of relationship between them ,that She could dictate who could see the President in the Villa to discuss official matters.
Presidency sources told The Value News Magazine that the first casualty was Adams Oshiomhole, the party National Chairman. He was said to have been barred from coming to see the President in the Villa with official party matters but to take such matters to the President’s office. Oshiomhole, according to the source had expected the President to intervene to save him from future embarrassment by the first lady. He got it wrong as the President neither cautioned nor reprimanded her.
With Buhari’s endorsement of the first lady’s actions in the Presidency, it was therefore not surprising why she was forced to make a U-turn to support him. This is evident in her comments in women forums where she had always seen it as an opportunity to canvass for votes for her husband in the 2019 general elections.
On Tuesdaday, December 4, 2018, Aisha Buhari, the first lady was said to have had an opportunity of talking to the Nigeria women at the National Women leadership Summit that was organized by a group, project 4+4 for Buhari and Osibanjo 2019, at the National Women Development Center, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
An elated first lady enjoined Nigerian women from the age of 18 and above to ”vote for Buhari and Osibanjo in the 2019 Presidential elections”. She recalled that it was the support given to her husband that made him to win the 2015 Presidential elections which could still be repeated in 2019. in appreciation of the women support Buhari was said to have come up with social investment programmes targeted at the women and children in the country. The president, according to a party sources disclosed that his immediate plans if he wins his re-election bid would be to review the programme to make it more effective to serve their needs.
Already, Aisha, has sensitised the womenfolk in the country that they are ready to work for Buhari in their respective states to defeat Atiku Abubakar, the PDP, Presidential Candidate, and the Candidates of other parties in the 2019 general elections.
This is a big challenge to Atiku’s wives to also champion the electioneering Campaigns of their husband to beat Buhari in the 2019 general elections. There are indications that if the Hausa- Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo wives of the former Vice President could make the difference by taking the PDP Presidential Campaign to their respective states of origin to draw the support of women and youths, for their husband in the 2019 general elections.