Aisha Buhari’s controversial interview with the BBC posted on Friday and Pres. Muhammadu Buhari’s mind-boggling response continue to generate reactions with Nigerians taking sides with one half of the first couple or the other.
Among people close to or supporting the senate president Bukola Saraki, however, the response to the situation has been a unanimous endorsement of the first lady’s position.
It started with the special adviser on new media to Saraki, Bamikole Omishore, who said on social media that his boss and the first lady both have Pres. Buhari’s best interest at heart in their separate conclusions that there is a “government within the government” actually calling the shots.
He expressed concern that if an election is held tomorrow, the APC may not win because most of those who have been empowered and appointed by the administration are not “party faithful.”
Another legislative aide in Saraki’s office, Wale Bakare, said Aisha Buhari “plucked up the courage to tell us how she felt about the cabal within her husband’s kitchen cabinet and all fingers points (sic) to one man.”
Another loyalist of the senate president, Timi Frank, who is currently the acting national publicity secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, was also supportive of the president’s wife for “speaking the minds of not only the party members but Nigerians.”
Frank was the only member of the APC national working committee (NWC) publicly backing Saraki in the height of his battle with the party’s leadership, Aso Rock and a national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu.
He said the first lady’s comment isn’t different from what “some of us have been saying that it is high time the President shake-up his cabinet and bring in people who understand the manifesto of the party and could help the party deliver on its change mantra, especially, the economy of the country that needs an urgent attention.”
“Some of our leaders like the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki, have made this same observation in the past and I think they meant well for the administration and the country. I will also join them in appealing to the president to do the needful,” he said.
Frank commended Aisha and said other first ladies have a lot to learn from her actions. “We should not forget in a hurry that this is what the former first lady Mrs. Patience Jonathan failed to do to her husband when few people hijacked his government and brought the government down,” he said.
Dele Momodu, the publisher of Ovation magazine used his widely read ‘Pendulum’ column on Saturday to share similar sentiments. In the piece titled, “A good lady in the presidential villa,” Momodu said “Aisha is the guardian angel sent to our President in order to avert a cataclysmic fall a second time.”
Momodu who supported Saraki for senate president and has described him as a hero, claimed that he was almost certain Aisha had tried to communicate her concerns with her husband in the past but could have met one of the following: “(a) She never got the audience required; (b) She got the audience she sought but was told to mind her own business or (c) she got her few minutes and was heard but was even insulted for daring to put her mouth in matters of state. She probably reached out to some members of the new mafia who she believes have virtually hypnotized and hijacked her husband and she met a brick-wall there too.”
Beyond Momodu’s personal preference for Saraki, he also has a relationship with Saraki’s aide, Omishore, who was campaign coordinator for America in Momodu’s ill-fated 2011 presidential bid.
“We must thank God for giving Nigeria such a good lady in our Presidential palace,” Momodu said. “It is sad that rather than being appreciated for her candour and uncommon courage, critics have unleashed a social media war on her. This is most unfortunate.”
Senate president Saraki has not commented himself on the matter. His aide, Omishore, sent a statement yesterday after the storm generated by his tweets, saying, his opinion “neither represent the official position of the Senate President, Distinguished Senator (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki, nor my office as a Media Aide.”
He however said he was standing by his position “that the First Lady’s opinion tallies with the view my Principal expressed four months ago.”