That “My wife belongs in the kitchen” comment was a joke, and it does not in any way represent the way President Muhammadu Buhari views or treats women. Aisha Buhari narrated herself the story of how, after their wedding, her husband wrote a letter to her professor uncle at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) on how he wanted her to continue with her education without delay and be able to cope with her marital and academic responsibilities effectively. The First lady herself comes from a learned family that boasts of five professors. This was how Aisha Buhari, with only a secondary school certificate at the time she married the President, was able to obtain a certificate in education, a degree in public administration, a masters in international relations and strategic studies, and professional certifications in beauty theraphy and health safety management from institutions within and outside the country.
These achievements could not have been possible without the active support and sponsorship of her husband. And she maintained a thriving fashion business prior to her becoming First lady. These are feats beyond the dream of a woman restricted to the kitchen, the living room and the ‘other room.’ If we are looking at how the President views or treats women, we have to look at those sterling achievements of his wife and daughters and their lifestyles, and not about a joke made in Germany.
I consider the Aisha Buhari interview as first, a family affair which I hope they will sort out themselves amicably, and secondly, as a national issue, considering their status as the First family.
While we enjoy the humour the President’s comments elicited, I find attempts to exploit it to cast the President in a disapprovingly misogynistic and patriarchal light uncharitable and mischievous.
- Balogun Emmanuel,