Mrs. Buhari takes ‘First Lady’ title, after five years as ‘Wife of the President’

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by Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

Aisha Buhari, wife of the Nigerian president has officially announced that she will be addressed as First Lady, five years after going with the official title, ‘Wife of The President.’

She explained that the reasoning behind the current decision was to clear a discrepancy between her title and that of wives of the respective state governors.

Speaking to wives of governors from across the 36 states in Abuja on Thursday, she said her new designation was to take immediate effect, multiple media outlets reported.

When my husband was elected newly I personally chose to be called the wife of the President. But, I realised that it causes confusion from the state as to whether the wives of state governors are to be addressed as the first ladies or wives of the governors.

“When my husband was elected newly I personally chose to be called the wife of the President. But, I realised that it causes confusion from the state as to whether the wives of state governors are to be addressed as the first ladies or wives of the governors.

“So, forgive me for confusing you from the beginning, but now I chose to be called the first lady,” she said. Then candidate Buhari in December 2014 had said his administration will scrap the office of First Lady because it had no basis in the constitution.

The now First Lady’s official seal during functions had been inscribed with “The Wife of The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.” It remains to be seen whether that will be changed to reflect her new decision.

As at June 14, 2019, her verified social media accounts – Facebook and Twitter – have yet to make amends to her official designation.

Nigeria’s Aisha Buhari

  • Full name / age: Aisha Muhammadu Buhari / 48 years old
  • Profession: Beautician, entrepreneur and publisher
  • Politics: Vocal critic of the former government, of Buhari and some of his appointees
  • Advocacy: Women and Children’s Rights activist, head of “Future Assured Foundation.”
  • Family: Wife to president Muhammadu Buhari since 1989, has five children with Buhari.

Aisha Buhari in photos

The office of First Lady

While the position of first lady is not legally or constitutionally provided for in many countries, many presidencies cater for the Office of the First Lady, through which the holder is facilitated to implement projects towards social causes, and often influence policy.

The Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), created in 2002, brings together First Ladies of Africa ‘to advocate for policies that make health services accessible and laws that boost women and youth empowerment’.

‘‘First Ladies of Africa reinforce favorable policies and programs through advocacy, resource mobilization and development of partnerships with all stakeholders at all levels,’‘ reads part of the statement on the OAFLAD website.

OAFLAD is currently led by First Lady of Burkina Faso, Adjoavi Sika Kabore, who is deputised by her Kenyan counterpart Margaret Kenyatta.