General Buhari stated yesterday in an interview with Weekly Trust that if elected as president in next year’s presidential election, he would abolish the office of the First Lady. The office, though not constitutionally recognized, has been maintained by past and present administrations and is even seen as being key in policy decisions. He said that ministries, which are constitutional, should be allowed to play their roles instead.
“There is the Ministry of Women Affairs, and so on. I was raised by my mother, as I lost my father when I was under 6 yars, so I know what a woman can do if given the chance”.
In a subtle way of replying Buhari’s comments, First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan, emphasized the importance of the office of the First Lady in the Nigerian politics, saying that the office has been an avenue for mobilizing women for mass participation in politics.
She said this in Abia state during a reception organized for her by the Ohuhu community, her maternal home in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia state, yesterday.
She said the bid by politicians from the opposition camp to scrap the office of the First Lady would amount to sending the Nigerian women back to the kitchen if such came to fruition, adding,
“It is not our portion to go back to the kitchen. We have women that are capable. We can contribute our quota to the development of Nigeria”.
She also told the women not to vote for any politician who doesn’t respect women.
The First Lady had veered off from the address she was reading at the occasion when she directed the attention of guests to Buhari’s idea which she said was not practicable in the ongoing political dispensation because of the critical role women have been playing in politics.