After Nigerian First Lady Aisha Buhari criticized President Muhammadu Buhari government members, Mr. Buhari said he does not know to which party does his wife belongs, but he does know she belongs “to the kitchen, the living room, and the other room.”
It is uncertain what “the other room” means, but it is a fact that Buhari’s administration has lost popularity due to the current economic crisis and rumors of a corrupt government. Buhari made the sexist statement when he was next to one of the most powerful women in the world: Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to the Washington Post, Merkel glared at him.
The controversy began after Aisha Buhari stated that she might not back her husband at the next election unless he makes some changes in his cabinet. The first lady did not say names, but she did say there were a significant number of people in the government that did not share her husband’s vision for Nigeria.
“Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or ministerial position,” Aisha Buhari said in an interview with the BBC.
The first lady’s allegations added wood to the fire to the existing accusations made by the opposition of Buhari’s government. They believe Buhari’s administration has been hijacked and the criminals are operating the country behind the scenes.
President Buhari continued to attack his wife and said he has superior knowledge because he has run for president four times and finally succeeded in 2015.
Mr. Buhari was elected last year after promising he would end corruption and nepotism in his country. But neither his wife’s accusations nor his controversial statements seem to be matching his presidential promises.
Mrs. Buhari’s decision to express her opinion in public is another sign of discontent regarding the president’s leadership. Mr. Buhari has failed to deal with the Nigerian economy, the deadly insurgency, Boko Haram, and the famine that is killing more and more people every day.
Some in Nigeria think the actual reason behind the first lady’s comments is because her husband did not choose the people she had selected to be part of the administration. Either way, Buhari’s presidency is failing to end cronyism in the country.
President Buhari’s sexist statement outrages Twitter
After Mr. Buhari said his wife belonged to the kitchen and “the other room,” people expressed their disagreement and severe criticism through Twitter. Users emphasized that Buhari’s comments only show his idea of women’s role in society.
Other users focused on what President Buhari meant by “the other room.” Curiosity on the matter became trending in Nigeria, and internauts are using the hashtag #TheOtherRoom and posting pictures of different places to discover what the other room is.
In the President’s defense, government spokesperson Mallam Garba Shebu stated that Mr. Buhari only made those comments as a joke. Shebu said Buhari respects women and their place in society and that he believes in their ability.
Shebu asked in a tweet if a leader cannot have a sense of humor. He added that Buhari laughed before he made the controversial comments.