By Eric Elezuo
The political landscape was last week heated up when the Minister of Women Affairs and Development, and All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Mrs. Aisha Alhassan, was quoted as saying that her loyalty as far as the 2019 Presidential election is concerned will not be pitched with President Mohammadu Buhari, but with her political godfather and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
Mrs. Alhassan, who narrowly missed the Taraba governor’s seat in the 2015 General election, was exposed in a video where she was pledging allegiance to the former Customs’ boss during the Sallah celebrations when she paid a courtesy visit to him in his residence with her followers.
“If am to choose between Atiku and Buhari if both contest the forthcoming 2019 presidential election, I will support Atiku,” the minister has boldly said.
She continued: Atiku is my godfather even before I join politics, and again Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019. And let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah I will go before him and kneel and tell him that ‘Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a minister. But Baba, just like you know, I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather.’
(That is) if Atiku said he is going to contest; as we are talking now Atiku has not said he is going to contest. Why I said our president in 2019 is because we all hope he is going to contest, but he never told us that he is going to contest. But if he said he is going to contest I will surely do what I told you I will do.
Because if Atiku said he is going to contest and I remain in the cabinet of Baba while Baba also wants to contest, then I have become a hypocrite and I am not one. If I said I am not with Atiku, Buhari himself will not trust me at all because he will say I am a hypocrite.
In her total frankness, Mama Taraba, as she is fondly called, owned up to her stand even as political jobbers continued to buffet her with condemnations bothering on disloyalty and betrayal. Above all, her detractors have also asked for her sack
“Yes I made this statement when we went for a courtesy call during Sallah festivities, I am not going to stand before him and campaign, besides this is not the time for campaign.
“This is the work of my political enemies, they have been going round saying I should be sacked as minister. I never hoped to be a minister, Allah gave it to me If I get sacked, it will not bother me because I believe in Allah, that my time has elapsed; because I believe only Allah do and undo. And you think Baba is a mad man like those calling for my sack?
“They have been sending it and spreading that if Baba sees this I will be sacked. He will not sack me from being a minister because of this, only if I commit another offence. I am doing my job as a minister with all my heart and I always protect this government because it is a government of APC.
A twist to Mrs. Alhassan’s alleged disloyalty to her boss in terms of support lends credence to an earlier attack sometime in October 2016 by another Aisha; this time Aisha Buhari, the wife of the President himself.
Mrs. Buhari, had in an interview with the same BBC Hausa Service declared that she would not support her husband in 2019 if things continued the way they were and of course nothing has changed.
In apparent rebuke, the President, who was visiting Germany at the time, disowned his wife, saying he is not aware the political party the woman belong to, creating the much used cliché today, insinuating that women belong to ‘the other room’. This was in the presence of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
One obvious co-incidence in the whole scenario has been that only Aishas have had the audacity to tell the President to his hearing that he would definitely not get their support come 2019; one as a result of the President’s incompetence, and the other as a result preference, obviously to a better candidate.
Another striking detail is the fact that both women spoke their minds while chatting with the BBC Hausa Service where obviously they were able to express themselves from the depth of their hearts.
The BBC Hausa Service has been reputed to be the avenue through which sporadic truths are spoken nowadays, owing maybe to the fact that it is in indigenous language and commands expressiveness.
In another vein, Mrs. Aisha’s declaration seems to have opened a can of worms in relation to the celebrated kidnapping of the Chibok Girls, which dented the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. She had threatened to expose the politics behind the Chibok Girls affair, and specifically pointed at Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru el-Rufai as a prime player.
The days ahead will tell how the drama of El-Rufai and the chibok girls saga will unfold as well as whether the days of Mama Taraba are numbered in the administration of President Buhari.