The wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, on Saturday implored politicians who may be picked to work with President Muhammadu Buhariand all his political associates to be careful the way they carry themselves.
She said such people should be wary of the fact that it took her husband 12 years before getting to the position he currently occupies and hence, they should tread with caution.
Mrs. Buhari said this during an “Appreciation Dinner” she hosted in honour of the All Progressives Congress’ women and youths at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
She said, “There was nothing that people did not say about the past administration. It is not former President Goodluck Jonathan that is not good but the people around him.
“So, the people that are going to be around President Buhari have to be very careful because this election ended peacefully.
“We are praying and hoping that people around him should know that it took him 12 years to get to that position and they must know that they are coming to serve the masses, not General Buhari.
“It is the people that are around him that will determine the political health of our state.”
The President’s wife also promised that the current administration would run an open government.
She said government under her husband would be run differently from what was obtainable under Jonathan when people were allegedly asked to be paying huge amount of money in foreign currency before they could see the President or his wife.
“I will like to inform you that in the past regime, whether it is true or false, only God knows, some people were going round and parading themselves as personal assistants.
“If you wanted to see the President’s wife, you will pay $30,000 or $50,000 and if you are seeing the President, you will pay all that you have saved in your lifetime.
“This will not happen in our regime. Whoever asks you to give a single penny in the name of coming to see the President or his wife is not our (member of) staff. He is not an APC member, it is a lie. Don’t be deceived,” she said.
Taking a look at her husband’s 12-year journey towards returning as President, Mrs. Buhari said her active participation in the last electioneering made the difference.
She said she did not take part in the campaigns of her husband’s first three shots at the Presidency because that was how those who surrounded him at that time wanted it.
This time, she said it was a national leader of the APC and a former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who encouraged her to play an active role.
She also faulted claims that made the rounds ahead of the elections on the alleged gender-insensitivity of her husband, saying they were mere fabrications.
Describing Buhari as the pillar of her success despite the generation gap between the two of them, she said it was the President who encouraged her to go to school.
Mrs. Buhari said, “Many people did not know why I was not appearing for the last three campaigns. I appeared only this time and I think it made a lot of difference. A lot of people said my husband earned four million votes as a result of my campaign.
“We were not sure but with the popularity of my husband, we thought then that he needed female support to cancel all sorts of gender bias people have been attaching to him like that he kept me under a purdah.”
“He had never kept me under a purdah even for a moment since I got married to him…
“My husband is a gender-sensitive human being, having so many girls as his own biological children and then having me as a wife, then you can see the generation gap. He allowed me to go to school. To cut the story short, he is the pillar of my success.”
She thanked Nigerian women and youths for the roles they played towards the success of the last election, saying she was aware of their steadfastness during the electioneering up until the elections proper.
These efforts, she said, contributed significantly to her husband’s success story.
Mrs. Buhari regretted that the number of women that made it to the National Assembly during the current dispensation declined drastically from the number obtainable during the last regime.
She said the current figure was not fair to women and they felt they are not represented.
Mrs. Buhari said something drastic had to be done to address the high rate of divorce in the North, the harrowing experience of widows in the South and the harassment of female students in the nation’s higher institutions.
Earlier, a former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, who was the chairman of the event, had thanked Mrs. Buhari and other women for making his job as the Director-General of the Buhari/Osinbajo Presidential Campaign Organisation easier.