By Dr. AbdulFatai Dare Mogobon
She talked. Then, tongues began to wag. Emergency pen-pushers started scrambling for social media spaces to voice out. Some in praise of her bravery, others in chastisement of her effrontery. Could this be because she’s never known to speak aloud while her husband was citizen number one and three in Kwara and Nigeria respectively? Was it that the few instances of giant development strides of her man as a Governor that she reeled out were too monumental? In a manner that is uncharacteristic of her, Mrs Saraki, amidst jocular gigles and gentle dance to the ‘Buga’ rhythm, had retorted:
“They said we did nothing, when indeed;
They land in the airport that we built,
They sleep in the Government house that we built,
They ride on the Ilorin-Osogbo road that we constructed;
they drink the water that flows from the taps that we made”.
What if she listed much more? Or could it be that the haters suffer from the weaker sex syndrome? Afterall, she said what the ordinary man on the street knows her man to have done. Anyway, whichever is the reason, I hold exceptions. My reasons?
I think her excellency spoke because she knows, and she knows because she partook. It takes only a woman “BEHIND” a successful man not to partake and therefore not to know, as it is usually thought of in the distant past. For, when a woman confines herself “behind” her man, she sees no farther than her man’s shadow.
Women, substance folks like our Toyin, are the likeness of salt in the stew. Their presence is not readily appreciated but their significance is felt only when in their absence.
Such women stand firmly, purposively, and purposefully “BESIDE” their men, so they could see, evaluate, opinionate, substantiate and even initiate novel governmental ideas that could draw development. For such women, it is within their intellectual capacity to be contributory to their men’s success, but they remain largely unsung.
In the political and governmental landscape of Nigeria, instances of such women abound. They wriggled their way out of the constitutional impediments to still make their marks very indelible for posterity.
For instance, It was because Dame Patience jettisoned the “behind” position with president Jonathan that she courted so much fame (either in derision or honor).
Much earlier, the instances of the two Maryams are another to remember. If the late Maryam Babangida hadn’t stood ‘beside’ (not behind) her man, the Better Life for Rural Women she birthed, and its multiplier effects on the Nigerian rural women would have been non-existent. Neither would the famous Family Support Programme (FSP) of her successor and namesake, the widow of the late Abacha, have come to fruition.
In like manner, the erstwhile kwara first woman, who partook at the sideline of governance, evolved an NGO, the Well-being Foundation, to cater for the well-being of womenfolk and children, at no cost on Government, in complementarity with her man. In facilitating health care and general wellbeing for people, off-setting medical bills of indigent patients etc, her organisation did and still doing tremendously well. Surely, such a woman needs now to talk, especially in the face of hate-induced criticism on the vital roles of their Excellencies, the revelation of a former Governor in one of the south-west is apt.
Citing a particular incidence when he, out of annoyance, threw verbal missiles on one of his personal Aides. According to him, while at home that same day, his wife, her excellency had calmly and with all due respect, rebuked him for insulting and even injuring the sensibility of the aide in question.
Her excellency insisted that they both together visit the aide in his residence to offer apology, as (in the reasoning of this first lady), that aide, his wife and even grown up children would definitely sleep in sadness that night. As such, he, Governor, the cause of another family’s sadness, didn’t deserve to sleep in happiness too, except and unless he the went to releif that family of the burden.
With such reaction of his wife, he opined that if Governor continually exhibited misnomals, their wife sure has a share in the blame.
And lest I forget, the current first lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari once talked and still talking. Neither the hamstrung posed by the constitution nor her husband’s body language were enough to dissuade her. She is much educated and exposed to understand the intrigues of the swarms of political owls around her man and government, that she cried out; and she hasn’t even stopped talking thenceforth. Recall her man’s popular reference to “the other room” as a place she’s to play her role. Yet the undaunted Aishat keeps talking.
I have gone this length to show the logically of the assertions of our erstwhile first lady, and one just hope that one wouldn’t be misconstrued to be intent at Praise singing or playing Psychophancy.