(By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye – ABUJA)
The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said the interview granted by the wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari to the BBC were taken out of context.
The governor, who described the reactions trailing the two cases as a distraction, urged that all hands must be on the deck to salvage the country, which he said was currently passing through trying times.
Mrs. Buhari had in the interview with the BBC alleged that her husband’s administration had been hijacked, adding that she would not campaign for his re-election in 2019 if he does not rejig his cabinet.
Buhari had during a joint press conference he had with the German Chancellor Angela Markel, during his three-day visit to Berlin, while responding to question regarding his wife’s remark, said his wife belongs in his kitchen, living room and “the other room”.
Okorocha who was one of the governors who accompanied the President to Germany, told State House correspondents yesterday that the statements of the President and his wife were jokes taken out of context.
He said Mrs. Buhari’s interview was not meant to pull down the government but to make peace among party members who are complaining of not being carried along.
He added that the President’s reaction was also not meant to denigrate his wife or women generally, explaining that Buhari was smiling while responding to the question.
His statement reads:
“Our nation is passing through a trying moment now, very difficult times ranging from economic, security to political challenges.
“This is the time that all Nigerians, irrespective of political parties, religion or culture, must come together to see what we can do to salvage the situation and build a Nigeria of our collective hopes and aspiration.
“This is what I want to exercise at this point. We do not need any form of distraction at this time. We should support the President to achieve the three key things. We have started seeing traces of light at the end of the tunnel.
“What is now trending is the news about the comment of the President and his wife’s interview.
“I have read the interview of the President’s wife and I was there when the President made that comment. Both the interview and comment were taken out of context.
“I understand when the international community speaks on this matter because of the woman rights that is going on now globally.
“But I believe that Nigerians will understand the situation better than anybody in the world because I do not believe that that was the intention.
“I think it is a joke taken too far outside the chores of Nigeria. If you have been with President Buhari, you will agree with me that it was a kind of joke because even when he was responding, he was smiling.
“I don’t think he meant the meanings being giving to it or how will he have ensured that his five daughters have Masters and Ph.D, his wife educated and gave women positions in the country?”
On Mrs. Buhari’s interview to the BBC, the governor said:
“She did not grant that interview to bring down her husband’s government.
“She was rather trying to make peace among perceived aggrieved persons in the polity.”
The governor said he also had situations when his wife will join his brothers, commissioners and workers to condemn what he does.
He said he would never see that as fighting him but building bridges of peace between him and the people concerned.
The governor urged Nigerians to deemphasise the comments and devote energy to how to build the country.
On Mrs. Buhari’s call on her husband to rejig his appointees, Okorocha said there was nothing wrong for the President to take note of the call, especially when many people have been making the same suggestion.
“If there is a clarion call on the President to look into his cabinet and bring in more people, there is nothing wrong for the President to look into such comments, because if everybody keeps saying the same thing there must be sense in what they are saying.
“But that is not enough to cause a hullabaloo. Some people in the party feel they have not been carried along.
“I know that some people who worked for the party are complaining every day, they want board appointments released.
“The people from the South East said they have not been appointed. The people from the North East and even from the North West where Mr. President comes from said they have not been appointed. Some local governments and villages are saying they have not been remembered.
“So, at what point do we draw this line?”
Okorocha also faulted a Second Republic lawmaker, Junaid Mohammed, who stated that the President’s recent trip to Germany was for medical reasons.
“The President never went for any medical check up. I was always with him till like 1 am after dinner before I left him and he went to bed and I went to bed. The following day I came to see him in the morning. The President didn’t go for any medial trip at all.”
Speaking on the gains of the trip, Okorocha described it as a worthwhile one.
He said members of Buhari’s delegation enjoyed a lot of courtesies and he was proud as a Nigerian that Germany could give us such courtesy as they discussed issues of common interest.