Nigerian President says of his critical wife: She belongs in the kitchen

Mr Buhari laughed off criticisms by his his wife, Aisha Buhari (below, right), saying he had "superior knowledge" about running a government. She had said she might not back her husband in the next election unless he shakes up his government.
Mr Buhari (above) laughed off criticisms by his his wife, Aisha Buhari, saying he had "superior knowledge" about running a government. She had said she might not back her husband in the next election unless he shakes up his government.
Mr Buhari laughed off criticisms by his his wife, Aisha Buhari (above), saying he had "superior knowledge" about running a government. She had said she might not back her husband in the next election unless he shakes up his government.
Mr Buhari laughed off criticisms by his his wife, Aisha Buhari (above), saying he had "superior knowledge" about running a government. She had said she might not back her husband in the next election unless he shakes up his government.

BERLIN • Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari dismissed criticisms voiced by his wife Aisha Buhari in an interview, saying she belonged in the kitchen and he had "superior knowledge" about running a government.

Mr Buhari, who was on a visit to Germany, laughed off the criticisms standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a news conference on Friday.

"I don't know exactly what party my wife belongs to. Actually she belongs in the kitchen, the living room and the other room in my house," Mr Buhari said with a chuckle.

The remark earned him a grimace from Dr Merkel, who is arguably the most powerful woman in the world.

Nigeria's First Lady told the BBC in an interview published on Friday that she might not back her husband in the next election unless he shakes up his government. She suggested that the government had been hijacked by a "few people" who have made key official appointments.

"The President does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed and I don't know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years," she said. "Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms, only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position."

The 73-year-old Nigerian leader was elected last year after a campaign largely fought on his pledge to crush the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and to crack down on corruption.

During the campaigning, Mrs Buhari - whose grandfather was Nigeria's first defence minister Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu - spoke to women and young people at rallies, promising that her husband would end the insurgency and bring back thousands of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram.

The First Lady said her husband has not told her if he would contest in the elections in 2019. But "if things continue like this... I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again," she said.

WASHINGTON POST, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 16, 2016, with the headline 'Nigerian President says of his critical wife: She belongs in the kitchen'. Print Edition | Subscribe