Aisha Buhari: Profile of the classic first lady that will replace Mama Peace


The incoming first lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has been described in several quarters as a rare combination of beauty and brains. But for her first campaign appearance in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Aisha was virtually anonymous. Only a few people could be said to have known her physically outside the confines of Katsina and Kaduna states where her husband hails from and lives respectively.
She was literarily dragged out of her shell by the intriguing politics that has now thrown up her husband, Major-General (rtd) Muhammadu Buhari, as the next executive president of Nigeria. Her husband was the flag bearer of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the just concluded presidential election. Before the build up to the March 28, election, not much is known about her. She was at the background despite her husband’s larger-than-life status in the society.
However, since she stepped out into the visual embrace of the general Nigerian public, she has been quite a statement. Tall, elegant and bespectacled, Aisha has kept tongues wagging ever since with the wide acknowledgement as a quintessence of beauty. Her academic credentials had also been laid bare and appreciated. Not only recognised as cerebrally beautiful, admired and self-effacing, but applauded as confidently articulate whenever she chooses to express herself.
Little wonder, a consummate writer, Stella Lebi, described Aisha’s personality as the compensating balance that offsets the somewhat firm and disciplined military disposition of her husband. Others have also observed that the qualities of husband and wife found convergence in their selflessness and patriotic fervour.
She was born in Adamawa State into the Fulani family of Nigeria’s first Minister of Defence, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu. She is also the granddaughter of the first traditional title holder of the Chiroman Adamawa. A woman with a royal pedigree, she was raised in the tradition of philanthropy, which is said to have been a guiding principle in both her private and public life.
It was gathered that Buhari encouraged Aisha to further polish herself academically. She was said to have been tutored at home by an English teacher from the Command Secondary School, Kaduna. Her can do spirit, according to those in the know, is reflective of her desire to empower women through education, formal, informal and technical. She is seen as a thorough professional and an alumnus of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in public administration.
However, her quest for more education took her into the field of physiotherapy and beauty therapy. She graduated from the legendary Carlton Institute of London and the Academy Esthetique Beauty Institute of France, Dubai, where she earned a post-graduate diploma in cosmetology and beauty therapy.
Not done, she went on to enroll in the Distance Learning programme of the NCE at the National Teachers Institute (NTI), Kaduna. Thereafter, she registered in the undergraduate programme of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, and received lectures at its Leventis Building satellite campus, Kaduna. She recently graduated from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Master’s class.
The wife of the President-elect is also a woman with great entrepreneurial spirit. She is credited with the National Board for Technical Education’s (NBTE’s) resource persons on Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology and has been participating fully on the small and medium scale enterprises curriculum of the NBTE. She is founder/Managing Director of Hanzy Spa and Principal of Hanzy Beauty Institute, which is one of the consultants on Youth Empowerment and Skill Acquisition programme of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC).
Aisha, in her 40s is an elegant and stylish woman with deep passion for the under privileged. By May 29, the day when her husband takes his oath of office as the next president of Nigeria, she would, in the reckoning of many, become the queen of the revolution that re-writes the political history of Nigeria.
The wife of the incoming executive president was said to be shy as a girl from the rich lands of Adamawa but has over the years grown to become a voice for the down trodden, the sick and the disadvantaged. This was reflected throughout her campaign in support of her husband’s political quest. She assured women wherever she went that her husband’s administration will give priority to women’s health and education in particular.
“Women will be given opportunities to contribute to the greatness of Nigeria. Never again will women be relegated to the posts of tea servers or treated as part of the home furniture,” she added.
A woman so confidant of the husband, Aisha never missed an opportunity to advocate for the empowerment of women in even traditionally male circles. With a woman like her as the First Lady of Nigeria, many believe it is certain that female issues will take the front burner in the Buhari administration.
Following her certification in beauty and permanent make up, she was encouraged and supported by her husband to engage in private enterprise where she has since become an employer of labour, a mentor to aspiring cosmetologists and a consultant to the KRCP/NNPC on skills acquisition. She is a member of the United Kingdom Vocational Training and Charitable Trust (VTCT), the International Health and Beauty Council (HBC).
Besides being an entrepreneur, Aisha is equally a consummate politician. A strong believer in the project, Nigeria, she showed her political sagacity with successful campaigns across the country in the build up to the just concluded presidential election where she pulled off an incredible crowd of successful women both in the public and private sector. Housewives and home makers were equally present and honored by this woman who spent the early years of her married life as a home maker. Her exhortation to women at these events was change and positive change for Nigeria and for all women.
While inaugurating the initiative, Aisha urged the women to unite and cooperate with the men by mobilising women at all levels to ensure success at the presidential poll. She admonished them to double their efforts in educating other women on how to cast their votes and at the same time be civil in their conducts.
“As I am talking to you now, more than 55 per cent of registered voters are women hence, it is imperative to have initiatives like this to mobilise fellow women at the grassroots. The meeting will plan campaign activities that will showcase the potentials of the women wing in selling the programmes of our great party to the women. This will include mobilising women by creating voters awareness, particularly in the area of registration, collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC), identifying the party logo and how to cast their votes,’’ she said.
She assured the women folk that her husband will not tamper with the office of the “First Lady”, if it is constitutionally recognised. She was reacting to her husband’s promise to scrap the office of the first lady because it is unconstitutional and allegedly being used to steal public fund.
According to her, where such does not exist constitutionally, she will limit her roles to the traditional functions of visiting orphanages and caring for society’s downtrodden as the first lady. “`When my husband is elected as the president of this country, he will rule the country within the rule of law based on the constitution of the country.
“If the office of the first lady is constitutionally recognised, he will not tamper with it, but if it is not, that’s okay. For me, I will perform my duties and role as the wife of the President of Nigeria, traditionally. Wives of presidents have some traditional roles, like receiving guests, visiting orphanages and helping the less privileged people. They also lead in the fight for the right of women and malnourished children, infant mortality rate, kidnapping and girl-child trafficking,’’ she said.
A devout Moslem and passionate wife, Aisha revealed in one of her recent interviews what she claimed most people do not know about her husband. According to her, Buhari loves comic stories, and he is humorous in nature. “Whenever he cracks jokes you will laugh till you shed tears. He also likes taking people by surprise.
“My husband is a family-oriented person. He has very close relationships with his children, grandchild, and entire members of the family. He is very caring and protective of us.
“He believes in women’s education and encouraged me to pursue my educational goals. I’m sure Nigerian women know the truth that he is a gender sensitive leader in spite of the political propaganda to discredit him. He insisted during his time as Head of State that every council should have a female representative,” she further revealed.
Aisha and her husband are blessed with five children – Halima, Yusuf, Zara, Aisha and Amina. She shares same name with her grandchild. Many are of the belief that she would as the First Lady of Nigeria, have cause to make women and youths, especially, to smile.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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