Many Nigerians have criticised the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha Buhari, over a post on her Facebook page celebrating the graduation of her daughter-in-law, Zahra Buhari, from a foreign university.
The post is described by Nigerians as “insensitive” to the plight of public university students in the country, who have been shut out of classrooms for more than seven months due to unresolved conflict between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Nigerian government.
But efforts to get the reaction of Mrs Buhari to the reactions were unsuccessful as the telephone line of her spokesperson, Aliyu Abdullahi, was unreachable as of the time of filing this report.
The President’s wife had, on Tuesday, taken to her Facebook page to congratulate the young wife, Zahra, commending her for graduating with First Class Honours in Achitectural Science.
- Advertisement -
Mrs Buhari, however, failed to indicate the specific university where the new graduand finished from but the many pictures posted clearly indicated that Nigeria’s first family, along with the inlaws, were abroad to celebrate the graduand.
She wrote; “Congratulations to Mrs. Zahra B. Buhari on your graduation with First Class Honors in Architectural Science. Wishing you all the best!”
The pictures accompanying the post also show Mrs Buhari posing with some non-Nigerians decked in academic gowns, who could apparently be part of the officials of the school.
Zahra Buhari is the wife of the President’s wife’s only son, Yusuf Buhari, and daughter of Nasiru Ado Bayero, one of the elite princes of Kano, the commercial centre of Nigeria’s northern region. Mr Bayero was recently installed as the traditional monarch of Bichi Emirate Council, one of the four new emirate councils in the city.
Buhari’s children in foreign schools
Meanwhile, attending foreign universities is not new to Nigeria’s first family, and this has been adduced as a reason for the “President’s seemingly lacklustre approach to resolving the crisis.”
At least five of Mr Buhari’s children attended foreign universities.
Nana-Hadiza attended University of Buckingham; Safinatu attended the University of Plymouth; Halima attended the University of Leicester, Yusuf and Zahra Buhari attended the University of Surrey, all in the United Kingdom.
In reaction many Nigerians took to social media lambast the President’s wife, with the Facebook post alone garnering more than 20,000 comments so far, and most of them invectives.
A popular activist, Deji Adeyanju, wrote; “Even ASUU strike couldn’t stop Aisha Buhari from posting this? You can’t shame the shameless. The way the Buharis scammed Nigerians in 2015 should be studied.”
ALSO READ: Why ASUU Strike has not been resolved – Ngige
Another tweet by @PoojaMedia reads: “ASUU on strike for over 9 months & Aisha Buhari still posted their daughter’s graduation in the UK. The height of taking citizens for granted. So insensitive. Na wa.”
Another person, @IfedolapoOsun posted “ASUU on strike for over 9 months & Aisha Buhari still posted their daughter’s graduation in the UK.”
Many others also rained curses on the first family, accusing the President of deliberately frustrating negotiation with the striking university workers’ unions and “keeping young Nigerian youths idle.”
It is already more than seven months that ASUU commenced its strike, which it has declared indefinite following the failure of the two parties to reach a compromise on the union’s demands.
ASUU has demanded the replacement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as salary payment platform with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) which its members developed.
ASUU said rather than ensuring accountability, IPPIS has enabled fraud in the system and that it failed to accommodate the peculiarities of the university system.
The union is also requesting the release of revitilisation fund for the universities as contained in the earlier agreements signed with the government, and the release of its members earned academic allowance, among others.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday met with ASUU leadership to find a solution to the lingering crisis.
But on Wednesday, the National Industrial Court ordered the union to suspend the industrial action pending the determination of the matter referred to it by the Nigerian government through its Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
It is unclear if the order will be obeyed by the lecturers as a member of the union’s leadership who does not want to be named described it as “political judgement.”
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.
Support PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie – +2348098788999