VP Osinbajo to Aisha Buhari: You Are An Unusual Kind of First Lady

From Victor Osula, Abuja
Aisha Buhari
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), was on Thursday full of eulogies for Hajia Aisha Buhari, describing her as an unusual occupier of the First Lady’s office, whose spontaneity has redefined the role of the office.
Speaking at the public presentation of the book titled “Aisha Buhari: Being Different”, written by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administration and Women Affairs, Office of the First Lady, Dr Hajo Sani, at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja,  Osinbajo said that by stepping outside the box and doing things differently from the traditional perception of first lady had made the Nigerian public to love her.
According to him, Mrs Buhari social media savviness which enabled her to connect with the Nigerian public was an instant hit, among other firsts she has been noted for.
Dwelling on the book, Osinbajo said, “Dr. Hajo Sani has written a most engaging book on an incredibly fascinating person, Her Excellency Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady. It’s unlikely that any First Lady in Nigeria’s history has, in such a few short years, captured the imagination of Nigerians as profoundly as Aisha Buhari.
“She’s, of course, the first First Lady to be on Twitter, on Instagram, and other social media platforms, getting her unfiltered views across to the Nigerian people and she’s probably the first to receive, in real time, the opinions of Nigerians on her views.
“With her views, forthright, crisp, truthful and once in a while controversial, she has established an ongoing conversation with the Nigerian people. The issues that concern them most, the issues that concern us the most; good governance, security, putting food on the table, the education of our children, prompt payment of pensions to army veterans, drug abuse, the violation and victimisation of women and every once in a while she airs her own personal struggles, her annoyance, in a manner, probably unprecedented in the role of the First Lady anywhere.
“There is no question that Aisha Buhari is different. Her difference has been empowering for the Nigerian people and there is never any question that her comments come from a good place, a place of genuine love and respect for the Nigerian people and our several concerns”, the Vice President said.
He described the book as a work that has summarised the past five years of the life of the First Lady in her husband’s administration, even as it successfully preserves highlights of the activities of the administration for history.
According to him, the book explores the various aspects of the First Lady’s life; growing years, home front, life in public office, various sweet and sour encounters, as well as her philosophies and humanitarian ventures.
“Hajo Sani’s book seeks to document the practical work that she has also done in the past five years, but it begins with a detailed, and I must say, sensitive chronicle of her childhood years and her growth as a woman, a wife and a mother.
“It also highlights her evolution from a silent supporter of her husband’s political adventures to an active mobilizer and campaigner who played a major role in selling him to the Nigerian electorate.
“Then we also read in the book how, as First Lady, she founded the Future Assured Initiative, which promotes the welfare of women, of youth and children, driven by the Aisha Buhari Foundation. The Future Assured Initiative is inspired by her conviction that empowering women is a direct way of promoting the economic and social progress of a nation.
“We are also given a good picture of this steadfast advocate of women’s health issues, who has championed improved access to health care for women, especially in respect of maternal health, with the aim of reducing maternal mortality, particularly in rural communities.
On the First Lady’s girl child advocacy and her stand that no girl should be given out in marriage before accomplishing primary and secondary schools education, Osinbajo noted “we understand the roots of her relentless pursuit in these past years of the empowerment of women, especially through education, the need for young girls to get primary and secondary education before getting married.

“We understand her stand that no girl should get married before the age of 17. It is from her own experience of being married at 19 and her single mindedness and determination in ensuring that our educational pursuits were not aborted by her obligations as a wife and mother.

“We also get a glimpse of the role she considers primary the, to borrow the expression, Mum-in-Chief to Halima, to Yusuf, to Zarah, to Hanan and Chuchu, and now many grandchildren.
“Her personal attention in the lives of her children, each and every one of them, and her fierce protection of their privacy and individuality, is a lesson in bringing up children under the scrutiny of a sometimes mischievous press.
 “So therefore, Dr. Hajo Sani, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administration and Women’s Affairs, deserves our commendation for the publication of this very important addition to the literary canon on our public life and also to Nigeria’s biographical history.
Among dignitaries present at the occasion were the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was Chairman of the occasion; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who was represented by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), delivered the welcome remarks.
Other dignitaries included Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi; Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (recorded message); Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Dr Amina Muhammed (recorded message).
Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo; former First Lady, Dr. Patience Jonathan; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Pastor Godsday Orubebe; the Ooni of Ife, Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III; and wife of former Vice President, Amina Sambo,Governor of Osun State Governor, Adeboyega Oyetola and wife; the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello; Governor of Yobe state, Mala Buni and Mrs Folasade Eson, Head of Service of the Federation and lawmakers