Aisha, Welcome To The Club Of Wailing Wailers

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The Unaired Part Of Mrs Buhari’s Interview

Aisha, Welcome To The Club Of Wailing Wailers, By Ahmed Oluwasanjo

Shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in on May 29, 2015, two phrases became very popular in the Nigerian media and social media space. They are: “Witch-hunt” and “The wailing wailers”.

This piece was written by Ahmed Oluwasanjo. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Those who felt that Buhari was only on a mission to settle old political scores, using the anti-corruption campaign as a cover, labeled the Buhari-led government’s anti-corruption war a mere witch-hunt. Consequently, Mr. Femi Adesina, on his assumption of office as Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, labelled those who held such view as “wailing wailers”.

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Thanks to Mr. Adesina for bringing to the knowledge of those of us who were born many years after reggae maestro, Bob Marley and The Wailers released a debut album titled, The Wailing Wailers in 1965. No doubt, Mr. Adesina added one phrase to our political lexicon.

Like wildfire, the moment Mr. Adesina labeled Buhari traducers as “the wailing wailers,” the phrase gained wide usage in the Nigerian political landscape. At first, the label seemed quite fitting.

However, along the line, ardent supporters of Buhari – extremists who hold the view that the president could and would do no wrong – made it the official label for anyone, group or organisation that dared to criticise President Buhari, regardless of how strong and valid their views were.

This is undemocratic. Why should yesterday’s wailers become fanatical and irrational hailers the moment they have their own in power? In fact, failing to speak out against the anomalies they once criticised past governments for when the government they are supporting is repeating the same mistakes is sheer hypocrisy.

However, in spite of the intolerant and irrational nature of some fanatical Buharists, there are individuals, groups and media outfits that have not failed to speak out against the mess going on in the Buhari-led administration.

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With due respect to other media platforms, without minding being labelled as the media wing of the wailers, Premium Times and Sahara Reporters stand tall for their intermittent investigative exposés on the disconcerting anomalies of the change administration Nigerians voted for, a disappointing failure despite its proclaimed mantra of being a change from all that went before. Some of these include different stories unraveling corrupt elements in Buhari’s government, including the three different recruitment scandals in public institutions; the unfortunate plight of internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) starving to death in their camps due to the diversion of their provisions by some kleptomaniacs, etc.

Amplifying these stories, veteran columnists have objectively written on different occasions to criticise, correct and offer wise counsels to the government without minding being labelled. Unfortunately, spatial constraints retrain me from mentioning their names.

However, Buhari lovers – those who have eschewed common sense for sentiments, have automated responses to stories that reveal anomalies in the Buhari-led government. Their common arguments are: “The president cannot be everywhere to handle all matters”. “We cannot expect Buhari to fix the system overnight”. “Besides, where were you wailers criticising Buhari today when Goodluck Jonathan’s government messed up the system…”

Interestingly, sixteen months after President Buhari assumed office, the number of wailers has greatly increased, as the government appears to be too slow and lacking in direction. To make things worse, the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, has publicly joined the wailing wailers’, blatantly complaining that her husband’s government has been hijacked. She said that if things continue the way they are, she might not support her husband in the forthcoming election.

I could imagine Mr. Adesina, the hawks in the Buhari government and the fanatical Buhari hailers on the streets squirming as they read the excerpt of her interview in the news.

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But why is Aisha wailing now?

Let’s face it: Where was she when children of politicians were given appointments in public institutions through the back door? Why couldn’t she wail on behalf of unemployed Nigerian youth who were not given a fair chance to apply for such appointments? Or does she feel that her advocacy for the appointment of IDPs – Internally Displaced Politicians – into her husband’s government is more important than advocating for fairness in recruitment into public institutions, which affects young Nigerians who contributed their energy, time and resources to her husband’s electoral success?

If I may probe further, had the Internally Displaced Politicians Aisha felt worked for her husband’s electoral success been appointed, would she be wailing? Why does she think that those she is advocating for are different from the hawks she claims have hijacked her husband’s government?

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Politicians have always being the problem and not the solution in Nigeria. Besides, in a country of 180 million people, Aisha and Muhammadu Buhari cannot expect to know every appointee.

Somehow, Aisha’s stance is more political than altruistic. The difference, perhaps, is that she is conscious of the mass rebellion that looms should her husband fail. For this, I think history would be fair to her.

In time past, we had a first lady who collaborated with a cabal to keep the country running for months without a substantive president. There was another first lady who publicly admitted that her husband failed in his first tenure and therefore deserved to be given a second chance to repeat his failure. Perhaps, Aisha is proving to be different somehow.

Anyway, Aisha is highly welcomed to the wailers club.

Ahmed Oluwasanjo writes from Abuja.

This piece was written by Ahmed Oluwasanjo. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of



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