With their husbands embedded in last minute strategy schemes, the wives of the two major presidential candidates, Mrs. Patience Jonathan and Aisha Buhari are moving round the country in mobilisation schemes to bring out the votes
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor and Demola Akinyemi
Ilorin, the town where two of the country’s major cultural streaks, Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba melt into one was the host to two of the country’s major political icons this week.
Aisha Buhari and Patience Jonathan, the wives of the two major presidential candidates, passed through the town leaving behind tell-tale signs of how the two women could carry on as First Lady after Nigeria’s next presidential inauguration.
Remarkably, news of Aisha’s visit to Ilorin on Monday did not catch attention until news of the attack on her convoy by a group of yet unidentified hoodlums. Patience’s visit the following day, however, was not a hidden affair as it was broadcast on nationwide television.
The two women were in Ilorin as they have been going round the country to sensitize the womenfolk ahead of the presidential elections due on March 28.
The style, strategies and sophistry employed by the two women were clearly evident in Ilorin.
Mrs. Buhari was accompanied to the town by her new best friend, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, the wife of the vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Given the punch and power that Patience has brought to the campaign it was not surprising that once she arrived Ilorin last Tuesday that she took on Aisha, her perceived challenger, who in her view is shadowing her movements.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole had intervened last week when the two women took the same day to speak to women at the state owned stadium. Oshiomhole had to cancel shelve Aisha’s engagement despite his claim that the APC made the first booking.
Against the background of the avoided confrontation in Benin, Mrs. Jonathan was quick to spew: “Before I went to Edo State, the APC was there, all to make trouble. I have always been telling them that they like to make trouble. I wanted to go to Edo; they were there. Why? To make trouble.
“I wanted to come to Kwara; they were there. Why? To make trouble. As I was coming today at the airport, they were also coming so that there will be trouble but I told my security people that I am Mama Peace, so let them go in peace. We wives of political leaders should not make trouble. Even if they come to you to make trouble, don’t fall for their trick,” she said in her address to women at the Ilorin Township Stadium.
Charging the crowd, she said: “I don’t kill, I don’t stone people, I preach peace, let them go with their problems because my God has fought my battle. Should someone who has won fight? She asked, and the crowd said no. We don’t need to fight because we have won.”
Giving some touch of spiritual approval of her husband’s pursuit, she said:
“My God that I serve has told me that they will fail. So, don’t be deceived, don’t listen to their lies. Kwara is PDP. They only stole the mandate because the Government House they are occupying today is in the name of PDP. We shall take it over.”
“Everyday they change from one name to another and very soon, they will change to Ebola and then, death will come”.
‘’They are shouting change, when they fail finish, they will change their name. Do not be afraid, we are going to win this election. My God that I serve has told me that we will win this election. The person wey don win, no dey fight, wetin we go take fight do, let them go with their problem”.
“The airport wey dey here, na we PDP wey do am, wetin dem don do, nothing, dem just they shout change, change’’..
Mrs. Jonathan’s mockery of the change of name of the rival parties that formed the opposition APC was itself the issue that brought Mrs. Buhari and her entourage to Ilorin.
The matter of mobilising women and the rural folks to understand the symbol of the party on the ballot paper was at the core of Mrs. Buhari’s message last Monday.
Mrs. Buhari’s education was significant given the fact that Buhari contested the past two presidential elections on two different political platforms and the coming election would still be on another platform.
“It behoves on women political leaders to go out and educate women on party activities and logo bearing in mind that, many APC candidates particularly, the party’s presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has moved from ANPP to CPC and finally to a mega party called APC”.
“Thus, there is dire need to register the name of the party and logo on the minds of our rural women to avoid confusion on the day of the polls since our women are the masses”.
During her visit to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Mrs. Buhari applauded the political chemistry that has worked in Kwara State that has for the first time seen an incumbent governor supported by a godfather get a re-election ticket without bickering.
According to her, Kwara State is lucky to have such a system which ordinarily in some other places would have inspired much political rivalry and internal dissension on account of the friction between an incumbent governor and the political godfather.
While Mrs. Buhari pursues her objective with tact and seeming lack of interest, Mrs. Jonathan is carrying out a bold and aggressive campaign to protect a legacy she has inspired which according to her could be undermined if Buhari is elected.
Despite claims by Muhammadu Buhari himself that he would pursue female gender participation in his government, Mrs. Jonathan was unsparing of him citing his record as military head of state when according to her he, Buhari did not appoint women into the highest ruling organ.