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Home / cover / Why we celebrated Aisha Buhari’s birthday in Dubai — Governors wives

Why we celebrated Aisha Buhari’s birthday in Dubai — Governors wives

 

 

Mrs Buhari, Nigeria’s first lady, spends a lot of time in Dubai, sometimes being in the middle-eastern city for several weeks, allegedly on taxpayers funds.

The Nigerian Governors Wives Forum (NGWF) has confirmed that the viral video showing its members celebrating Aisha Buhari’s birthday in Dubai is real.

The forum, however, says though the celebration held in Dubai, it was a coincidence as that was not the main reason its members travelled to the UAE city.

The position of the NGWF was contained in a statement by the wife of the Ekiti State Governor and chairperson of the forum, Bisi Fayemi, on Wednesday.

Mrs Fayemi, who was in the video, stated that the Nigerian First Lady’s birthday coincided with an official trip which some wives of governors were part of.

Many Nigerians have criticized the video that shows Mrs Fayemi holding a cake while leading the other women to present a cake to Mrs Buhari during the latter’s 51st birthday in Dubai.

Mrs Buhari, Nigeria’s first lady, spends a lot of time in Dubai, sometimes being in the middle-eastern city for several weeks, allegedly on taxpayers funds.

Although her office is not recognised by the Nigerian constitution, the federal government allocates funds for the running of the First Lady‘s office including its retinue of aides.

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The governors’ wives also travelled for the trip at a time millions of Nigerians are unable to get petrol for their vehicles and generators, with many spending hours at filling stations.

The fuel situation adds to the worsening economic situation in a country where about half of the population live below the poverty line and millions of people are unemployed.

In their statement Wednesday, the governors’ wives were unapologetic about their trip and the Dubai celebration, saying both were necessary.

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“For the avoidance of doubt and in the interest of the public, the Nigerian Governors Wives were on the entourage of the First Lady of Nigeria who was on an official trip to the UAE,” Mrs Fayemi wrote in the statement.

“The trip coincided with the birthday of HE Aisha Buhari. On the morning of her birthday, which was February 17th, the delegation of Governors’ Wives paid a private visit to present a cake and flowers. After the brief presentation, we proceeded to attend the scheduled meetings for the day.”

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Mrs Fayemi said the governors’ wives were “dismayed to see footage of the visit interpreted to mean Governors’ Wives left Nigeria for the sole purpose of celebrating HE’s birthday.”

Read full statement below:

PRESS STATEMENT
Our attention has been drawn to a social media post shared on the 1st of March 2022 suggesting that some Nigerian Governors’ Wives were in Dubai to surprise the First Lady of Nigeria Dr. Aisha Buhari on the occasion of her birthday on the 17th of February 2022.

For the avoidance of doubt and in the interest of the public, the Nigerian Governors Wives were on the entourage of the First Lady of Nigeria who was on an official trip to the UAE.

The trip included visits to Dubai Expo 2020, and tours of the Dubai e-learning center, Dubai Youth Hub and meetings with foundations and agencies in UAE who are interested in investing in education, health and technology in Africa, with priority given to women and young people.

The trip coincided with the birthday of HE Aisha Buhari. On the morning of her birthday, which was February 17th, the delegation of Governors’ Wives paid a private visit to present a cake and flowers. After the brief presentation, we proceeded to attend the scheduled meetings for the day.

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We were therefore dismayed to see footage of the visit interpreted to mean Governors’ Wives left Nigeria for the sole purpose of celebrating HE’s birthday.

This is not true and we find this assumption scandalous. We are all dedicated to supporting our spouses as well as our First Lady, and we would never be a party to anything that will bring embarrassment to them and ourselves.

Our key learnings from our visit to the various agencies in Dubai and the briefings we received points to the need for Nigeria to scale up investments in education, science and technology and provide more opportunities for young people, who are the key to the future. We will continue to address these issues in our own work as well as advocate for increased commitments in these areas from our leaders.

 

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