If you think Donald Trump has problems, consider those of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Elected last year as a no-nonsense candidate to clean up Africa's biggest democracy, his popularity has fallen amid various spiraling crises — a faltering economy, a deadly insurgency, a devastating famine. And now, even his wife is skeptical.
In an interview with the BBC's Hausa language service, Nigerian first lady Aisha Buhari suggested that she might not back her husband's potential reelection in 2019 if he didn't shake up his government. Without naming names, she said a whole host of people in senior ministerial posts didn't share her husband's values or the vision of the ruling party. The first lady's admission reinforces accusations made by critics that Buhari's government has been hijacked by a cabal operating behind the scenes.
“The president does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed and I don't know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years,” she said. “Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position.”
According to the BBC, some in Nigeria speculate that the first lady went this route after her own chosen figures did not win the posts they desired in government. Whatever the case, it deepens the gloom around Buhari's presidency, which he won in part on a platform that promised an end to nepotism and cronyism in the country.
Then came Buhari's response. Speaking to reporters while on a trip to Germany, the Nigerian president offered up a tasteless jibe: “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” he said.
His remarks were made in front of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who according to reports, glared and then, briefly, laughed.