Five years after then candidate Muhammadu Buhari said there would be no office of the first lady for his wife, Aisha, Mrs Buhari, on Thursday, announced her decision to be addressed as First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Since Mr Buhari’s first term inauguration as president, the presidency has referred to Mrs Buhari’s office has ‘office of the wife of the president.’
Mrs Buhari, however, said her new title would take effect immediately. She said this would also resolve the issue of the title of wives of governors.
Mrs Buhari disclosed her new official title at the presentation of awards to the former and current wives of governors of the 36 states.
The event held at Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“When my husband was elected newly I personally chose to be called the wife of the President.
“But, I realised that it causes confusion from the state as to whether the wives of state governors are to be addressed as the first ladies or wives of the governors.
“So, forgive me for confusing you from the beginning, but now I choose to be called the first lady,” she said.
Mrs Buhari’s announcement is a departure from her husband’s promise while contesting in 2014 that he would not have an office of the first lady.
Buhari said so in an interview with Weekly Trust in December 2014. Then candidate Buhari said such office is not provided for in the constitution and the Ministry for Women Affairs should be allowed to play its role unhindered.
Aisha Buhari then also pledged to be addressed as wife of the president.
The nomenclature notwithstanding, perks of Mrs Buhari’s office are similar to those of previous first ladies, according to a report by ICIR.
However, even the nomenclature is now expected to change.