President Muhammadu Buhari just validated the suspicion of many about his views on the role of women. While on a visit to Germany, Buhari said, “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.” The President made the comment while standing next to the fierce, no nonsense German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The President made the statement in response to his wife, Aisha Buhari’s claim during a BBC interview that some people have “hijacked” her husband’s government. “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,” Mrs. Buhari said. She also said she may not support her husband’s reelection in 2019 if he doesn’t take responsibility and turn things around.
President Buhari’s comment came few days after the celebration of International Day of the Girl Child, October 11, which is a day designated by the United Nations to increase awareness to gender inequality. The theme for the 2016 International Day of the Girl Child is “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls.” This goes a long way to show that the issue of gender equality has become a global priority and not just a Western phenomenon. Hence, it is disappointing for a leader of any nation to make such derogatory statement about a woman.
The President needs to apologize for the derisive comment about his wife. Women do not only belong to the kitchen, they belong to the working class community, they belong to the political sphere, they belong to the entrepreneurial class.