BERLIN – The president of Nigeria placed the German chancellor in an awkward position during his visit to Berlin on Friday by saying that his wife’s place was in the kitchen and not voicing her opinions about politics.
Muhammadu Buhari responded to criticism of his leadership by his wife while answering questions at a press conference beside Angela Merkel.
“I don’t know which party my wife belongs to but she belongs to my kitchen, and my living room and the other room,” Buhari said.
His wife, Aisha Buhari, had elsewhere given an interview in which she was critical of aspects of her husband’s government.
She said that there had been “complaints upon complaints” about how nobody seemed to know people that had been appointed to official positions.
Buhari vowed to clean up corruption and nepotism in government when he was elected last year.
Merkel had praised Nigeria’s efforts in the fight against international terrorism and vowed to intensify bilateral cooperation.
But then the chancellor had to give a somewhat dismissive smile as the Buhari spoke about the role that, in his view, his first lady should play.
Aisha Buhari, the Nigerian leader’s second wife, had actively supported her husband in the last election campaign, but in a recent interview put her continued backing in doubt if he did not change his political course and failed to remodel his government.
Buhari, a retired general, took office in 2015, becoming the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent.