The Presidency has denied speculations that the recent meetings between Aisha Buhari, the First Lady, with former first ladies had political undertones.
Aliyu Abdullahi, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity (Office of the First Lady), debunked the speculations in an interview on Saturday.
Buhari had invited two of her recent predecessors, Turai Yar’ Adua and Patience Jonathan, to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where they had respective meetings.
There had been increased conversations, particularly on social media, on the nature of Buhari’s meeting at the State House on February 10.
Abdullahi, however, explained that the meetings were held majorly to discuss developmental initiatives.
According to the spokesperson, the First Lady wanted to learn from the experiences of the former occupants of the office so that she could improve on her duties.
He added that Buhari wanted to share the knowledge of the ex-first ladies, particularly with regards to the pet projects initiated by her predecessors and how her own can outlive her stay in the Presidential Villa.
“With Turai Yar’Adua for instance, they discussed gender violence, the plight of the underprivileged and political participation by women and to hear their views on issues when they were in the office.
“Almost all the past first ladies had the same goals of promoting the welfare, well-being and health of children, the poor and women. Each one of them wanted to leave the office better than they met it.
“So, it stands to reason that when you work with other occupants of the office, you stand to benefit from their experience. That was what these meetings were about,” Abdullahi told the Punch.
According to the Presidency, Buhari plans to make a difference by having a “solid structure” to sustain her pet projects beyond her stay in office, like the Aisha Buhari Foundation and the Future Assured Initiative.
“If you look at some of the former first ladies, they just had the pet projects, but they didn’t have a sustained platform.
“The difference is, there is now Aisha Buhari Foundation, then there is the Future Assured Initiative as a vehicle and others on the foundation.
“So, the foundation, which has funding support from partners like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will outlive the founder even if the projects go after the founder has left office.
“The issue of politics doesn’t even come. Politics how?” the First Lady’s spokesperson asked.