Nigerian first lady Aisha Buhari’s new pictures are fuelling pregnancy rumour across the country, with Nigerians wondering if she is actually expecting a baby.
In one of the photos, Mrs Buhari, alongside her husband, President Muhamadu Buhari, was surrounded by security officials, with one of them carrying her handbags.
In a yellow lace kaftan and a black shawl draped over what appeared like a baby bump, 50-year-old Mrs Buhari tenderly placed her right hand on it.
Another image showed the first couple seated in a plane. A zoom-in on Mrs Buhari shows a full face like that of a pregnant woman, different from her usual robust youthful visage.
A third picture showed the couple on the plane’s stairs, with an apparent baby bump as the first lady gently stepped down the flight of stairs.
“Is Aisha Buhari pregnant or what is in her stomach,” a curious Twitter user @Promise, said.
Another Twitter user, @Solowizzy also commented on the photos, stating, “Nigerians, what do you think about this pictures? Aisha Buhari is obviously pregnant.”
In a hilarious tweet, @Alamin97296003 congratulated 79-year-old Mr Buhari for his “hard work.”
If pregnant, Mrs Buhari, already a grandmother, will be the first president’s wife known to be pregnant while her husband is in power and will likely be the first to give birth in the Presidential Villa.
It is also expected that Mr Buhari’s supporters will that as a political point that the incumbent president is virile despite being assailed by ill health over the years since assuming power in 2015.
The photos were taken following the first couple’s arrival from Turkey.
Mrs Buhari’s spokesperson, Suleiman Haruna, did not respond when The Gazette contacted him for comments regarding the pregnancy rumour surrounding the first lady’s latest pictures.
This month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie announced the birth of a baby girl at a London hospital.
The baby is the couple’s second child together, after their son Wilfred was born in April 2020, though Mr Johnson has four children with his ex-wife Marina Wheeler and another child, born in 2009, due to an affair with art consultant Helen Macintyre.
In February and March, The Gazette reported the first lady’s disappearance from the public for six months.
Before her daughter’s wedding in September 2020, the first lady of Africa’s most populous nation, according to media reports, had been out of the country for a couple of months. There were claims she had relocated to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Some have linked her continued disappearance from the public, especially accompanying her husband, Mr Buhari, to Daura, to domestic squabbles in the Presidential Villa.
Since 2016, it became public that Mrs Buhari was not impressed by how her husband was running the country’s affairs. In an interview with the BBC’s Hausa language service, she claimed Mr Buhari’s regime had been hijacked.
According to the February report, she visited Daura with Mr Buhari on March 9, 2019, during the presidential election.
“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 had claimed.
However, her husband did not take that lying down as he fired a salvo from Germany in the presence of 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,” Mr Buhari said. The comments drew uproar on social media, with the Nigerian leader sustaining a barrage of public ridicule for several months.
Mrs Buhari had further pointed out in the interview: “A lot of people have been coming … to tell him that things are not going the way they should,” she said. “If it continues like this, I’m not going to be part of any (re-election) movement again.”
She was, however, back on the campaign train for Mr Buhari’s re-election. Nevertheless, since that public outburst, the first lady has had to fight various “battles” in the Presidential Villa.
Though the first lady’s office is not provided for in the Nigerian Constitution, the wife of the country’s president is allowed to perform ceremonial functions on behalf of the government. In reality, though, a first lady has the president’s ears even on national issues. In the case of the Buharis, there appears to be no love lost.
In 2019, there were widespread reports that Mr Buhari was to wed (October 11, 2019) Sadiya Farouq, the current Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Back in the country after two months in the United Kingdom, the first lady told BBC Hausa, “The person that promised her marriage didn’t know it wasn’t going to happen. She didn’t deny the marriage until the day passed.”
Mrs Farouq later married Sadique Abubakar, Nigeria’s immediate past chief of air staff.