DOUBLE LEAD (INSIDE YELLOW BOX)
In a statement certain to raise eyebrows, President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s wife, Aisha, has promised that â€œhyenas and jackalsâ€ will soon be evicted from the proverbial kingdom headed by her husband.
Mrs. Buhari, who has never shied away from controversy and in a BBC interview last year had alluded to a cabal in the presidency that was influencing her husband, stated this in a Facebook post Monday, in response to a post by the senator representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, who had lamented that prayers for the â€œLion Kingâ€ had waned due to his prolonged absence.
But in her response, which shed more light on the power play at the Presidential Villa, following Buhariâ€™s illness and absence from the country since May 7, his wife said God had answered the prayers of the weaker animals.
Senator Saniâ€™s post had read: â€œPrayer for the absent Lion King has waned; until heâ€™s back then they will fall over each other to be on the front row of the palace temple. Now the hyenas and the jackals are scheming and talking to each other in whispered (tones); still doubting whether the Lion King will be back or not.
â€œNow the Lion King is asleep and no other dare (sic) to confirm if he will wake up or not. Its (sic) the wish of the hyenas that the Lion King never wakes up or come (sic) back so that they can be kings. Its (sic) the prayers of the weak animals that the Lion King comes back to save the kingdom from the Hyenas, the wolves and other predators.â€
But in her response to the senatorâ€™s post, Mrs. Buhari said: â€œGod has answered the prayers of the weaker Animals. The hyenas and the jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom. We strongly believe in the prayers and support of the weaker animals. Long live the weaker animals, long live Nigeria.â€
Her response attracted hundreds of comments from her followers on Facebook, most of them wishing her husband quick recovery.
Mrs. Buhari had returned to the UK last week to see her husband, after an earlier trip last month, following which Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose had claimed that she was not allowed to see the president by the alleged cabal around him.
Upon her return to Nigeria at the time, she had said Buhari was recovering and had expressed his appreciation to Nigerians praying for him.
It is uncertain if her response to Senator Sani was a pointer to the presidentâ€™s impending return to the country, or if it was a sign that he was recovering from his illness.
Buhari left the country 63 days ago for the United Kingdom to get treatment for an undisclosed illness. Unlike his earlier trip this year, when he spent 50 days in the UK, he has neither been seen nor heard from since his departure.