September 1, 2021
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Penultimate Friday, Bichi Local Government Area and in fact Kano State stood still as the crème de la crème of the society converged there for the wedding fatiha of President Muhammadu Buhari’s son, Yusuf and a Bichi princess, Zahra Bayero, daughter of the Emir of Bichi, Nasiru Ado Bayero.

President Buhari led his guests, an assemblage of Nigeria’s political elite to the event.

They included Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Goodluck Jonathan, Buhari’s main challenger in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, governors, leadership and members of the National Assembly, ministers, other political appointees, traditional rulers and businessmen.

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Fleets of private jets landed and parked on the runway of the Aminu Kano International Airport as the occupants drove state-of-the-art vehicles to attend the wedding fatiha which was held at the Bichi Central Mosque.

The souvenirs included customised iPhone 12 Pro Max, the latest brand of iPhone with a current market value of N589,000, Apple iPad at the cost of N645,000 among many others. Different menus were equally on display.

The pre-wedding festivities included a special polo tournament and bridal shower where the bride’s jewelled gown turned heads.

Yusuf Buhari and wife Zahra
Yusuf Buhari and wife Zahra

While we agree that it is a prerogative of parents to give their children the kind of wedding they desire, that is, however, not the case with the president, especially the current president, who is generally known for having an austere nature.

One of the attributes of President Buhari that endeared him to Nigerians pre-election in 2015 was his simplicity and the fact that he was not given to waste.

That is why the scenes and pictures from Bichi were shocking and disappointing.

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It was a show of affluence indeed, from the way in which the guests turned out, the kind of food on display, if the pictures on social media are anything to go by, to the souvenirs shared at the wedding.

The whole event cut a picture of opulence. That in itself is not okay in a country that is the poverty capital of the world. In fact, the act is in bad taste, especially at this point, where many are still battling with losses suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many Nigerians can barely boast of three square meals and even those who do, the quality is better imagined. Millions of families are also grappling with hospital bills or school fees. It is worthy of note that this event took place in rural Kano, in northern Nigeria, which is the poorest part of the country.

And apart from dealing with the general poverty, citizens are battling insecurity. In fact, at the time the wedding took place, children kidnapped from a school in Tegina, Niger State, were still in captivity just as the Bethel students kidnapped in Kaduna.

The mood in the country was therefore somber, so hosting that kind of event at that point appeared insensitive. The president could have held a less glamorous wedding, like the one he had last year when he gave out his daughter in a quiet and less ostentatious manner.

The arguments that most of the gifts and activities for the day were sponsored by well-wishers should not even come up at all as the president should not even be accepting such considering his position.

We cannot fail to mention the case of governors, most of whom attended the wedding in private jets even while owing workers’ salaries.

The wedding of a political leader should not be treated as a state function, where state resources could be used for logistics. That should stop going forward.

We may think that the wedding has come and gone but it engraved in the minds of many the deep divide in the country between the rich and the poor. While it is true that people come from different backgrounds, where the majority are poor, it is better not to throw that wealth around or in their faces.

Another danger in this kind of show is that some persons may want to do whatever is possible to become wealthy and sometimes those things could be illegal. Our leaders must be sensitive and cautious in the way they carry out certain activities not to send the wrong message or cause anger in the land.

This article was originally published as an editorial of Daily Trust under the heading “The Ostentatious Yusuf Buhari’s Wedding“.

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