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Monday, 16 November 2015

Nigeria's Muslim President Refuses To Shake Hands With His Female Ministers

Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari's refusal to shake the hands of the female members of his cabinet after they took their oath of office has drawn flak from a Nigerian PR expert. President Buhari unveiled his cabinet nearly six months after he was sworn in as president in May.
President Buhari is being quite puerile in acting this way. If he is keeping to the tenets of islam, and projecting his personal beliefs while carrying out his duties as Nigeria's president, then he is indeed senile as his some of his most vociferous detractors have oft described him. His wife visited a prominent priest just a week before president Buhari's latest indiscretion; and I am very sure she shook hands with her host, something in direct opposition to what their religion teaches and which can have dire consequences.
President Buhari has made several trips abroad since he came into power, and there has been no report of him refusing to shake the hands of the women he met in the countries he has so far visited. Would he, for instance, refuse to shake hands with Hilary Clinton if he met her today? Of course not! Why then should he refuse shake hands with his own fellow citizens, just because they are women? These are women whom he trusted enough to include as key members of his government.
Mr President, I believe most Nigerians who voted for you did so, not because you have the answers to Nigeria's mind-boggling problems, or because of the promises you made, but because you were a much better option than Goodluck Jonathan, your main opponent and the incumbent then. You were a candidate in the previous three general elections, but you lost mainly because you were seen as a fanatic muslim, even though you chose a christian to be your running mate each time. What you are doing right now is telling Nigerians that they were right not to have elected you then, and that they may have made a serious error of judgement in giving you the mandate you are now enjoying.
Nigerians may have a very short memory, but we are like elephants when it comes to religion; we never forget, and president Buhari may have started digging his grave with this 'infraction'. A few more similar slip ups, and his detractors will have all they need to seriously dent his re-election chances.