The crave for power by wives of leaders is not new. Historically, as is being seen in Inna and Yawuro, wives of emperors, kings, dictators and political leaders have shown interest in sharing if not usurping the powers of their husbands. While many have succeeded in doing so, others failed. And while many who have succeeded used their powers in consolidating the reigns of their husbands, many used it in destroying the governments so hardly established by their husbands.
In Nigeria, Maryam Babangida of blessed memory is perhaps one strong first Lady we can easily remember. She is one of the most powerful persons behind the throne who influenced many of the decisions of her husband. It was said that she was his “regulator.” And in fairness to her, most accounts indicated that she positively used the powers at he disposal.
Before her, Major-General Buhari’s late wife was not in the public. And after her, during Shonekan’s 82 days short-lived Interim National Government, no light beamed on his wife. Then came Maryam Abacha who didn’t show any penchant for power. Justice Fati Lami Abubakar of General Abdulsalmi Abubakar and Stella Obasanjo of Olusegun Mathew Aremu Obasanjo were almost like her.
Turai Yaradua demanded for power. And though Mallam Umaru of blessed memory was rigid, she got it because of his illness. Even at that however, she could not get it as she wanted it. The demise of Mallam Umaru paved way for Jonathan Goodluck Ebele who came in with Patience also known as Mama-Peace (kwantiniyu). She was powerful. She got it as she wanted it. And by and large, she used the power to destroy the power her husband rode to with good luck.
In 2015 entered Inna. Her penchance for power is better imagined. And because of the rigidity of her husband, it became very clear that unless she fights for it, she would not get it. She is still fighting for it because one Mallam Muhammadu who knows so much about the dynamics and exigencies of power is alleged to be one of the clogs in the wheel that can take her to uhuru.
Unlike Inna, Yawuro in one of the states north of the Niger is having a field day. She’s more than the power behind the throne. She is the power itself. She possesses it. She gives and denies it. She is the Alpha and Omega of the state. And what is very obvious is that some of the politicians on the same platform with her husband have understood the rules of the game. And they have submitted to her pledging their unalloyed loyalty.
But as her reigns lasts, it is not yet clear as to the use Yawuro will put to her powers. She’s already endorsing candidates ahead of the 2023 elections. Recently, one of the state’s popular Hausa radio political programs, “Kowace Gauta,” reported that there is pandemonium within the power corridors in the state simply because it is being insinuated that Yawuro might have endorsed one “political warrior” as the party’s standard bearer in 2023’s governorship election.
Mukhtar Jarmajo,Misau, Bauchi state