8 LESSONS FROM “THE OTHER ROOM”
Published Oct 19, 2016
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“The Other Room” never had so much meaning until last week when Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, referred to it as one of the “rooms” to which his wife belonged. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is the drill. The wife of His Excellency, Aisha Buhari expressed how dissatisfied she was with her husband’s government in an interview with the BBC. “The way things are going I am not happy,” she said. She then insinuated that she might not support her husband if he decides to run for re-election in 2019.
Mr Buhari was then asked in an interview with the Associated Press what he thought about his wife’s opinion and after letting out a short laugh, he said, “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.”
And that’s where “the other room” came from.
Ironically, he said this by a strong woman who belonged to much more than “the other room,” German president, Angela Merkel and she responded by giving him the side glare. If I were by him I would probably do same.
I don’t know exactly what “the other room” refers to but here are some things we can draw from this whole dancing dirty in the market place display by Mr president and his wife.
1. Words spoken can never be taken back, chewed, swallowed and forgotten. What Mr and Mrs president said in the spur of the moment has repercussions but they can’t take it back. Taste your words before you spit them out.
2. Some things are just not for the public ear. What Mrs Buhari said about the government cabinet made up of people who don’t know or uphold the ruling party’s values sounds like a genuine concern. However, this is not something to be said in front of a microphone. Worse still in an interview with the BBC.
3. BUT her saying this to the press might actually indicate a bigger problem. Madame is probably (or obviously?) voiceless to her husband so her frustration led her to tell the whole world her concerns. When a man doesn’t listen to his wife, he pushes her to talk to the wrong audience. Don’t make your wife tell others what she should be telling you face to face.
4. In this day and age when women are leading countries and feminism is on the rise it is downright uncanny to reiterate the age-old statement that says a woman’s place is in the kitchen.
5. Matters of “the other room” are hard to address directly even for a man like Buhari who has probably been there severally. This applies if “the other room” actually refers to the bedroom.
6. Favouritism and control in government is real. How come Mr president doesn’t know the people he is appointing, according to his wife? Is it still about giving positions to human beings as though they are rewards and not because they are hardworking and have the government at heart?
7. Behind some African leaders is the shadow of a woman. Not a full woman. A woman who has been limited to the kitchen, the living room and the other room is like a caged bird. How can she fly? How can she live fully? How can she even fully support her husband?
8. You can’t just keep a woman with her own brain under lock and key. She has a mind and a strong voice. If you don’t listen to it, one day it shall be amplified in places you don’t like. Even a woman who is not loud-mouthed like Mrs Buhari can’t be shut down.
Dancing dirty in the market place could happen to anybody. Words spoken can never be retrieved. That’s the power of the tongue. Social media will capture it and it will be all over before you know it. Chew your words before spitting them out.
What are your thoughts on “the other room”?