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Much Ado About the ‘No Chemistry’ Between President Buhari & His Wife Aishah Buhari




So, we woke up to a press release from the office of Aishah Buhari – with pictures of her visit to London, to see her husband, Mr. President. All was well with the pictures and the usual commentary online, until murmurs arose of the apparent disconnect between Nigeria’s First Couple.

Not long after, Sahara Reporters posted the tweet below:

“No Chemistry”…

I have been reading all the comments and it occurred to me that perhaps… just perhaps, we’re being a little too extra,  with our complaints of ‘no chemistry.’ I am going to play Devil’s Advocate here. So walk with me.

These are older generation Nigerians. Do we really expect them to display affection publicly? I mean, how many of our parents, older than 60 years, do we see holding hands and nuzzling each other? Come on, guys! How much of our different cultural factors allows for this ‘chemistry’ y’all expect to see between the Buharis?

Gist time… Gulma kei nan!

I know we have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat, and it’s not letting us remember that these are Naija parents we’re talking about. See, the average Nigerian parent of President Buhari’s age cannot say the word “sex”; isn’t it a little unfair to expect that they start touching each other romantically for a photo?

Secondly, there’s the issue of religion. Our President and his wife are Muslims. Islam is a religion that encourages and promotes modesty. Show me an apparently devout moslem that goes about holding hands and doing kissey faces? Even Hindis in Indian movies don’t kiss! What are we really expecting from two practicing moslems?

First Lady, Aishah is not President Buhari’s first First Lady. So, this is not his first rodeo, guys. What are we expecting really? This is not Sweet Valley High where they’re gazing into each other’s eyes and all that shebang.

I know we are all coming from the high of the lovely pictures of the Barack and Michelle Obama. Those images made us feel the love oozing from the White House.

I know, y’all wanna see all that mushiness… but Nigeria is NOT that country yet. We don’t have light, good roads, running water… heck, we don’t even have good hospitals. Why, oh why are we majoring on the minor of ‘no chemistry’ between our great president and his wife?

Got any tips for chemistry in pictures with my husband, Michelle?

In any case, pictures are merely a reflection of what the photographer wants us to see. Who says these people are not goofy, fun and exciting within the confines of their bedroom? I mean, look at Mummy Aishah on her daughter’s wedding day.

Playful Mama! Chemistry is NOT in doubt…

Look at Daddy Muhammed at his daughter’s graduation…

There’s a smile lurking in there… somewhere behind that half grimace.

Finally, why is there such a fuss about this absence of chemistry in photos? Just take a look at past photos and you’ll see that nothing seems different. This is how they take their photos. Let’s cut these people a little slack! In fact, let’s cut them a whole yard of slack…

Anyway, as we start this week, let us say the following prayers: May we have enough diesel to power our generators this week. May our telecoms companies not steal our money, and supply us with fast data. Finally, may one random Okada man not break your side mirror as you’re innocently going on your merry way.

Oh, and if your Nigerian parents are in their 60s and 70s, please tell us whether they display affection of the Barack and Michelle type. We want to read and be envious!

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Ify

    January 30, 2017 at 7:23 am

    That pic of Barack and Michelle made me feel things just now. Chai.

  2. Le coco

    January 30, 2017 at 7:38 am

    aToke.. I love you.. bt u still don’t get it.. Yes they r Muslims.. Nd they r older.. bt can we stop pretendin the they are frm the same generation? The man is in his 70’s nd the wife is in her 40’s or something.. its not the same thing..

    Secondly.. I don’t care what religion ppl subscribe to.. when a couple is together.. IT IS OBVIOUS.. Gej nd mama peace were never very lovey dovey . bt there was no way you didn’t knw they were a married couple.. For starters.. He didn’t go for vacation without his wife.. like WTF..

    aviation fuel is scarce yet they want to be disrespecting the nation by taking seperate trips? Really?

    Body language speaks volumes.. my grandparents r in their 70’s nd i promise u.. they don’t behave this way.. This has nothing to do with them being extra mushy in a photo.. but there is no mistake made when u look at their photos..

    Vp is a pastor.. his wife is quite modest.. Nd very quiet.. But still.. they manage to show chemistry..

    Atoke pls stop defending this one abeg

    • A Real Nigerian

      January 30, 2017 at 7:49 am

      Did you even read the article?
      Please, what exactly is “chemistry”?

    • beauty

      January 30, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Chemistry is the sister to physics, lol… Anyway, there seems to be a slight disconnect between the two and it’s not something that just started today or last year or whenever. Maybe like the writer stated, Aisha isn’t his first love. He’s way older than her. Time and tide helps in strengthening the connection between couples. But that doesn’t mean that they both don’t love each other, because they do, they are married to each other! I think Nigerians are just unhappy with all the “promises and fail” situation that we are all in. If this government has done half of all the promises in its manifesto, who would have time for chemistry?

    • nene+

      January 30, 2017 at 8:59 am

      All I can deduce here is Buhari is as detached from his wife on these pictures as he is on Nigerians plight. Waiting for President Buhari to show affection or kindness is like waiting for the cock to grow horns.

  3. Lamlam

    January 30, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Na wa…naija and irrelevant discussion…… a lot of their generation muslims are very conservative and not into public display pda…. Really how many 70s plus Nigerian parents or grand parents do pda

    We need to stop with the foolish discussions

    • skyhigh

      January 30, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      very stupid and jobless topic ..people are hungry and being kidnapped you guys are talking chemistry physics and biology of the president..nonsense

  4. Ottawa Queen

    January 30, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Lol! Nigerians sha. From the alleged death rumours, now to the issue of “No chemistry”. Lol! Make una free the guy small abeg!

  5. Sul

    January 30, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Lool na wa oh! Its fascinating d kinds of things pple pay attention to n swallow panadol fr diz dayz…d recession must nt hv hit hard enof. Wetin concern me concern couple if dey hug in picture or not wen im too busy fighting fr my garri. Lool besides its not by force na, if dey dnt want to hug n hold hands n kiss fr d world to see it is their relationship kwa! Hian peepoo ehn!

    • A Real Nigerian

      January 30, 2017 at 8:07 am

      That’s what you get with Nigerians.
      No matter the levels of hunger, poverty and decay in all sectors, they still find time for pettiness.

    • Fatima

      January 30, 2017 at 9:11 am

      As in…. I can’t even shout for Nigerians. Always wanting to pay attention to the least relevant issues on ground.

  6. Ese

    January 30, 2017 at 8:10 am

    If there’s no chemistry, at least there’s physics. Let’s cut them some slack! Secondly, these people are generations apart, more like papa and pikin.. I’m quite sure if they had shown chemistry, we would still complain like say on top all these recession?
    Who chemistry help sef? Abeg he should do and come back

  7. Candy

    January 30, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Really! But we are quick to criticize Trump and his wife,Melanie! Are they from this same generation? Nonsense!

  8. Asa

    January 30, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Seriously it doesn’t have a anything to do with religious beliefs. Most Africa men are not romantic period, even to hold their wives waist or hip in the public is a war and when they mange to do so, is like something is biting their hands lol.

  9. IamChemmieh

    January 30, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Wat’s all this abou chemistry or no chemistry… Nigerians! We can like to argue on irrelevances oh! Is it your chemistry?

  10. Moyo

    January 30, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I don’t know what Chemistry these people are looking for, Mummy and Daddy Buhari have demonstrated biology by having 5 kids together. Who Chemistry epp?. If you see an African man holding his wife in public, he needs something from her. Lol

    • Naemia

      January 30, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Remember that he owns the keys to the other room.
      Some old generation couples only touch when the man feels like it. Otherwise, it’s like two strangers sharing a bedroom, but a family sharing a home. For someone as young as us to go through heat/cold chemistry, it would make you feel like an object or worse, a prostitute.

  11. amaka

    January 30, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with those pictures, they are close enough together… what are u waiting for? A kiss? They look just fine to me….

  12. Bey

    January 30, 2017 at 10:42 am

    People are silly, pls what is my business in Buhari and his wife’s chemistry.
    People are hungry, dollar is N500.
    who chemistry epp ?

  13. Dr. N

    January 30, 2017 at 10:55 am

    We dont need Chemistry, we need Economics… to revamp our health sector, education, power etc

  14. Frida

    January 30, 2017 at 11:35 am

    While I agree that African parents are not huge on PDA, my parents have been married for over 35yrs and when thet take pics, my dad’s arm is almost always around his wife’s shoulders.
    Everyone is different though.

  15. so they are anti-“Falz and Simi”……….dryMonday

  16. molarah

    January 30, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    “I know, y’all wanna see all that mushiness… but Nigeria is NOT that country yet. We don’t have light, good roads, running water… heck, we don’t even have good hospitals. Why, oh why are we majoring on the minor of ‘no chemistry’ between our great president and his wife?”

    Recession is truly just a word, and that’s why the average Nigerian still has the energy to be looking for ‘chemistry’ in the First Couple. This is why we are not progressing as a country: the energy we are supposed to be using to work on our issues is being expended on “busy-body” initiatives as these… That quote up there is all that needs to be said.

  17. Bubu

    January 30, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Ahn ahn is that why u now wrote a whole epistle to explain Madam Atoke its not that serious. Wetin concern us with their Chemistry, he should come back and do the job.

  18. Irritated

    February 1, 2017 at 1:06 am

    What’s the point of this post?
    All the problems in this country and we’re devoting this much time on this nonsense.
    Who gives a shit if they have chemistry or physics?
    We leave serious issues all the time to chase after petty nonsense. Abeg.

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