Atiku’s wife, Titi Abubakar makes false claim about the office of Nigeria’s first lady

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TITI Abubakar, one of the wives of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in this year’s election has made a claim about the office of Nigeria’s First Lady.

Titi, while speaking during the party’s campaign rally in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital on Wednesday, 18th of January, 2023 asked people to vote for her husband in the coming election.

According to her, since the adoption of First Lady in Nigeria’s Presidency, no Yoruba woman has had the opportunity to occupy the seat to bear the title.

She added that she would be the first Yoruba First Lady should Atiku win in the 2023 general election.

READ: False claim circulates that Atiku is retiring from politics, congratulates Tinubu

She said in Yoruba language (one of the major Nigerian languages), “Lati’gba ti won ti se presidency ti won ni won se First Lady, omo Yoruba o se iyawo president ri. Mo be yin l’okurin l’obirin, e wa je ki temi se akoko.”

This was translated into English to mean that, “No Yoruba woman has had the opportunity to be a first lady. I beg you, men and women, make me to be the first.”

While there are no constitutional provisions backing the creation of office of the First Lady in Nigeria, the title has gained wide recognition in the country’s political space over the years, with wives of elected presidents and governors given the title to perform ceremonial functions in governance.

CLAIM

No Yoruba woman has bore the title of First Lady in Nigerian Presidency.

THE FINDINGS

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE.

Since 1963, during the administration of the country’s first president, Nnamdi Azikwe till date, Nigeria has had 15 First Ladies in the Presidency.

They include: Flora Azikiwe (1963-1966), Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi (1966-1966), Victoria Gowon (1966-1975), Ajoke Muhammed (1975-1976), Esther Oluremi Obasanjo (1976-1979, Hadiza Shehu Shagari (1979-1983), Safinatu Buhari (1983-1985), and Maryam Babangida (1985-1993).

Others are Margaret Shonekan (1993), Maryam Abacha (1993-1998), Fati Lami Abubakar (1998-1999), Stella Obasanjo (1999-2005), Turai Yar’Adua (2007-2010), Patience Jonathan (2010-2015), and Aisha Muhammadu Buhari (2015 till date). 

In the last 59 years, Nigeria has had at least three First Ladies from the Yoruba ethnic group.

READ ALSO: Five false claims made by Atiku in the last two years

The Yorubas among the past First Ladies include Ajoke Muhammad, wife of the (late) General Muritala Muhammad; Esther Oluremi Obasanjo, wife of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (now ex-wife); and Margaret Shonekan, wife of the (late) Chief Earnest Shonekan.

This shows that 2023 would not be the first time that Nigeria will be having a Yoruba First Lady, contrary to the claim by Atiku’s wife, Titi.

THE VERDICT 

Titi Abubakar’s claim that no Yoruba woman has bore the title of First Lady in Nigerian Presidency is FALSE; findings show that Nigeria has had three First Ladies from the Yoruba ethnic group since 1963 till date.

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