Many Nigerians eagerly waited to see President Muhammadu Buhari take the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, as his second wife on Friday.
This probably explained the presence of many worshippers at the mosque; with the hope of witnessing the ‘wedding’.
When Buhari turned up at the jummat prayer at the Presidential Villa Mosque, however, it turned out that the so-called wedding was fake. This effectively put to rest rumours making the rounds that the President would marry the 44-year-old minister on Friday at the Central Mosque, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja at 2pm.
Saturday Punch recalls that since Wednesday, social media had been awash with the rumours of Buhari’s wedding, with several blogs latching on the fake news. Common to all the blogs which reported the rumours was the claim that a source in the Presidency informed them of the purported wedding.
Attached to some of the wedding rumours on Twitter and Facebook was an invitation card which read, “The families of the late Alhaji Buhari Daura and that of late Alhaji Umar Farouk cordially invite…to the wedding Fatiha and ceremony of their children, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and Hajiya Sadiyya Umar Farouk scheduled to take place as follows: Date: Friday, October 11, 2019; time: 2.00 pm; venue: Central Mosque, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria.”
Considering how the card looked bland and the wedding rumour turned false, the invitation card was never designed by either the Dauras or the Farouks.
Even though no such wedding held, it created a lot of buzz on social media, especially on Twitter.
In fact, #TheWedding was the most trended hashtag on Twitter as of Friday evening, followed by #BUSA19. Other hashtags created for the ‘wedding’– #PresidentialWedding, #BUSA2019 and #BuhariWedding – were the 10th, 11th and 20th respectively among the top 20 trending topics of the day.
As the ‘wedding’ hashtags trended, several photos of President Buhari wearing what looked like a groom’s suit showed up. Another showing Ms Farouq in ‘pre-wedding photoshoot’ also went viral.
Nigerians also on social media uploaded their pictures in traditional attire saying they were ready for the ‘presidential wedding.’
One Twitter user wrote a joke out of it, “(Festus) Keyamo will give us the legal backing for the #PresidentialWedding. MURIC (the Muslim Rights Concern) will give us reasons why #TheWedding will help Nigerians. Lai Mohammed (the Minister of Information and Culture) will tell us how it will attract foreign investors. (Vice-President) Yemi Osibanjo will give us religious backing.”
Amid all these, a video purportedly showing the President’s wife, Aisha, allegedly querying why a room in Presidential Villa was locked upon her alleged return from London surfaced on the Internet. “Why would you close the door, what did I do to you? This is the Villa, we have over 200 soldiers guarding us, also 200 policemen. Enough is enough. Let me know when I will leave this place. Enough is enough,” the ‘First Lady’ was quoted to have said angrily.
Aisha has not been in the country for some time since the completion of the Hajj. She reportedly left for Saudi Arabia, where she went in company with her husband, to London at the completion of the religious pilgrimage in August.
The First Lady’s absence at Presidential Villa became pronounced as she did not attend public functions that she ordinarily would have attended.
She was said to have been absent during the mid-August Eid-el-Kabir celebration in Daura, Katsina State, even though his husband was around to welcome world leaders such as the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde.
Meanwhile, the supposed new wife, Farouq, tweeted from New York, the United States on Friday, calling for an end to poverty. “On October 17, join us as we #WalkOutPoverty. The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is commemorated to encourage active participation by all to respect the rights & dignity of people living in poverty. #WalkOutPoverty #EndPoverty #Children @ossap_sdgs,” the minister tweeted via her handle, @Sadiya_farouq.
While also ignoring the rumour, Aisha also on Friday tweeted via her verified handle, @aishambuhari, joining the world in commemorating the International Girl Child Day.
She wrote, “Today, I join millions of girls around the world to celebrate this year’s international day of the girl child. The theme for this year is, ‘GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable.’
“I am happy to note the progress that has been made in the area of activism by girls to protect their gender. I want to state that more needs to be done, especially to address gender-based violence, which seems to be more pronounced recently. All hands must be on deck to achieve this. #GirlChild #GirlForce #GirlChildDay #InternationalDayoftheGirl.”