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Thursday, 24 October 2013


General Buhari’s first wife was the late Hajiya Safinatu (nee Yusuf) Buhari. He courted her when she was fourteen and married her at the age of eighteen. A very shy and conservative Muslim woman, she was not too visible on the social radar. They married in 1971 and the marriage was blessed with four children, all girls (Zulaiha Magajiya (the first daughter, and she was named after Buhari’s mother) Fatima, Hadizatu Nana, and Safinatu Lami). Buhari was so focused on salvaging Nigeria that he preferred to remain single throughout the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) and it was not until the war ended that he got married to his sweetheart, Safinatu. Although he was so passionate about his job that he was said to have being ‘married to the Army’, he always called his wife on the phone on a regular basis. As the First Lady of Nigeria, Hajiya Safinatu was not in the spotlight. Actually, she avoided the limelight for religious and cultural reasons, and coupled with the fact that her husband led a life free of ostentation, Nigerians do not know much about her.

After Buhari was released from jail, he divorced Safinatu for reportedly receiving financial assistance from IBB while he was in prison. Later in December 1989, he got married to Hajiya Aisha Halilu, a Fulani lady from Adamawa State. Hajiya Safinatu later died in February 2006 from the complications of diabetes. The Hajiya Safinatu Buhari Foundation (HSB) was created by her late daughter, Zulaiha, in her honour. The foundation caters for destitutes suffering from diabetes (now, that’s a noble idea).

Now you know!

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