Beauty Book — The Work of Aisha Buhari’s Hands and the Donation Conundrum

Three days to the anniversary of the kidnap of the Chibok girls by boko haram terrorists, The 1st Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Buhari announced she would be launching a beauty therapy instruction book on the the 2nd anniversary of the kidnap and would donate funds raised from the launch to 3 causes: the Bunin Yadi slaughter of boys in thier dorms, Internally Displaced Persons and of course the Chibok matter. On the anniversary she launches The Essentials of Beauty Therapy. “Proceeds of the book… will be dedicated towards charity and bettering the living conditions of families of the embattled girls, parents of the deceased boys and also Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)” (Nigerian newspapers love the word embattled) Mrs Osinbajo is charged with organizing disbursement of what is raised (which we can follow up). The next day Mrs Aisha Buhari visited Borno and joined an FG team who had marked the 2nd anniversary of the Chibok tragedy in the best place for them to observe it, in Chibok with the community and families of the girls. I got all this information from sometimes brusque but mostly fawning reports and more concisely via Aso Rock Villa @asorock

The day before the anniversary on April 13th the Vice President of Nigeria Prof. Yemi Osinbajo spoke at the FG hosted round table on Vulnerable People in Insurgency and other conflicts in Nigeria replete with hashtag #neverforgotten with the diplomatic community, donors, aid agencies, security forces, NGO’s, advocates and activists in attendance. The next day he attended the 1st Lady’s book launch and fundraising for related matters and was then roundly vilified.

Participants at the Roundtable on Vulnerable People In Insurgency & Other Conflicts in Nigeria #NeverForgotten

Now I’ve got the facts out of the way I will visit the outrage from some quarters. Apparently some people are enraged that Mrs Aisha Buhari was insensitive enough to launch a beauty book on the anniversary of the Chibok kidnap. That the book is a beauty book seems to attract an extra dollop of ire because insurgency is a serious matter. The VP’s attendance is also an irksome irresponsible addition. To be fair most of the conversation I have seen is stripped of the full context and information surrounding said events.

  1. I am not clear why a fundraising for a cause via donating the proceeds of the works of one’s hands has to be done on any other day but the anniversary of the tragedy. Which day would be best?
  2. I am also perplexed at why a Beauty Therapy manual written by a trained beautician who has run beauty businesses is deemed frivolous. What should Aisha Buhari have written? A manual on counter terrorism? Trust me the chances of her instructional book actually being being read by a Nigerian who will use the content productively is much higher than anyone reading the dust gathering “worthy” books that are launched by “big men” everyday. I go further to say the so called worthy books would have a higher chance of being struck by lightening than ever being read or their contents used.
  3. She was in Borno the very next day. She joined the FG team there. A woman of her word.
  4. Mrs Aisha Buhari, please don’t fire anyone who gave you this advice and if it was all your idea please do not second guess yourself.

My advice to Mrs Aisha Buhari is this. Take this further, put your book on Konga and Jumia and state what goes to charity for further sales. Beauty is a major employer in Nigeria and I haven’t seen many formal local instruction manuals since Chief Opral Benson’s books. Raising funds and awareness can and should go beyond these big man launches. As has been pointed out to me some of the attendees may even be Governors owing salaries and that is problematic.

But for the mass market honest reviews from beauty bloggers and lifestyle blogs would be necessary. We have many good ones and,, are but a few. Also a few top beauty bloggers doing hands on videos and photos of some of the techniques to promote the book is the way to go.

Mrs Buhari has consistently visited and donated to IDP’s before she became the 1st Lady and after. That she chose to use her work to raise funds for a cause is nothing to deride. I like the idea. We also applaud people who donate proceeds from commemorative concerts, art, poetry, exhibitions, marathons, various sales and performances for causes so being a 1st Lady doesn’t suddenly strip one of agency. And no I do not consider a launch in a hall in State House injudicious use of public funds if at all to fund raise for a matter handled by State agencies, if it is let her refund the money for food eaten during the launch from what was raised. I saw no ostentatious buses of women transported from the usual 6 geopolitical zones milling in Abuja hotel lobbies or t’shirts and asoebi. I do hope she spent her money printing the book or got a publisher to do it gratis.

P.S. I was asked about Patience Jonathan. Hmmmm. During Dame Patience’s reign as 1st Lady I penned an article in her defense over the incessant mockery of her English. Surprised? Yep I did. I must admit I slowed down on the defense when I discovered she was a trained teacher and a University degree holder. However I will say this. If Dame Patience wishes to raise funds for charity by donating the proceeds from a maths book on a day significant to the cause then good for her!

P.P.S. Please call me when any of the direct recipients of the causes complain about Mrs Aisha Buhari’s efforts, donations or visits.

Final serious word. I really pray that the recent videos and reports of different boko haram groups trying to negotiate the ransom of different small groups of Chibok girls is not only genuine but being quietly negotiated as we speak. I feel very badly for the continued capture and though I am happy thousands of women and girls have been rescued from boko haram in Nigeria, Cameroon and other countries the harrowing accounts of former captives show there is a world of work to be done for all rescued. I wish all who work on this cause and those affected continued strength. It hurts.



May 17, 2016 Premium Times — Aisha Buhai donates N55 million to parents of Chibok girls, Buni Yadi boys

Pamela Braide

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