“I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.”- President Muhammadu Buhari
In regards to the short response from the president of our great nation, Nigeria, concerning the claim of her wife to not probably support him for the next presidential election if he will go for the second term, I posit that this is not just a mere humour or comic relief to our unfolding tragic story of recession. But a deep ocean of meanings with disguising sweet tide of words to shift attention. And this could only be properly explored and penetrated through the breaking of its linguistic armouries and semantics helmet.
In the general interpretation of the statement, the overall pseudo picture of the statement is a synoptic evasion of a knowledge or info (the party his wife belongs), then an assertion of a fact (she belongs to the rooms in his house), and finally a lucidly vague closing (The other room). That is, a woman still remains under the auspices of her husband, especially when it comes to the other room.
However, other meanings such as relegation egoism, possession, ignorance, contempt, negligence, authority, priority, division of labour, struggle, romance, love, identification, morality and determination, are also attainable. All the above will be exhumed through the exposition and analysis of its linguistic armouries and semantic gadgets.
In this I mean, the linguistic items such as pronouns, verbs, adverbs, nouns and others.
Firstly, the presence of the 1st person pronoun “I” at the beginning of the statement is a signification of identification. That is, the president is ready to stand by his words anywhere anytime. And that, the statement is identified with him. The signification of this to the statement is that, he is conscious and responsible for the statement.
More so, the possessive pronoun “My” was used and re-used. If you notice, the first “my” came with “Wife”, then other possessions (living room and kitchen). This is a reflection of the influence of priority. A typical Fulani man will never play with his wife.
Also, the article “the” used in the statement is a warning light of attention. This is called “local deviation”. The president should have something in mind for using the article “the” instead of the possessive “My” norm that has been established in the statement. And to my knowledge, ‘the other room’ is the strong room of the house where there is no gender superiority or monopolization of affairs. It is the survival of the fittest. Therefore, struggle is obvious, and the president can’t claim it as his possession.
In addition, the use of “kitchen” and “living room” in the statement is a relegation of women’s roles. Now, the president subtly inputs division of labour and egoism through a single word “belongs”. Even when the wife is with the responsibility of overseeing the affairs of the living room and kitchen, he is work for the family, and she shouldn’t be deceived that the possessions are hers.
Finally, the use of the connective device of “But” to join the two antithetical sentences is suspicious. But the meaning is simply that, the first sentence had a connection with the other parts of the statement. The president is only justifying his ignorance out of his negligence of knowing his wife’s party with what he is quit sure of (she belongs to his house). And obviously, it’s very difficult to read people’s mind no matter the closeness.
There are still many more as each linguistic item is contrastive, but permit me to stop here.
Here, I want to make reference to the word construction used by the president with disguising meaning.
The other room- this is euphemistic on the premise of morality. Note, the president didn’t say other rooms but other room. That’s, there is another significant room in the house that the president intentionally evaded. And since we already have the living room, the kitchen… what other room is important? Definitely, the bedroom.
“Which party my wife belongs to” – the question I will ask here is, why didn’t the president use “the” instead of “which party…” This is intrinsically disdainful. It means the president doesn’t care for the integrity of such party that wants to replace the responsibility of his wife with politics.
In conclusion, the President’s statement sincerely demands inexhaustible exploration and analysis. But I’ve decided to resign from this pleasant course, rest my pen and go back to recess.