The Nigerian social media exploded with reactions on Thursday after President Muhammadu Buhari referred to the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, as “President Michelle” of “West Germany”.
Speaking on Channels TV after the meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Commission presidents yesterday, President Buhari referred to “the G7 meeting in West Germany” and“consultations with President Michelle”.
The problem is that West Germany no longer exists.
At the onset of the Cold War, Germany was divided among the Western and Eastern blocs. Germany was de facto divided into two countries and two special territories, the Saarland and divided Berlin.
During this period NATO-aligned West Germany and Warsaw Pact-aligned East Germany were divided by the inner German border. After 1961, West Berlin was physically separated from East Berlin as well as from East Germany by the Berlin Wall.
This situation ended when East Germany was dissolved and its five states joined the ten states of the Federal Republic of Germany along with the reunified city-state of Berlin. With the reunification of West and East Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, with sixteen states, became known as “Germany”.
Buhari’s gaffe triggered reactions on the social media with many expressing disappointment at the President’s utterance.