We have had different kinds of First ladies in Nigeria, but none quite like the current one – our dear Dame Patience Faka Jonathan. In a country currently on the verge of an epoch making event come March 28th, 2015. the polity is experiencing all sorts, with various actors in the mold of protagonists and antagonists. Throw the First Lady into this mix and the plot thickens further. Lately, Mrs Jonathan has been very vocal, taking no prisoners in a bid to ensure her husband’s reelection. On one hand, what man doesn’t pray for a “ride-or-die” wife by his side, a woman who would go through thick and thin with him and staunchly defend him whenever the need arises? But on the other hand, what respectable man (especially when he is the president of the most populous black nation in the world) wouldn’t cringe at the regular tactless utterances that his wife continues to make on international television?
You have to love Nigeria! God has indeed blessed us with everything that the human mind can fathom and even beyond! From vast natural resources to an array of brilliant and smart youths who can decide to use their innate ability to innovate or create a life changing product or simply engage in Advance Fee Fraud aka 419 in order to make ends meet. From the rich, eclectic variations in tribes and tongues to the lying and thieving political class, and as if that is not enough, we are “blessed” with a First lady who is generally perceived as the Comedienne-In-Chief of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria due to a natural ability to provide a good dose of comic relief every now and then. However, it appears that Mrs Jonathan has decided to take things up a notch (perhaps out of a need to be taken more seriously and earn proper recognition from all and sundry in the light of the super charged political atmosphere at the moment) and has therefore sublimely metamorphosed into a rather mild version of “Zelda” in Terrahawks, of the 1980’s British science fiction series fame. Mama Peace has her sword drawn. She isn’t playing games!
Dame Patience Jonathan is not new to controversy. As far back as year 2006 when her husband was the governor of Bayelsa State, she faced money laundering charges. Her constant battles with the governor of her home state Rotimi Amaechi cannot be forgotten anytime soon. To crown it all, she has gone into full blast mode these past few weeks; describing the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as “Brain dead”, discountenancing the entire people from the Northern part of the country as irresponsible lots who bear more children than they can cater for only to end up throwing them on the streets. And finally, in her latest onslaught and most recent verbose attack on the opposition, during the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Women Campaign in Calabar, Cross River State, Mrs Jonathan said “ I am telling you, anyone that comes and tell you change, stone that person…” clearly inciting violence against the APC which has “Change” has its slogan. Don’t you just love Mama
War Peace? In fairness to her, she can be accused of anything but being boring. She certainly keeps things interesting!
On a serious note, it is really sad to see the First Lady of a country like Nigeria, who also doubles as the President of the African First Ladies Mission conduct herself in a manner that even commoners abhor. If it were only the grammatical blunders of Mrs Jonathan that Nigerians had to contend with, we would have grudgingly accepted it as our lot. After all, some argue that that English is not our first language and so the First Lady should be left alone to speak as she can. But, this is an entirely different ball game! How do we handle a meddlesome and cantankerous woman who dabbles into matters that do not concern her? What example is Mrs Jonathan setting for other women as the supposed mother of the nation? It is one of the reasons why some are of the school of thought that the Office of the First Lady should be scrapped, after all it is a creation of the political class and not the law. In case anyone forgot, the Office of the First Lady is unconstitutional.
I believe someone urgently needs to call the First Lady to order. Already, she may be in trouble as the APC Campaign Organisation has lodged a formal complaint against her to the International Criminal Court(ICC) over her “stoning statement.” Patience Jonathan ought to learn from the current travails of the former First Lady of Cote d’ Ivoire, Simone Gbagbo who has just been sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Ivorian Court for her role in the violence that followed the 2010 elections in her country, and could still face up to 20 years to life imprisonment if found guilty at the ICC. As much as the average Nigerian may find the First Lady’s statements far less than amusing, I doubt if many want her behind bars as a result of a flippant remark. Mrs Jonathan should endeavor to emulate the poise and finesse of previous First Ladies like Mrs Maryam Babangida, Justice Fati Abubakar and Mrs Stella Obasanjo who brought respect to the Office of the First Lady and quit embarrassing Nigerians in the international community.