The office of the First Lady in Nigeria was made popular by the late Maryam Babangida when she made it a quasi-rival to that of her husband. Through her ‘Better Life for Rural Women’, she emerged as a celebrity of sorts. The trend was such a hit that the wives of the military governors followed suit and it became an entrenched norm. Maryam Babangida made it popular through her ‘Family Support Programme’. The late Stella Obsanjo came up with her ‘Child Care Trust’. Although it is not in the constitution, it has become part and parcel of our present democracy.
Dame Patience Jonathan comes across as a swashbuckling, bull in a China shop with her overbearing mien. Her command of the English language makes her a classic study in hilarity. Some of the laughable gaffes alledgedly credited to her are: My husband and Sambo is a good people, The President was once a child, the senators were once a children, My fellow widows,A good mother takes care of his children, Yes we are all happy for the effort, it is not easy to carry second in an international competition like this, The bombers who born them? They were once a children now a adult now they are bombing women and children making some children a widow, Thank God the doctors and nurses are responding to treatment, I would rather kill myself instead of committing suicide.
Her appointment as a Permanent Secretary by Governor Seriake Dickson was rather ludicrous. How did she get into the civil service with her poor command of the lingua franca of not only Nigeria but of the world? Why the ‘appointment’ come when she was already comfortably ensconced in the Aso rock villa? Her resignation to tackle Dickson squarely was also critical food for thought for discerning political watchers.
Her domineering nature came to public fore when she was the unseen hand behind the endorsement of Nyesom Wike who wants to govern her native Rivers state. At a public function in Rivers state when Governor Rotimi Amaechi was still in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), she snatched the microphone from him and this was the remote cause of the present crisis that saw the Ikwerre born politician seek refuge in the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC).
At a presidential women rally of the People Democratic Party in Lokoja, alleged that Muhammadu Buhari was brain dead. She also called him a crawling baby at over 70 that has nothing to offer the nation. She also repeated this same opinion at the Ibrahim Babangida Square in Makurdi, the Benue state capital. The First Lady also opined in Calabar at a rally that her supporters should vote for her husband and not Buhari. ‘He is an old man. People when they become old may not reason well and their brain may even be dead.’
It is sad that Femi Fani-Kayode, the spokesman of the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organization had this to say in support of the garrulous dame. ‘The first lady has spoken in a courageous and forthright manner and most important of all, she has spoken the bitter truth. Instead of crying like spoilt little brats and complaining, the APC and the Buhari campaign organization should live with that bitter truth and leave her alone.’
The invective spewed by the First Lady is nothing short of hate speech which her husband signed to alongside Buhari. I doubt if she is a good student of history. Africa’s greatest statesman, Madiba Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa after spending more than three decades behind bars at 76. There was a global clamour for his second term bid at 81 before he graciously turned it down. Ronald Reagan became the President of the United States of America at over 70 after being a successful two-term governor of California. History records him as one of the best ever in Uncle Sam. Winston Churchill got a second term as British Prime Minister at well over 70. Can Goodluck Jonathan who is still in his fifties match the records of these world greats?
The caustic tongue of Patience Jonathan needs to be tamed as she is now an embarrassment to the entire nation. The office of the First Lady like the civil servant is supposed to have a slight toga of anonymity – be seen but not heard. It is sad that she has greatly demeaned the office by allowing herself to be openly dragged into partisan politics.
The whole world watch Jonathan and Buhari sign a peace accord. Why didn’t he openly rebuke his wife as that statement can lead to unprecedented violence? Why did Femi Fani-Kayode, the politician in chameleon skin openly back such a statement loaded with invectives?
It is high time Patience Jonathan be reminded that her office does not enjoy immunity from prosecution. She has no right to hurl stones at the opposition at her whim and caprice. A day in the office of the Nigerian Police Force should roughly shake her up and shut her up for good. Decent Nigerians are sick and tired of her nauseating antics.