“Wetin him dey find again? Him dey drag with him pikin mate…Old man wey no get brain, him brain don die pata pata.”
“Anybody That Come And Tell You “Change,” Stone That Person”
“Our people no dey born shildren wey dem no dey fit count
Our men no dey born shildren throway for street. We no dey like the people for that side.” – Dame Patience Jonathan.
If you were not privy to the source of the above statements, you would be forgiven to think I was quoting from a book on illiterate women still grappling with the issue of Nigeria’s unity. The above words were delivered by Nigeria’s First Lady, Patience Jonathan, at various campaign grounds from Cross River State to Kogi. She was on national TV when she made these statements. For the sake of those who don’t understand pidgin and poorly spoken English, the First Lady was taking direct shots at the All Progressives Congress’s presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari. She also reserved ungracious words for northerners when she suggested they mostly just have kids only to abandon them. In her worst display of why she should never ever have been seen near a First Lady let alone be one herself, Patience Jonathan has been on rampage embarrassing the presidency and indeed our country. It is a shameful sight to say the least. The only thing sadder than this is the fact that the authorities have looked on while the First Lady openly told her supporters to stone those who don’t tow the line of returning her husband, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as president.
What have we done? What have northerners done? What was the sin in trusting the Jonathans with power in 2011 and why, despite paying with death to loved ones and displayed family members, did the First Lady believe taking shots at northerners would guarantee the return of her family to the Villa?
Even if a place is reserved for some display of madness in politics, is such a place reserved for the office of the First Lady? Shouldn’t that office and whoever occupies it represent the best of Nigeria’s family values, kindness and decorum? Did we not have First Ladies, even under military governments, that were dignified in speech and in deed? Many will blame her lack of exposure for why she is who she is but that cannot be it, it is one thing to lack respect and be unenlightened, it is another to be unenlightened and to lack respect to boot. Dame Patience Jonathan is the embodiment of a badly educated woman who also doubles as an unenlightened woman who sees no wrong in inciting violence.
We need not look too far to find examples of First Ladies who brought class and elegance to the privileged office. They may have their own faults but few people will fault the elegance and class of the likes of Maryam Babangida and Stella Obasanjo. Looking to use Michelle Obama as an example of who Mrs. Patience Jonathan should emulate may be asking too much.
But if the First Lady does not know what is right and what not to say, especially on national television, does she not have media managers? Are they paid to urge her and her classless disrespectful self on or they are paid to make her look better? Even if they have given up on her getting better, would it be out of place for them to suggest she never appears on live TV? They could at least edit the unwholesome parts of her speech from the whole speech. If per chance the whole speech is unwholesome, would it not be better to make the speech available without its sound? That is, if the First Lady must be on television at all.
One saw that one or two men in the president’s campaign team said they saw nothing wrong in the Patience Jonathan statements. Now, it is one thing to want to earn a living, it is another thing to live life as though living beneath one’s beliefs is a way to earn a living. Or would anyone say stoning those who don’t agree with them tallies with the belief system of any civilized person for that matter? Haba! Should we begin to accord honourary titles to cows just because we are desperate to feed off their meat? Let us call a spade what it is, Madam Patience Jonathan is a disgrace to Nigerian women. Our women have certainly got more class.
Views expressed are solely the author’s
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