The Need for Our “Dame Patience” To Respect Life by Odusote Oluwakayode
After over five weeks of lies and cover up, Nigerians were jostled by the media to the news of thanks giving service to God for the miraculous resurrection of the country’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. Just like Lazarus, our creaky voiced Dame rose from the dead.
The news as heard was not to some Nigerians a surprise, what was a surprise was the style of arrogance adopted to celebrate such breakthrough. To some critical Nigerians, it was just another means of wasting public funds in order to possibly gather emotional affection of support to the daunting political travails of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Going by the blatant lies Nigerians were fed with within the period of her health challenges, how then does the nation come to terms to believe in the testimony that she was actually dead?
As usual our backslided Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, during those periods of Dame’s travails was courageous enough to dismiss her reported illness as a rumor, saying ”there is nothing like that.” The President himself maintained silence and carried on with his official duties as if all was well, thereby lending credibility to the lies and deceit.
The most important thing that is to be noted here is the traditional system of lies that had often emanated from the presidency. It is shameful that the symbol of authority can’t be trusted on the simplest issues relating to governance. These lies are dangerous not only to the presidency but to our social-economic and political development.
When Dame who was expected to be remorseful and apologetic about the lies we were fed with got on the podium, she boastfully said “I know that some people somehow leaked the information that I was dead. They are people that I trust and rely on; to them, I was dead and I would never return to the country alive. Some of them even sold my things off. I won’t say everything here. It is the Lord’s doing that I returned alive. When God says yes, nobody can say no. People are always afraid of operation (surgery) but in my own case, while my travail lasted, I was begging for it (surgery) after the third operation because I was going to the theatre every day. It was God who saw me through. I did eight or nine operations within one month. It was not an easy one. The day I came back, I said God I have nothing to say, I offer myself to you. I will be doing things that will touch the lives of the less privileged”.
From her statement, one would easily deduce the lies of being dead for seven days.
Our governments must understand the importance of ensuring the governed are adequately informed on issues that concern public officials in government and their immediate families. Nigeria is not a private property of any individual; it is a union of over 250 ethnic nationalities. It is understandable that the First Lady is not a public official but her status is worth emulating by all Nigerians, therefore, the need to guide the prestige from taint of negativity.
We must not forget in a hurry that the same first lady arrived to a grand reception after weeks of absence to deny she was ill. She denied the rumors of a terminal illness, cosmetic surgery and tummy tuck.
If we had been fooled to believing her story, the testimonial gathering of some eminent elites to share in her victory over death where she declared “I actually died. I passed out for more than a week. My intestine and tummy were opened. It was God himself in His infinite mercy that said I will return to Nigeria. God woke me up after seven days,” is a clear difference to the former statement of denial.
These are the insults we are subjected to as Nigerians by some custodians of public trust. In the United States of America, the first lady is seen as a role model. Her movements, speeches, style of attire and moral justifications are seen mostly as a make or mar decisions that have relative effect on the president of the United States.
The (unconstitutional) office of the first lady is expected to represent a system of virtues of a woman’s integrity. Her supportive role translates the true meaning of ‘behind a successful man, there has been a woman’. The office is expected to be occupied by a woman of moral discipline, integrity, respect, sincerity and truth.
The office is not expected to be seen as the overall president of all wives in Nigeria. She is expected to be a custodian of credibility and support for a sitting president. The status of the first lady of Nigeria should not be accompanied by the arrogance of political power.
The Dame is not only the culprit of lies and cover up, for over three months Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu state went on overseas treatment without respect to the provisions of the constitution. He came back to arrogantly declare that “I started treatment and the treatment altogether lasted for twelve weeks. Throughout the period of my treatment, I was an outpatient. I was never admitted in any hospital. All my treatments, I took as an outpatient”.
Nigerians are compassionate and a full disclosure of health related issues like these would have elicited nothing more than fervent prayers from Nigerians just like Venezuelans did for President Hugo Chavez.
There must be an understanding that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed with expected trust of accountability. The government can’t be greater than the governed. The governed must be treated with utmost respect of openness so that such governed may find the government trustworthy.
Whenever a Government becomes arrogant to the governed, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish such government through their votes and objective criticism in order to institute a competent government at a due time.
Falsehood and lies are the bedrock of corrupt governments. A government laying its foundation on such principles of deceit and organizing its powers in such form as taking the instrument of authority personal, has no moral justification to lead.
Our governments Federal, States and Local must be Prudent with the staff of office which will indeed give confidence to the governed in making a choice for the continuity of the government.
But when political capacities are occupied by a government, pursuing invariably the personal goals of self-financial growth, political battles and or vendetta, it is the right and duty of the governed to call such government to order. The governed have the right to know the state of affairs of the nation.
It is sad to recall that few days after the first lady’s thanks giving with a promise of living a renewed life committed to humanity, she and the minister of the FCT Bala Muhmammed allegedly sponsored some Nigerian Women on the streets of Abuja to stage a demonstration in support of the minister’s plan to build a N4 billion mission building for the first lady’s pet project.
The women, youths and physically challenged protesters as we read, were all carrying placards supposedly written for them abusing Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka.
What has the Nobel laureate done to warrant illogical insults as to be labeled “Educated illiterate”, “Soyinka: Grammar King without sense”, “Abuja has come to stay “?
These provoking acts are the results of intoxication that must be eschewed in privileged political capacities.
Life is about a journey every individual being embark on. No one is immortal. Our Dame must respect life and give it meaning.
The meaning is not by the acquisition of power or wealth, no matter how small or big we are; like a candle, we should produce light.
Our dame should spread light with her thoughts, words and actions. It’s a dark world anyway but she would be remembered for the light spread by respecting the life that came back after being dead for seven days.
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