APC: Gov. Amaechi, Mrs. Jonathan and the Love of Power

by Odimegwu Onwumere

English poet, essayist, critic, 1793, Anna Barbauld was it who said that
when we carry our eyes back through the long records of our history, we see
wars of plunder, wars of conquest, wars of religion, wars of pride, wars of
succession, wars of idle speculation, wars of unjust interference, and
hardly among them one war of necessary self-defense in any of our essential
or very important interests. William Ewart Gladstone also was quoted as
saying that we look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace
the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.

This Power of Love, which breeds peace, was exactly what was expected of
Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, than the
obverse we have been reading in many appreciated media outfits that were
her conducts in the caricatured politics of Rivers State, since 2010, she
visited Okrika and scolded Governor Chibuike Amaechi, as if he was her
school pupil, because of the issue of waterfront, which Amaechi wanted to
demolish and restructure, but our big madam said no.

The much new in the humiliating menu of the ostensibly activities of Mrs.
Jonathan against Amaechi, was that which appeared with the caption in the
newspapers: “Jonathan’s wife aborts APC leaders’ visit to Rivers.” This
type of thing does not make some of us who hold women in high esteem happy
and peaceful, regarding what Coretta Scott King had told us thus: “I am
convinced that the women of the world, united without any regard for
national or racial dimension, can become a most powerful force for
international peace and brotherhood.” Does this statement about
“international peace and brotherhood” concern Mrs. Jonathan?

Women are life giver and promoter of peace, but the woman who made many
thousands of Governor Amaechi’s supporters, who hurricaned the Port
Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, on 5th November, to cheer up
leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who were visiting the
state, to go home disillusioned, is far from the women said to be “life
giver and promoter of peace”.

The first woman to enter U.S. House of Representative in 1917, but lost her
seat in Congress when she voted against entry in WWI, was Jeanette Rankin,
(1880-1973). As if Rankin had Mrs. Jonathan at heart, she had said: “You
can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.” And, “The work of
educating the world to peace is the woman’s job, because men have a natural
fear of being classed as cowards if they oppose war.” But is Mrs. Jonathan
not voting for wars with the way she is going about the politics of this
country under her husband’s presidency?

In this case, men in the APC leadership opposed the ‘war’, by shifting
their arrival time to the Port Harcourt airport, because Madam Jonathan was
returning to Abuja after the burial of her mother, Mrs. Oba, in Port
Harcourt. We should be ashamed when some of our women want to prove wrong,
Olive Schreiner, a South African writer-feminist, 1911, as she said: “No
tinsel of trumpets and flags will ultimately seduce women into the insanity
of recklessly destroying life, or gild the willful taking of life with any
other name than that of murder, whether it be the slaughter of the million
or of one by one.”

Leo Tolstoy writes in “War and Peace” that “Nothing is so necessary for a
young man as the company of intelligent women.” But are Nigerians sure if
we are not missing one woman among “the company of intelligent women” in

Aside politics and whoever that was perceived to be opposing Mr. President;
in earnest, General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
who were billed to visit the Rivers State from the APC, were not just party
folks, but among Nigerians leaders and stakeholders and they deserve
respect as at when due. So, for Amaechi’s supporters to have been said were
stopped at the airport roundabout by the ‘orders’ of Mrs. Jonathan, was not
only insulting the dudes, but reminds one of what Leo Tolstoy writes in the
book: “The whole world is divided for me into two parts: one is she, and
there is all happiness, hope, light; the other is where she is not, and
there is dejection and darkness…”

Even-as Mrs. Jonathan may be harbouring animosities for Governor Amaechi,
from news reports of his humane behaviour at the burial of the
mother-in-law of President Jonathan, where Amaechi was said to have
traumatized his opponents who had made frenzied efforts to do politics
against Amaechi with the funeral, showed that Amaechi had forgiven whatever
it was that Nigerians thought was between Mrs. Jonathan and him. This is
how a leader should behave and, not be walking with troubles everywhere, as
we have not stopped to experience around “Her Royal Majesty”.

At the interment service of Mrs. Oba held at Okrika National Secondary
School, those present said that apart from Gov. Amaechi being present, he
sang and danced more than others in crowd. Chai! “This attracted
thunderous ovation from surprised members of the congregation,” said a
source. Whereas Mrs. Jonathan’s ‘order’ was latter at the airport causing
what in the eyes of Leo Tolstoy sees as, “We are asleep until we fall in

Amaechi also was reported to have earlier gone to the airport, Omagwa, to
welcome the president to Rivers State for the burial of his mother-in-law
amongst all odds, thereby showcasing Leo Tolstoy’s comment: “Man cannot
possess anything as long as he fears death. But to him who does not fear
it, everything belongs. If there was no suffering, man would not know his
limits, would not know himself.”

Amaechi has shown that he has the understanding as we could see at the
burial, but Madam Jonathan has to listen to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s comment:
“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through
understanding.” Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” advises us that, “We
don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme
self who is eternally at peace.” And, Amaechi is at peace with Mrs.
Jonathan and self!

In “Letters to a Young Poet” Rainer Maria Rilke counsels us to, “Have
patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart…. live in
the question.” Gov. Amaechi has proved Thomas Jefferson right by being
himself in the face of daunting manmade challenges.

Jefferson said: “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another
as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” Gov.
Amaechi has shown to us what is also written in “Warrior Wisdom: Ageless
Wisdom for the Modern Warrior” by Bohdi Sanders.

It reads: “Never respond to an angry person with a fiery comeback, even if
he deserves it… Don’t allow his anger to become your anger.”

Let Mrs. Jonathan not see Presidency as the whole world, but should reason
this that came from Virginia Woolf who hailed from England (1882 – 1941),
and was also a woman like her.

Woolf said: “If you insist upon fighting to protect me, or ‘our’ country,
let it be understood, soberly and rationally between us, that you are
fighting to gratify a sex Instinct which I cannot share; to procure
benefits which I have not shared and probably will not share; but not to
gratify my instincts, or protect either myself or my country. For, the
outside will say, in fact, as a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want

country. As a woman, my country is the whole world…”

Fereshten Gol-Mohammadi, Iran, 1983, directs people like Mrs. Jonathan with
this line: “If war boosts the economy of the industrial nations that own
the war supplies, it smashes the economy of the nations that consume them.”
Does Madam Jonathan know that there are younger ones looking up to her as
their role model? Regrettably, Julinda Abu Nasr, Lebanon, 1980s, believed,
“If a child grows up with the idea of violence, that you get what you can
by force, what kind of world will this be?”

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