Yes; that was how I first saw the headline too late Thursday, 23 October, 2014. Another headline screamed at me, “Wife of President Jonathan Resigns.” Well, that almost ruined my evening and I had moderate heart palpitations. I mean, of all the news you don’t want to hear, that was right up there. Mrs Patience Jonathan resigned?
It was only after I had gone through a few lines of the ‘breaking news’ that I realised Mrs. Jonathan merely resigned her job as a Permanent Secretary in the much discomfited State of Bayelsa.
For those who might not be aware, since the summer of 2012, Mrs. Jonathan has doubled as a Permanent Secretary (of Education, would you believe!) down in Bayelsa. It is one of those things that only happens in Nigeria, so no real need to try and understand it now. Anyway, apparently, the lady’s had enough of whatever it was she was doing – or not doing – and has packed that gig in. Presumably, she wants to concentrate her considerable energies on other things. Fair enough.
I don’t blame Mrs. Jonathan. I’d have done the same thing if I were in her shoes; what with Valentine Day 2015 fast approaching. That day, the Jonathans will be sharing more than a large box of chocolate cake. The President hasn’t put together a campaign committee yet, not to talk of a proper campaign team. Though the signs suggest that the All Progressives Congress is getting ready to blow the presidential contest, nevertheless, in Nigeria, you do not take chances; you do not take anything for granted. So I can understand entirely why Mrs. Jonathan would shift her attention away from Bayelsa’s Ministry of Education.
Furthermore, there’s the little matter of the upcoming governorship tussles in Rivers and Bayelsa States. I’m pretty sure Mrs. Jonathan would not want another Chibuike Amaechi in either of those States for a while as she seeks to consolidate her godmama-hood for the greater good.
Moreover, from a distance, Mrs Jonathan doesn’t strike me as one to willingly give up a largesse. So perhaps it is time for Governor Seriake Dickson to start to worry. All very interesting. We continue to ‘watch this space.’
But I have to admit my relief when I realised that Mrs. Jonathan had not resigned her post as First and Second Lady (seriously, when was the last time you heard of Hadjia Mrs. Sambo?)
In those roles, Mrs. Jonathan has provided all of us invaluable social and psychological service. This is not just about entertainment value. It is more than that. It is not for nothing that Nigerians were scored the happiest people on earth. Mrs Jonathan’s contribution in this respect has been significant and continues to be greatly appreciated. Her unique style and often times intentional witticism does help a lot. Nigeria is not an easy terrain. Look at what the Super Eagles and brother Keshi has done to us. There is NEPA, tipsy policemen, 419ers and women wearing biker shorts as panties just about everywhere you look. I tell you, it’s not easy at all. So it is good to laugh every now and again to keep hope alive and to ensure one’s sanity. Our stand-up comedians seem to have had it and are beginning to recycle the same jokes. Also, regrettably, our pastors seem to have put divine entertainment on hold for the pursuit of other gods like private jets, yachts, etc, etc. However, Mrs. Jonathan is still going strong and she keeps it fresh. You have to appreciate that. In fact, the lady spoils us. What more can a people ask for?
You can see why I was petrified when I first clapped eyes on those frightful headlines. So I am very glad that Mrs Jonathan is still our First Lady. Insha Allah, she will continue to so be for a very long time yet.
And for the records, it is not true that Mrs. Jonathan is being lined up as a possible Permanent Secretary at the Federal level having garnered much expertise and valuable experience at the State level, and having straightened out education in Bayelsa State.
It only remains for our newspaper and online Editors to please watch how they present news to us. Some of those headlines are not good for my heart…
– IMAGE: ITU Pictures on Flickr