Gimba Kakanda: Why you shouldn’t mock Patience Jonathan’s speech impediment

by Gimba Kakanda


“They are looking for fight, they are looking for war… That is why they went and take expired drugs.”

As if the campaign trails that have had the handlers of the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan furiously against the emergence of retired General Muhammadu Buhari as the leading opposition candidate were not exciting enough as comedy shows, we’re being introduced to more hilarious campaign as the wives of the two leading presidential candidates go round the country rallying support for their husbands.

While Mrs. Buhari’s style of identification with the masses, like assisting roadside Akara and Puff-puff vendors to fry, considered condescending, was an unoriginal comedy, the lady she’s seeking to succeed is already the winner in the comedy category of their aspiration. Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan is an incomparable clown, only that she’s exhibiting this skill at the wrong and in the wrong way.

During her most recent performance in Port Harcourt, amusing a crowd of women that her husband would marry them if they got pregnant, in her portrayal of the President as gender-sensitive and pro-women welfare, she dismissed Buhari as “expired drug” and the husband “a lion!” But that was nothing compared to her earlier description of the 72 year-old General as “brain-dead”!  In Benin, she said, “Everybody is staying there (the Seat of Power) for eight years. Now it’s our turn. We must complete our eight years. It is a constitution of this country. We will complete our two tenure and hand over.” Not done with this absurd logic, she added:  “They are looking for fight, they are looking for war… That is why they went and take expired drugs.”

What beats me more is her conviction that, indeed, her husband is an achiever. It’s however ironic for a lady who spent many times at foreign hospitals, with her husband in power, and in the very administration that doctors went on strike for poor welfare, to boldly campaign that “Goodluck has built uncountable hospitals… (and) trained doctors and nurses.” Perhaps it’s only normal to appease the women of Lokoja in what seemed like an apology for her husband’s atrocious administration: “I brought some gift for you, I brought rice, I brought meat, I brought brocade. I brought many things for you.”

Calabar was the venue of Mrs. Jonathan’s most despicable clowning. Just the way her husband’s subdued deputy, Namadi Sambo, fumbled in attempts to polarise the nation, the First Lady seemed to have also dug out her husband’s political grave deeper by saying, “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.” – a spite of the north and its destitute beggars.

Mrs. Jonathan seems to have a certain speech impediment. I’ve realized that and, out of a certain sensitivity, I no longer mock her malapropian outbursts. I know some of us do so merely to escape the horrifying realities mismanaged by her darling husband. What I find disturbing, and which I don’t think should be dismissed as another of her malapropian ways, is the way she continuously contradicts the expectation of a university graduate as literate, learned and supposedly perceptive. Our flawed expectations!

While we all should be ashamed of the educational system that produced Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan at a time our education system wasn’t this chaotic, we need to agree that the nation’s first couple is a reflection of our flaws as a society and a state over the years.

Having this couple as the most important ambassadors of a nation of over 150 million disgruntled people may be ranked the biggest tragedy of this democracy whenever the generation after us sets out to document the miseries of our time.

Like many friends, I’m a reluctant Buharist. But he’s our alternative right now, and thus it’s natural to ignore Mrs. Jonathan’s order that “Anybody that comes and tells you change, stone that person.”

The joke that Her Excellency wants us stoned for demanding replacement of her husband, over which a number of us are laughing, overlooking it as another of her comedy shows that’s approaching the end, wasn’t taken so by the International Criminal Court. This administration has dragged us so low that the ICC, also recognizing that “America will know” when it’s uneasy here, has grumbled to rouse fear in our misbehaving politicians. Something needs to save us from Mrs. Malaprop, and ICC, despite it all seeming like a confirmation that ours isn’t a sovereign state anymore. May God save us from us!


Gimba kakanda tweets from @gimbakakanda
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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