Opinion: Patience Jonathan – A case of the emperor’s clothes

by Bayo Oluwasanmi


The castle of lies that was constructed around the hospitalization of Mrs. Jonathan meets the style and substance of Aso Rock media relations.

We write for different reasons and for different audiences. Though, one fact stands out: we either write for posterity or for tomorrow.

The invention of the internet has democratized the market place of ideas. Thanks to the internet for the explosion of online portals.

The market place of ideas is now more pluralized, representative, and easily accessible.

Writers in their minds, write for the unknown and unbiased jury somewhere. They believe that one day the jury will rule on their writings- guilty of spreading falsehood or acquitted defending the truth.

Debates and discussions on issues are now being dissected 24/7 with competing views fighting for prominence and dominance.

In the propaganda battle, truth has always been will always be first casualty. Truth is easily disturbed and decapitated.

But no matter how slow, how long, and how tedious the journey is, truth will always resurrect and overtake lies and its purveyors.

As a writer therefore, I have always been haunted by the gap between truth and lies. I’ve always worried between the difference in what one’s thinks and teaches, and what one does.

The lies and fabrications that constitute the outfits of politics and politicians are products of human folly, and not decrees of fate.

The embedded lies on which the political fulcrum oscillates guarantees no limit in the absurdities of government.

Politics is mostly governed by sententious platitudes which are devoid of truth. In pursuit of political aims, the ruling class will submit the people to unspeakable anguish from fabrications.

Politicians – most of whom are advocates of unreason – believe that they can profitably deceive the people as long as they keep it in a state of effervescence.

They hate to be hurt with the truth and comfortable with lies.

Government like any organization, are of two kinds. One aims at getting things done, the other aims at preventing something from being done.

The government that shoots for not getting things done like the Jonathan administration prevaricates to dupe and dodge the people in all fronts and at all times.

The uproar and the ugliness that greet the hospitalization of the First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan came to life again at her “resurrection” thanksgiving service held few weeks ago at Aso Rock Chapel.

Ordinarily, the news of a sick person would not have provoked the avalanche of gossips and innuendos that her illness attracted.

But, because the patient is a public figure – the wife of the president – it becomes a sensational scoop that drives the tabloids into utter frenzy.

The castle of lies that was constructed around the hospitalization of Mrs. Jonathan meets the style and substance of Aso Rock media relations.

Sometimes in 2012, Mrs. Jonathan became ill. She was ambulanced to Germany for treatment. There were conflicting reports of her diagnosis.

Some reports claimed she had uterine fibroids. Other reports said she was treated for uterine cancer.

Whatever the nature of her illness, all was not well with Mrs. Jonathan.  First Lady and Aso Rock vehemently denied that she was hospitalized.

Promoting, aiding and abetting lies especially in high places such as the presidency are tantamount to talismanic liability.

We were served with growing heresy that promotes empty ritual, useless asceticism, and false mysticism.

We were deceived by empty philosophies and sounding nonsense.

TV footage which featured the president, Aso Rock Chaplain Ven. Obioma Onwuzurumba aired on national television network shows a well dressed Mrs. Jonathan asking to be allowed to “take picture with my husband.”

Abati, the agile attack dog didn’t waste time to use the video to paint critic as liars:

“The video clip aired by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) was a confirmation that the President’s wife was hale and hearty contrary to what some people wanted Nigerians to believe.”

“The video,” continued Abati, “has put paid to all the lies that people who play politics with almost everything. It was clear from the video that the scene was not a hospital scene.”

“I don’t even know that hospital they are talking about,” Mrs. Jonathan shot back at critics on her return to Abuja from overseas treatment.

“I do not have any terminal illness or cosmetic surgery,” the First Lady assured the nation.

At special “resurrection” thanks giving service at Aso Rock Chapel few Sundays ago, Mrs. Jonathan confirmed what the media had said all along.

With voices pitched in high decibel range, critics and Aso Rock propaganda machine are blasting one another on the state of health of the First Lady.

However, on Sunday February 17, there was no doubt that the President’s propagandists misdirected their fire: their emperor has no clothes!

“I actually died,” Premium Times quoted Mrs. Jonathan as saying. “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.”

Mrs. Jonathan revealed that she had “eight or nine operations within a period of one month.”

“I will be doing things that will touch the lives of the less privileged. God gave me a second chance because I reached there. He knew I had not completed the assignments He gave me that was why I was sent back,” said Mrs. Jonathan.

We’re not sure where Mrs. Jonathan went during the seven days she was in a marathon sleep. But, we know this: she was not in Aso Rock.

Until now, I thought the less privileged were invisible Nigerians that the First couple hardly knew they exist.

One of the things Mrs. Jonathan can do to touch the lives of the less privileged (and they’re many) is to re-allocate the N4 billion for African First Ladies Mansion for hospital for humans in the 21st century.

She can also persuade her husband to ensure that corrupt public officials’ loots are garnished and use the money for socio-economic projects such as job creation, head start for children, portable water, etc.

How about lobbying the PDP majority in the National Assembly to encourage other members to exchange their oversize belts for austerity ones.

The First Lady can also take a tour of the country to meet her women folks and observe them how they eke out daily livelihood amidst poverty, struggles, hunger, and debilitating uncertainties they face every day.

In the months ahead, we’ll like to know the unfinished assignments the First Lady was sent back to us and how she plans to pursue them.

*** We cannot drive a car forward by looking at the rear view mirror. We cannot use shoes as hammers, newspapers for umbrellas, and a finger nail to tight a screw!



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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