Time to Tame Dame

Although it is not recognised by the Nigerian constitution, the office of the first lady has, somehow, found its way into governance in Nigeria. It appears to wield much power at both the federal and state levels (even at the local council level, too). It is on record that former President Olusegun Obasanjo tried unsuccessfully to “repeal” it. Occupants of the post included: the late Mariam Babangida, who was succeeded by Maryam Abacha, the late Stella Obasanjo, Turai Yar’Adua and now Dame Patience Jonathan.

Behind every successful man, there is a woman; and conspicuously in front of every unsuccessful man is a woman! Dame Patience, it seems, exercises more powers than the constitution even allows her husband. This is dangerous! It was President Jonathan, not Patience, who was elected into the exalted office.

Before last week’s primaries of the PDP, the first lady was in the eye of the storm over her alleged meddlesomeness in the affairs of the ruling party. She was accused of attempting to foist a former governor of my state, Oyo, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, as governorship candidate on the state PDP. The issue was mentioned at a meeting attended by some leaders of the party in the state. Ladoja, a former member of the ruling party, and now the national leader of the Accord Party, AP, according to reports, attended the meeting.

Why would Mrs. Jonathan summon “supposedly heavyweights in Oyo PDP” to a meeting? She might have done that successfully in Bayelsa State, but not in my own state.

How can she become so powerful, influencing the award of contracts, appointments and implementation of government policies as is being alleged? It is right time she should be made to know when to draw the line between her role as the wife of the President (simply Mrs. Jonathan) and possibly a floor member in the PDP. As the wife of the President, she should know where to draw the line.

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