Testimonies in the holy places of worship, just like the ones given in the courtrooms of law, creates an avenue and an opportunity for the strategic unburdening of the soul, with the necessary proclamation of pure truth, though, any wordings spoken at such eventful occasions against the scriptural and righteous admonishing of the sacred fact, almost and always drew the ire of untoward consequences, in the case of the latter, a charge of perjury is incurred before a sitting judge, while in the case of the former, an eternal damnation of God almighty suffices. Perhaps, it is because of this fact, the speech by the First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan at a thanksgiving mass on Sunday 17th of February 2013, is very critical in the believability of the presidential information management team, as well as to the moral standing of the administration among the generality of the citizenry, whom should always expect from the exalted office of a Nigerian president, trust, honesty but above all else, truth.
The wife of the president while thanking God for her life, admitted her sojourn to the Horst Schmidt Klinik in Germany, narrating how she underwent clinical operations for several times, the fact that she passed out for more than a week, to the extent that her doctors nearly lost hope on her, until the miracle of her fast recovery that could only be attributed to the good lord himself. Indeed, she evoked the power of prayers to her regaining full healthy status, to the invoking sessions undertaken by a small circle of close relations, who are in the knowledge of her precarious situation.
Meanwhile, around the time the first lady was undergoing very demanding trials and tribulation, the information fed to the generality of the Nigerian public is that the matron of the Aso Villa was only on a vacation, resting after a hectic schedule of hosting the African First Ladies Mission. In fact, while the likes of Drs. Reuben Abati and Doyin Okupe dithered for a while, before coming out to deny her being in any hospital setting, Mr. Ayo Osinlu, her personal media aide, vehemently rejected the ascription of ill health, to a woman on a journey of sightseeing the insightful wonders of the Deutschland.
After the appearance of the two versions of a single event, I had strenuously expected a strong denial from the presidential pressmen, but could it not proclaim the infamous tag of lying to Nigerians on our mother figure, if they accepted her confessions of a modern day Lazarus experience of rising from the dead or at the very least, they could have engineered a strong reconstruction of the past event to obfuscate the fact, so that what actually happened in Germany, should not threaten to throw the presidency into disrepute, as an institution that fibs out of convenience. Unfortunately, mum is the word from the villa at Abuja.
Indeed, while many media experts could lay claim to the Machiavellian belief about exposing the sickness of a leader, as one sure route and path to the demystification of power, with the unintended consequences of showing they are human after all. I still believe that hiding the ill-health anyone is an exercise in futility, more so that of a Nigerian first lady, knowing the kind of mindset that accompany such office, which is about the accentuation of glitz, glamour and high test fashion, even if such persons seeking such bodily figures are supposed to be old women, who should have passed the stage of the need for possessing ephemeral images of a lady on a catwalk.
The history of one of the most powerful offices in the land, though existing without any basis in the constitution of the country, is tied to the attempt to keep the nation’s leader happy from the spousal front, who has to enable his wife with a pet humanitarian project, while she uses the opportunity of an appearance to make a grand entry into the public stage, thus embellishing her image and persona into the psyche of the hapless citizenry, though with every responsibility, lie the pressures of maintaining such a tasking duty. For the likes of President Barack Obama or Prime Minister David Cameron, their eternal challenge while in office is the provision of basic necessaries of life; good governance, adequate infrastructure, stable economy and efficient justice system. Unfortunately, for the occupant of the office of a Nigerian first lady, the task is no less demanding, as she has fit into the latest fashionable clothing, while maintain a figure six, despite the reality of partaking in sumptuous lunches and dinners on behalf of the republic.
Historically, it has been heard before of former first ladies in Nigeria, who have had tragedies of surgical mishaps, while undergoing a tummy tuck and facials grafting operations. Though, without the special privilege and novelty of having medical fiduciary relationship with the national patient, by implication, nobody could dare lay claim to the belief that it was the attempt at a similar procedure, which has landed the ever workaholic Patience into a hospital bed. But one thing that is incontestable, at least to individuals like me is her assertion that it is because of prayers, we are having a hale and hearty Mama in Abuja today.
However, imagine that the solemnized chanting done to raise the Bayelsan permanent secretary from the dead, were not done by only a few people, comprising of property stripping blood relations and secret leaking administration officials. Rather, picture a situation where it was majority of the over one hundred and sixty million people, who had fervently prayed for the convener of the African First Ladies Mission, my bet is that the spiritual vibes released, could have been strong enough to turn Madam into a sixteen year old damsel, not requiring the need to bother with body weight issues in the foreseeable future.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters