By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
There is so much talk over the political airwaves of a possible return of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to the seat of power in Aso Rock.
Nigerians are indeed living in very interesting times to witness a president appearing first with a PDP umbrella only to return with an APC broom.
What can be more legendary than this case of trans-party political mesmerism that will even surprise Mesmer himself?
It is of course understandable that politics has always been a game of impossible characters.
These political characters make things happen like in the theatre of the Swedish playwright August Strindberg in which “characters split, double, multiply, evaporate, condense, disperse, assemble.”
Whether in the manner of speaking, or in carriage, the charismatic politicians stand out and shine, for good or ill.
During the time of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe we were wont to hear expressions like “Zikism is no jingoism!”
Dr KO Mbadiwe would tell you: “I am no longer of the timber and calibre class because I am now a juggernaut!”
You can shout all you like about the grammatical hocus-pocus, but the politician’s voice must always carry.
The voice that carried most during the Jonathan presidency was not the president’s but that of his wife, the inimitable Dame Patience Jonathan, the most unforgettable First Lady in the history of Nigeria who made this landmark revelation: “Ojukwu has died, but his manhood lives on!”
I genuinely like the woman for being herself, no matter what the grammarians say to the contrary.
She reminds me of Barkin Zuwo, Nigeria’s Second Republic Governor of Kano State, who is indeed very worthy of celebration and remembrance.
When Barkin Zuwo was asked a question on the mineral resources to be found in his beloved Kano State, the man pointedly replied: “There are many mineral resources in Kano like Fanta, Coke, Sprite, Mirinda, Pepsi Cola, 7Up, Kunu, Fura di nunu, Danta Cola etc!”
A journalist reportedly asked Barkin Zuwo about his running mate, and got this answer: “My running mate is Abubakar Rimi who keeps running after my life! That Dan Iska called Rimi is always my running mate, chasing after me everywhere in Kano, never allowing me to rest, wicked running mate!”
What the then President Goodluck Jonathan lacked in gregariousness and colour was more than made up for by his very daring wife, Dame Patience, whose quotable quotes took up the entire cyberspace.
Dame Patience thrilled the audiences across the country when campaigning for her husband by always stressing: “Vote for umblerra!”
She then upped the ante with the following quote: “We should have love for our fellow Nigerians irrespective of their nationality!”
Politicians all over the world almost always have their foibles documented in the public space.
Former American President Gerald Ford had an entire book written on his idiosyncrasies known as The Gerry Ford Joke Book.
Gerry Ford was once quoted as saying: “If Abraham Lincoln were still to be alive, he would turn in his grave!” Talk of a man being alive and yet turning in his grave.
There is even the joke that Gerry Ford won an election in his constituency only because the people of his community were tired of seeing him around and thus sent him off to Washington DC by massively voting for him to leave town.
Dame Patience is therefore in great company as a politico being celebrated while still alive.
As Oscar Wilde knows, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
Nobody can afford to ignore our Dame Patience especially now that there is the heavy info that her doting hubby Goodluck is about to stage a comeback.
So let’s ride on with the many quotable lines attributed to the First Lady of yore such as: “The bombers, who born them? Wasn’t it not a woman? They were once a children, now a adult, now they are bombing women and children, making some children a widow.”
She reportedly took her poetic licence to the combo of President Jonathan and Vice-President Sambo, saying: “My husband and Sambo is a good people.”
With a husband like President Jonathan, it’s quite easy to understand how Dame Patience empathized with widows by addressing them thusly: “My fellow widows!”
After all, there’s this not-so-funny joke about the pastor who asked all the widows to go to a side of the church only to see one woman abandoning her living husband to join the widows.
When the husband protested, his wife replied him sharply: “Are you alive when you cannot buy me ordinary Nkwobi? Let me join my fellow widows to get their blessings jare!”
Dame Patience is indeed a very formidable character, very much like the late Barkin Zuwo of Kano.
Trust Dame Patience to always say her mind anywhere, anytime, anyhow, anyplace, not unlike Barkin Zuwo who, when arrested after the 1983 coup for having millions of Naira in the house, coolly told his military arresters that he did not see anything wrong in having “Government money in government house!”
The great lady who asked “Na only you waka come?” Dame Patience Jonathan is my man. Diaris-God-oooo!
– Uzor Maxim Uzoatu is a renowned poet, journalist and author