The Guardian newspaper of Sunday, June 23, 2013 served an Editorial comment on the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dame (Dr.) Patience Goodluck Jonathan under the title quoted above.
This effort by the Guardian represented an extension of a recent induced trend in a section of the Nigerian media, which makes the vilification of the First Lady some people’s primary assignment.
The misfortune in this case however is that a newspaper of the status and respectability of the Guardian would lend itself to such mindless commercialization of the news. The misfortune runs deeper when the platform so abused is the ‘almighty’ Editorial Opinion.
We are aware of certain political gladiators who are rolling trunk-loads of money from one media house to another, with an aim of buying copious spaces as well as the conscience of men and women who are willing to sell, the objective being to rake all available mud and sling them at the person and office of First Lady Jonathan, as their own strategic dimension of political brinksmanship.
How else will an objective observer consider a newspaper waking up on a Sunday morning to suddenly notice that it is an “odium” that the First Lady speaks from a podium with the country’s official seal!
That the Guardian is just noticing that she speaks from this same podium after over two years is certainly a betrayer of maximum mischief. It also shows that the records of the newspaper are embarrassingly poor to state that it was only in February that she began to speak from a podium with a crest. In any case, does the seal that seems to have given the writers and their paymasters so much sudden concern proclaim “Seal of the Office of the First Lady”? Of course NO. Rather, it simply announces “First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”!
One is therefore left to wonder what the hysteria is all about, especially the quick flight to the usual blackmail of convenience: the Office of the First Lady is unrecognized by the Constitution.
While this is invariably true, one wonders about the practicability of separating the First Lady from the Presidency that offers the platform for the “charity and humanitarian exertion” which the editorial writer agrees are some of the public good a First Lady is expected to deliver.
We may as well insist that America must separate Michelle Obama from riding on Air Force One, because her office is unconstitutional! It is our view that the First Lady’s office derives from the Presidency, and has responsibilities to discharge, whether ceremonial or official, to smoothen the operations of the President and the Presidency.
We will not bother ourselves about the Permanent Secretary appointment in Bayelsa State, as both this office and the Bayelsa State government have said enough on the matter. We recognize of course that he who will not hear will not hear, no matter how much you say.
Finally, may we appreciate the reluctant charity of the Guardian, in admitting that “Madam Jonathan deserves praise for her tireless efforts at improving the lots of Nigerian women”, and that “her campaigns on the political scene did more a lot to impact on her husband’s political fortune. She is indeed a force for good”.
For obvious professional and ethical reasons, the media must not allow itself to become conspirators with profligate administrations, who squander their people’s commonwealth for self-serving political pursuits, while the people remain in abject misery and sinful lack!
Special Assistant to the President (Media)
Office of the First Lady
June 24, 2013.