It Is Time To Give Up On Jonathan By Michael Egbejumi-David

It is a poorly kept secret that, in the
Jonathan’s household, the Mrs,
Patience, is the one who wears the
pants. She rules the roost. She is
the one in charge; the boss.
In some cases, the woman being in
charge is not actually a bad thing.
In fact, it can be a good thing.
However, I’m not sure if this is the
case with the first family. It
certainly isn’t proving to be the case
now. When you look at Jonathan,
when you behold and have been
thoroughly put off by Goodluck’s
docility, his lack of vigour and
rigour, you would understand why
Patience had to take charge. It’s
just a shame that she doesn’t know
where to draw the line.
It was recently reported that Mrs
Jonathan has remained on the
payroll of the Bayelsa State civil
service despite the fact that she
hasn’t turned up for work for even
one minute since her husband
became the Deputy Governor in
1999. Regardless of all that, she
was still considered an active staff
member and was being paid in full
by the Ministry of Education (of all
I was still digesting that appalling
news and wondering when Reuben
Abati would come out and announce
that Mrs Jonathan has returned all
the salaries and allowances she has
been pocketing since 1999, when
worse news floated in. This one
came directly from the Head of
Bayelsa State Civil Service, Gloria
Izonfo. She announced that the
same Mrs Jonathan has been
appointed a Permanent Secretary. I
can just imagine Don King’s hair
standing on end as he shouts,
“Only in Nigeria!”
For one, this is sycophancy gone
out of hand. People will recall that
the current governor, Seriake
Dickson was one of the Abuja
politicians who were used to fight
the previous governor, Timipre
Sylva to a standstill until his election
was annulled in April 2008 by the
Court of Appeal. Back then,
Dickson, a House of Representative
member, avowed that the majority
of PDP stakeholders in Bayelsa
would not support Sylva’s
candidacy to run again at a new
election that was mandated after 90
days. He called Sylva
“unacceptable” and a person
lacking in skills to “build
A Loyal Jonathan disciple, in 2012
Dickson was rewarded with the
governorship after his oga became
President and Sylva had been
kicked hard into exile. Dickson was
declared the winner of the
governorship election by the State
Returning Officer, Prof Joseph
Ajienka. (More about him later)
As per our culture in Nigeria,
Dickson is now thanking his oga
through madam, however, he is
doing it all wrong.
But, there’s a larger issue:
Mrs Jonathan stopped going in to
work sometime in 1999. That is
some 13 years ago. Let us do the
math: According to her own bio,
Mrs Jonathan got her NCE (Teacher
training) diploma in 1989. Then
she proceeded to the University of
Port Harcourt for a 3 year Bachelor’s
programme in Biology and
Psychology, finishing, presumably,
in 1992. Then she became a
teacher at a Secondary School
where she was until 1997. In 1997,
she left and went into Community
Then things become sketchy. At
some point, post 1997, Mrs
Jonathan left the bank and returned
“to the classroom briefly again as a
teacher.” Then “she was
transferred to the Bayelsa State
Ministry of Education, where she
served until 29 May 1999 when her
husband became the Deputy
Governor of the State.”
So. Ok. Let’s say Mrs Jonathan
stayed in the banking sector for just
one year. That would mean that
she returned to teaching in 1998. A
few months later, she joined the
Ministry of Education in Bayelsa. To
be generous, let us say she was
with that Ministry for a full calendar
year before she became Second
Lady of Bayelsa. Once they were in
office, Mrs Jonathan never darkened
the doors of the Education Ministry
again. However, she continued to
draw a salary. On 12 July 2012,
with just one single solitary practical
active year experience in the
Education Ministry, she was made
its Permanent Secretary.
Please stop laughing.
So, what are the duties and
responsibilities of a Permanent
Secretary? The number one job of a
Permanent Secretary is to run the
department on a day-to-day basis.
Effectively, the Permanent Secretary
is the chief executive of a particular
government department,
overseeing its operations including,
budgets, personnel, training, etc,
etc. The Permanent Secretary also
provides reports and advice to the
political head of the Ministry, the
Commissioner. Permanent
Secretaries are also the accounting
Officers for their department, which
means they are directly answerable
to the Legislature for financial
matters. Furthermore, Permanent
Secretaries chair their departments’
Management Boards.
Mrs Jonathan will do all of this and
more with just one year of entry
level experience under her belt; an
experience acquired some 13 years
Please now. I told you to curtail
your laughter.
We have been told however – in an
attempt at clarification – that Mrs
Jonathan will do this in absentia. A
brand new concept; a Permanent
Secretary in absentia. Only in
Jonathan’s Nigeria. In effect, Mrs
Jonathan was just awarded a title for
later use. The First Lady appellation
would appear inadequate. A further
attempt at clarification was made on
14 July 2012 by a Special Assistant
to the governor, Daniel Iworiso-
Markson. He said, “The State
government believes that the
services of the First Lady to the
development of Bayelsa State and
Nigeria qualify as essential service,
which should be recognised and
Good God! You cannot make this
up, even if you were writing a very
bad movie script. Provincial outlook
is being nationalised. We are being
force-fed parochial backwater
thinking and behaviour from the
riverside. Lack of refinement and
outrageous buffoonery has been
elevated to statecraft. God help us
As a man, when your truculent wife
comes to you with news of such
“promotion,” you are supposed to
quickly pour deserved ice water on
it. You are supposed to show her
the million ways in which it is wrong
and inappropriate. As a Head of
State, you ought to then go further
and insist on decency, pick up the
phone, call the bloody governor of
Bayelsa and tell him to keep his
Greek gift. Tell him not to ridicule
further a government that is already
struggling to convince people that it
is a serious one. I just don’t
understand: Is it that some people
simply lack the ability to see what
everyone else can see or they just
don’t care?
But it is clear Mrs Jonathan calls the
shots at home. Clearly, the
President is not able to curtail her
overbearing and flagrant impulses.
He gave up trying long ago. Our
Jonah is just too happy for her to go
do her thing at any cost and leave
him alone with all her wahala. In
any event, they own the day now,
so anything goes. Weak, distasteful
and very unseemly.
Not too long ago, ‘twas for the same
Jonathan that an Italian construction
company, Gitto Construzioni
Generali, built a huge church in the
heart of his village. Jonathan even
saw it fit to defend such farce and
obvious corruption. Why didn’t the
same firm build churches in other
villages before or after Jonathan’s?
Just last month, Mrs Jonathan was
awarded a Doctorate by the
University of Port Harcourt. On
hand to confer that honorary degree
on her was Prof Ajienka, the Vice
Chancellor of the University. Yes,
the same Prof Joseph Ajienka, State
Electoral Returning Officer who
declared Dickson governorship
winner. Same day, President
Jonathan approved N3 billion for the
development of the University of
Port Harcourt.
These are just the ones we know
about o.
This is where we now find
ourselves. Everything is so gauche.
There is a complete absence of
shame. No decorum, no
circumspection. It is Idi Amin
declaring himself the King of
Scotland all over again.
And the sovereignty of 150 million
souls is entrusted in the care of this
man? Wasn’t it Fela who sang that
‘Upside Down get them meaning
too?’ Nigeria we hail thee. This
poor country just cannot catch a
Twitter: demdemdem1

To promotes freedom of expression and right to contrary opinion, views expressed by Authors does not necesarily reflect the views of the blogger.

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