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Theatre of the absurd

We are not yet done with theatrics and distractions. It was like rehearsing a scene from a movie. But this is not Nollywood live! Dame Patience broke down in tears over the unresolved issue of the abducted school girls; alleging that the Borno State First Lady was trying to frustrate her efforts about helping the State Government to rescue the missing school girls.

Her frustration perhaps made her use some unfortunate words for which her critics tried to crucify her. Action: To a woman from Borno; Na only you waka come?; Those bloods that are sharing in Borno; ‘There is God o, There is God o’’.

We have heard it all and seen it all. But it is not time to start apportioning blames. It is not the time to begin to argue whether Dame Patience Jonathan should have spoken in Isoko, Urhobo, Ibo, Ijaw or whatever language. Whether it’s ‘sharing blood; instead of shedding blood,’ whether ‘ na only you waka come’ or ‘there is God o,’ English is not our mother tongue. It is not also time to begin to argue that the issue should have been taken more serious earlier.

Patience Jonathan
Patience Jonathan:  Chai chi There is God oh

The point now is that something is being seriously done. We are not the only country in the world where the ‘emperor’ is playing the fiddle while the ‘empire’ is on fire. It happened in ancient Rome. So, why blame President Jonathan and his political cronies for attending political owambe parties and having a ball when Nigeria is on fire?

And who told All Progressives Congress that the tears Dame Jonathan was shedding were crocodile tears ? We know Nollywood is the in-thing these days but why would anybody think that a traumatised First Lady was acting a script earlier written before the meeting with governors wives and other women groups?

It is not Patience Jonathan that rendered the country ungovernable. Some people swore to do that long before now and they are somewhere making this threat become a reality. Would anybody blame those who think the whole kidnap story was a scam or that those who threatened to make Nigeria ungovernable were the real culprits?

But we Nigerians have our ways. Instead of tackling the issues, we are dissecting the grammatical blunder of the First Lady who has made her point. There is no art to find the mind’s construction on the face. So, you cannot really say. How many of us have seen or felt crocodile tears? Did anybody even see any tears when her white handkerchief flew in instantly to dry them up? So, why not forget that and face the real issues?

Why should APC of all people describe Dame Patience’s tears as distracting and counter-productive, telling a ‘heart broken woman’ that her ‘crocodile tears cannot bring back the girls? Has APC forgotten that the one who points a finger has the rest of the fingers pointing back at him? Why would the party make mockery of a very serious situation?

And why do I keep having this feeling that these girls were taken by familiar strangers who want to frustrate Jonathan’s 2015 ambition such that instead of campaigning, he would be busy looking for the girls? It is true that many would not want to see Jonathan return to power next year but they shouldn’t put these girls’ lives on the line in order to frustrate him.

Anybody who can go to this length in order to muscle out a sitting president and wangle in another should be dreaded as the most deadly enemy. They are the devil’s alternative.

Dame Jonathan didn’t need to make her point in English if she can’t speak the language. Speaking pidgin which is spoken freely in this country is allowed to drive home her point. She has never claimed to be an English professor and even here, a professor of English can make mistakes! I have heard and seen errors on CNN, New York Times and other printed and spoken words in world class newspapers and magazines. They are just errors and as bad as they seem, we should not lose sight of the message being conveyed.

We have over 250 distinct ethnic groups and even the BBC allows translations in other languages. She made her point and did not let herself down despite her language. Under the circumstances, she could be allowed to speak in ‘tongues’!

How could a First Lady of a country convene a meeting of smaller First Ladies and be ignored? Imagine, only one person waka come from the troubled zone when more people were expected to waka come from the zone.

Her first meeting was not attended by the governor’s wife.

Who would not weep on learning that a whole secondary school in a Boko Haram zone had no stand-by power generator and no extra security was provided at the school?

Who would not be devastated that the wife of the governor whose state is burning did not show up at two important meetings?

Would you also blame the First Lady  for insisting that the state government and the Commissioner for Education be blamed for the abduction of the girls as they allegedly failed to act on the letter from the Minister of Education for relocation of West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) candidates to Maiduguri or safer places? And they could not even afford ordinary ‘I pass my neighbour generator?’

Who would forgive the consistent inconsistency over the exact number of candidates in the school?

And to imagine that the parents of the girls who escaped from the abductors and teachers from the school had this lackadaisical attitude concerning the meeting. So, because their daughters escaped from the kidnappers den, they forgot how important these meetings could be?

And no student who escaped from the terrorists came for the meeting. Imagine?

And to add salt to injury, the vigilante group, wife of the Chibok village head, the gate man of the school, chairman and secretary of the Parents- Teachers Association and the school matron were also absent! These are the chief mourners who should provide vital information that could help the security agencies. They were the people on ground who would have seen and heard things but they behaved as if they had something to hide.

The only mistake here was that the presidency should have sent one of the presidential jets to fly them from Borno to Abuja for the meeting.

How would anybody take them serious with all kinds of allegations flying around against them. Somebody even observed that the principal of the school had a calm mien and didn’t look traumatised in the photos published in the papers. She ought to have known that people expected her to have pour ed ashes on her head, rolled on the ground and gnashed her teeth before posing for the photo.

But she came with a swag.

And who has ever seen the Borno First Lady as a mother complaining? Who has seen her crocodile tears?

And when our dear mother and First Lady cried, they began to criticise her. Imagine!

Listen to Dame Jonathan: “I told the governor’s wife to call the parents of the abducted children; she did not honour it till today. The next thing I saw were women demonstrating on the streets. Now again, before Friday, my protocol (officer) called her and she gave 100 per cent assurance that she will be here on Friday. But she did not.

“Now again, she is not here. Because she is the mother of Borno, she is the mother of those children and I am their grandmother. She should feel more concerned. But she is not. I and the Nigerian women are calling her, but she is not here.

“It is left for you. If you tell me you are not pained, why should I cry more than the bereaved? If I do so, the world will ask me questions.

“You people are playing games. This thing will not help us. After today, if these Borno people say we should not help them, you Nigerian women should not go out to demonstrate because they are playing games. You can keep it in Borno and let it end there.

“The Police came with their own; the Army came with all their own, WAEC came with all their own, but the Borno government waka come with a few. No parent is here to tell us that a child is missing. They cannot produce a parent whose child is missing.”

Now, what has the Borno First lady got to say about these allegations? Nobody wants to believe she has a heart of stone. I only saw Gov Shettima shedding his own crocodile tears in a photograph. And the inconsistency in figures is not eradicated yet. While the school principal, who claimed that her grand-daughter is among the missing girls, said 395 students sat for English subject, the WAEC official, Charles Eguridu told the meeting that 387 girls sat for English subject before the abduction and 80 girls sat for Maths after the attack.

The principal said she was not around during the abduction as she was in Maiduguri for diabetic treatment. According to her, she goes to Maiduguri every two weeks for the treatment.

The Commissioner for Health told the gathering that she had not seen any of the abducted girls that escaped from the terrorists.

So what are we saying?

The First Lady broke down and wept the second time towards the end of the meeting saying: “You want to kill my husband; you want to make me a widow before you go and rest. My God will never make me a widow.”

And to that, I say Amen!


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