What Patience Jonathan will be remembered for

Patience Jonathan

By Aderonke Ogunleye Bello

The emergence of Dame Patience Jonathan as the First lady of Nigeria was not a shock to many as she became popular when the outgoing President, Goodluck Jonathan was sworn into the office.

A more calmer and quiet woman when Turai Yar’Adua held sway as the First lady, suddenly metamorphosed into an outspoken woman.

A graduate of Biology and Psychology from the Rivers State University and also the holder of four honorary Doctorate degrees from universities around the world, she is one woman who speaks boldly, she spews confidence when talking and even more when she breaks down crying especially in public.

Last year on National TV after the Boko Haram struck, crying in a televised event, Mrs Jonathan chorused “diaris god oh (There’s a God) all this blood you people are sharing, (All these blood you are shedding or with all the blood shed) diariz god o” A phrase which up till date is widely used jokingly by Nigerians.

During the funeral of the late Igbo leader, Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu, she was reported to have said while addressing Nigerians, “Although Ojukwu is dead his MANHOOD is still alive”

Amongst other widely circulated grammatical blunders allocated to her are: “The President was once a child and the Senators were once a children”

“My fellow widows” while addressing a set of widows during one of her outreach porgrammes.

“A Good mother takes care of HIS children”.

“The people sitting before you here were once A CHILD” she said at another event.

“Yes, we are all happy for the effort, it is not easy to CARRY second in an international competition like this one” she is reported to have told journalists after the junior women’s national team won the Female Under 20 FIFA World Cup last year.

In addition, she was also credited to have reacted towards the insurgents continuous bombings by saying” “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”.

“My heart feels sorry for these children who have become WIDOWS by losing their parents for one reason or another” she added.

“We should have love for our fellow NIGERIANs irrespective of their NATIONALITY” she explained.

I recall in 2011 during the Presidential campaign, she famously called Umbrella, ‘umberra’, read this: “Vote UMBLERRA and press your finger for UMBRELLA, from councillor to the Presidency it is UMBLERRA, anything just press UMBLERRA” she said.

“Children children, how many years old is independent today” she asked Nigerian children at an event.

“My husband and Sambo is a good people” “Why are you blame my husband for fuel strike and boko haram attach (attack)?” She asked addressing press on subsidy removal “We all have HIV only some are negative and others are positive.” She narrated.

However, she also made a mark as a strong woman who supported her husband all the way through office, campaign and elections. She will never be forgotten in a long time as a First lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and her fight for the 35% slot for women in Government.

Although, we cannot apportion too much blame on her because somehow, in a way or another we have committed grammatical blunders, we have ‘murdered’ the English Language but for her to attain that office, she ought to have brushed herself up a little bit or practice before she speak in public.

It is all a thing of the past now as I wish her all the best.


Ogunleye-Bello is an Abuja-based journalist.

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