A funny Valentine, By Ose Oyamendan

Ose Oyamendan

​What a funny week for love? While the whole wide world was celebrating Valentine’s Day, some in the anti-love crowd in Nigeria who would rather us call them activists were busy having a very public belly-ache over the ultimate gift of love?

All week, I heard the song “funny Valentine” playing in my head. I would have sung it but I wasn’t in Nigeria and near these activists. I felt enough eardrums in foreign countries have already been been ruined for life at karaoke bars so I decided to sing in the hotel bathroom and watch as the glasses shatter in protest.

​I almost hit the roof when I read reports of these so-called activists trekking to the office of Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, to protest, the inclusion of the First Lady’s N4b mission house in the FCT budget. To worsen matters, they came with a condemning note from Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka. But, I couldn’t hit the roof because the last time I tried that, my creaky back gave way so I just tapped the hard floor instead.

​The first thing that struck me was, these protesters either got lost or are very, very scared of the First Lady’s dogs. Instead of marching to the Aso Villa where the esteemed First Lady was probably doing what First Ladies do when they are not attending parties, taking pictures with other first ladies or just showing us the latest fashion, they instead marched to Fashola’s office.

​Imagine how uncomfortable that must have been for Fashola? The man probably bought his wife flowers, put it in a box with the Lagos Sate coat of arms and thought he was the reincarnation of Luther Vandross for a day. Now, these protesters came protesting a N4b mission house for another First Lady. How does a governor go home on Valentine night and compare flowers in a box with a N4b gift? The man is probably in a doghouse now, thanks to the anti-love crusaders.

​You kind of suspect that these protesting band of mostly women are either jealous because their husbands refused to go into government and build them multi-billion naira houses too. Or why would a woman in her right mind criticize the First lady’s office if they have ever been to Abuja and seen the meat market that it is?

Why should the first lady not have an office close to her husband’s, even if to keep an eye on the man’s door? Have you seen what people do to get to the corridors of power? Even I once wrote asking for the directions to the corridors of power.

Or, is it true, as one of my friends suggested that these protesters are jealous of the First lady’s patience and good luck? And, what do women have against women that they protest everything? Can’t they take a page from the men who saw the budget of the Vice President’s lodge, went to the bar parlor and had steaming pepper soup and ice cold beer.

​We should all be glad we have a first lady who wants something to do. If a first lady does not have a job, what is she supposed to do all day? Bake cookies and wait for her sweetheart to come home? Or start a Mills and Boon reading club for middle aged women in Abuja? Or, gather the wives of legislators around for Monday rumor circle?

​In a country built on hope, it’s sad that people fail to see the romanticism in a man who went to shoes barefooted but is now able to influence the building of a multi-billion naira house for his wife. And, for people who ask why likely barefooted school kids turn national leaders like Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Shagari didn’t build their wives a mission house, they simply miss the point. These other men didn’t make a barefooted childhood the core of their campaign. They have no romance in their blood. Our president, thank God, is a lover man.

​And, what is all these talks about the unconstitutionality of the First Ladies’ office! We should thank the stars we have a president who hates wasting public funds otherwise he could have asked one of his Senator buddies to insert the first lady’s office into the constitution. By the way, was it constitutional when Lugard made Nigeria one? What is constitutional when Abubakar Abdusalam switched the handover date? Is it constitutional that Nigeria pays her leaders much more allowance than their salaries? Is it constitutional to criticize a Romeo-president?

​Nigerians don’t know how lucky they are. In ancient times, queens used to ask their husband for the head of a cross-eyed subject whom the queen suspects is mocking her. And, here we are hundreds of years later protesting a president merely including a fraction of what his best buddy. Femi Otedola owes as a Valentine day’s gift. Thank God for the First lady’s patience, heads may have literally rolled from Fashola’s office.

​If the first lady wants a house to party with her friends from the African presidential mansions, we should all say Amen. We should help raise funds too, like I’m planning to. I just have one question: what is it a first lady really does? I ask only because I need to frame my fund raising letter.

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