In defence of Alison-Madueke By Ose Oyamendan


Sometimes, it feels like everything in Nigeria reeks of doom and gloom. The people don’t like their leaders. The leaders think the people have temporarily lost their senses given they voted them into power less than a year ago in elections acclaimed as the best since the invention of democracy.


The media often makes you think ugly is a kind word to describe Nigerian politics. Such words make my stomach churn. So, when I found a glint of beauty in President Goodluck Jonathan’s kitchen cabinet, I felt like screaming NEWSFLASH.

Then, I made the mistake of flipping through CNN and, lo and behold there was a real newsflash scrolling down the screen. It claimed Boko Haram has slaughtered 152 people in a series of bomb blasts in Kano. And, that was a few hours after Rueben Abati; the distinguished, scholarly presidential spokesman had put the death toll at 7.  


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Now, some people may want to go outside their houses to the rain soaked, unpaved road, gather some mud and sling them in Abati’s direction. But, be kind. The man never told anyone he has a Ph.D. in mathematics. And, writing a column ain’t the same as the President’s first line of verbal defence.


Besides, it must difficult to keep tabs of the bad news. One minute Boko Haram is bombing a police station. The next minute the police is releasing their leader. Then, two minutes later, Boko Haram thanks them by blowing up another station.  

Then, there’s the fuel subsidy hullaballoo and the little matter of an economy crumbling like a wall of cracking levee in the face of a stormy ocean. You need a department to manage the bad news in Nigeria, not one columnist on a leave of absence.


But, in the face of all the ugliness there has been one beacon of beauty. It’s like finding a diamond in your backyard. In a line up of ministers, your eyes stay firmly on her. Not that it’s a tough thing when you see the other female ministers. But, still.


Since no one is saying it, I am. I present Madam Diezani Alison-Madueke. To say she is pretty is understating it. And, I’m not talking about the job. I’m sure the president doesn’t care either. She’s his ace, his all-conquering knight in a chess game.


Once she shows up with that face and that smile, plus that voice, game over. And, if you disagree with her, the president or the job she’s doing, you gotta have your eyes checked.  

I saw her for the first time at the Nigerian investment forum in New York last fall and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Later, some folks told me she made a lot of sense in her presentation. I didn’t even know that. I was just mesmerized by her, as I’m sure the oil sheiks at OPEC, the oil marketers and the so-called oil cabals look at her. And, I’m sure we all thank the president for unearthing this precious pearl and making her the gatekeeper to Nigeria’s lifeline.

You wanna know why Sarah Palin is a darling to some Americans? It’s the face, baby! You think Jonathan doesn’t know what he was doing when he entrusted a very important portfolio like oil to his fellow Ijaw woman? The man knows talent when he sees one. And, if you think, for one moment, that it’s tribalism or man-know-man, I am sorry to disappoint you. One, it’s man-know-woman. Two, you’re just jealous.


You must respect a President who flashes a trump card like Diezani on the world. And, she’s smart too. She has nearly as much degrees as the President. And, you know how that’s working out.

I am not going to lie. I am mad at people for calling on Diezani to resign because of the problems in the oil industry. They must be blind or jealous. Like she said, they are heaping 50-year-old problems on her doorstep and expect her to make them disappear overnight. She’s an architect people, not a magician.

Nigerians think they have a problem. They should try fit into the shoes of American Republicans for a change. They need to elect someone to run against a vulnerable Obama in November. But, the choices are slim. They’ve sent off the pizza guy, the forgetful governor and the unblinking woman. Now, they are left with Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich? Mormon or Adulterer?


Let’s call a spade a spade. The honorable minister is an achiever. She’s been first at many things. Okay, they are all appointment. But, a woman’s gotta be first somehow. Since the end of the fuel subsidy strikes, Diezani has come out swinging. She’s cleaning out the oil industry like she just got there, taking a flashlight to NNPC like she just discovered its existence, setting up committees with the frequency of a bulimic after a heavy lunch and dusting up laws and regulations that have been buried under her desk for months.


Now, that’s what I call an action lady. Margaret Thatcher be warned. A Nigerian iron lady is here and she’s pretty too.

Beauty and gangster! Gotta love it!


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