I am with Patience By Ose Oyamendan

I have not raised my voice against an elder in many years. But, I did this week. Sometimes you have to jolt tradition just to let the world know where you stand. On this day, I had to let my uncle know I was with Patience and whoever is not most likely need a psychiatric evaluation.

This uncle of mine who has a doctorate in other people’s business was so incensed he took the opportunity of a rather rare visit to his house to open a verbal tap of discontent about the “elevation of that first lady”.

I was so upset I thought of recommending him for a treason trial but then I realized we’re no longer under the military government even though it’s tough to know that when you look at the Senate and the party leaders. I had to school him that being the first lady is so tough a job, a woman deserves more than our esteemed fist lady and mother of the nation is getting.

A first lady has to share her husband with the nation. Most women know that after the kids go to bed, they can retire with their husband and talk the things spouses talk about. But, in Nigeria, it’s when the kids go to bed that the business of politics and lobbying starts. So, what does a poor first lady do? She sings to the pillows until sleep comes.

If anything at all, a first lady deserves our adulation. The Senate, if they really know what their jobs are, should be passing an ordinance directing every state to name a street after the first lady. And, if the house of representatives would take a break from pretending to look for the oil subsidy bribe money, they will do the right thing and ask every state to create a directorate position for the first lady so anytime she visits a state everyone can stop complaining that she’s getting preferential treatment because of her marital status. With a state position, she would have merited it.

My crazy uncle unwrapped this bush intellect of if everyone who had worked in the public service should be elevated to permanent secretary-ship then my father, my other uncles who slaved for Nigeria for over three decades should have been permanent secretaries a long time ago, some of their friends before they died waiting for pensions that some permanent secretary, his bosses and friends had connived to steal.

I had a good laugh because his argument was so inane it only merited a laugh. I told him what everyone outside the age of the typewriter knows. If you want to be permanent secretary then you should have come to this world a woman, find a soothsayer who can show you the next president, preferably when he’s a broke, college student that appreciates the value of a free meal and tell him he’s lucky you’re even considering him as boyfriend material. Then you wait for a few accidents of history and voila, you are madam permanent secretary!

It’s really outrageous that people will think the first lady didn’t serve long enough in the civil service to be elevated to the rank of permanent secretary. Bollocks! Do they know what it means to be married to the president? Do they know the concept of overtime? Where do they think all that flying around the world, shaking hands and generally looking very important beside her husband is going to fit in? The woman did not sign for public service, her husband did. Every time she travels with him, smile for the newspapers and television cameras or even reads her name as the first lady in the newspaper should count for a day of work in Bayelsa civil service. Add them up and you’ll probably end up like me – an angry man who believes the first lady has been insulted by the position.

In all fairness, the woman should have been named a governor. Or, better since she’s been the first lady for the last five years, first as second lady – a tag itself that deserves bucket loads of pity, and as the proper first lady, she ideally should be made a minister or co-vice president. We know the vice presidency is a tea drinking and newspaper reading office anyway.

If anyone were half as smart as I am, they would do what I’m about to do. They will comb their couches and their wives’ purses, try find a few thousand nairas, jump on a plane and go to Abuja. When they get there, they will find the first lady by all means, pay homage and offer their eternal services to her. No job is to low. It would be an honor to serve as the first lady’s human carpet on her way to the bathroom. They will learn a new praise song for her every day. And, they will let her know she’s prettier everyday than that skinny girl some fools crowned Miss World.

You never know, with all the noise against a Goodluck Jonathan run in 2015, we might just be seeing the beginning of the journey of the next PDP presidential candidate. And, I want to be in the passenger’s seat of that ride. Now, I just need to add to these naira so I can go to Abuja.


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