August 31sth, 2010
Her Excellency, Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan like every well-meaning
daughter or son recently went on a two-day official visit to
her home town in the Rivers State of Nigeria.
Madam, there must be pride in among the Okrika people to see
your presence in their midst. Also, there is more
international pride to your home background as evidenced as
having come from the Okrika Island of the Rivers State,
especially from an area called Obama, a great and passionate
name at best.
First Lady Jonathan, as history tells us for over 400 years
the people of Okrika have gone through various struggles,
starting as a midpoint of Euro-American slave trade and in
the early part of the 20th century the land and the people
of Okrika were overshadowed by the city of Port Harcourt.
As an Ijaw woman who has watched the long standing
exploitation of the area of Niger River Delta of Nigeria by
the Euro-American Oil Corporations, one understands your
Madam, here is the problem. You appeared to have crossed the
line when you openly went into tantrums with Governor
Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Chief Executive of the Rivers
State. While this writer has never met you or Mr. Amaechi
and has no relationship to any of you, there is something
that is worth noting in this write-up.
Mrs. Jonathan, there is a bit you need to know about an
executive system of government which not only includes the
Presidency but the gubernatorial rule or the power of
As you may be aware of the Nigerian Constitution is modeled
after the American constitutional and executive system of
Madam, as one who currently occupies the office of the First
Lady of Nigeria you are the number one Hostess to the
presidency. Therefore, by tradition your role is ceremonial,
social and in our contemporary times you may engage in
causes that are dear to you, and this you have done very
well with your promotion of women issues.
Madam Jonathan, at the time of this writing you do not have
any electable power, governmental role and executive
function in the Nigerian government. But privately you could
serve as an adviser to the President or any Governor and
again this should only, only happen privately. Period!
As we now know from media reports, while recently in your
home town of Okrika to launch one of your initiatives for
women, during the last day of your two-day visit, and right
in front of the people of the Rivers State, you displayed
incivility to the Chief Executive of the Rivers State.
As we rightly know, the issue of land is important to the
Okrika people and reasonably sentimental to you, therefore
any worry you have on this issue should have been
communicated to the Chief Executive of the River state,
Thereafter, any public comment on the matter by the Governor
as it was during your side by side presence with the
Governor should have received silence from you, non-verbally
Madam, among your reported utterances and behaviors, here is
the one that constitutionally, was almost destabilizing to
the functioning of the government of the Rivers State. That
is , the verbiage in which you reportedly raised your voice
and told the Chief Executive of you State, “Listen! You must
listen to me.” Madam, Nigeria is not yet a banana republic
where utterances like these are all too common.
Madam, you need to know that the position that Chibuike
Rotimi Amaechi of Ikwerre occupies is so powerful and
authoritative that it could have been worst for you in terms
of the overall frustration over this whole matter.
It is reported that the Governor after your unruly acts
towards him and during a reception for you stayed in his
car. He could have been thinking of putting you on official
notice or taking other Stately measures towards you? We will
But what is clear is that you were apparently recalled back
to your official home in Abuja, a far lesser dishonor
compared to any other executive consequence from the Chief
Executive of the State.
Madam, in an executive democracy like Nigeria the power of a
Governor is huge. He as in the case of the Honorable Amaechi
is the sovereign head of the Rivers State. That means,
within the Federal system of Nigeria, the Governor retains
independent power and he is not subordinate to anyone
including the President, in this case your husband, Dr.
The Governor like the President is equally subservient to
the rule of law or the Constitution. Madam, in a truly and
functional nation with an executive system of government,
the Governor by virtue of being elected by the people of the
State has the statutory power to implement any executive
order he wishes and, not even the State legislature could
Madam, when you reportedly told the Governor in his face
that he should not use the word “Must” in reference to the
demolition of buildings in place for space for new schools,
you committed a grave error.
Why, because no one, not the even President, the King, or
the legislature could stop him from his “must” to do list
except the Courts.
Madam, now you see why your air evacuation was so sudden
without completing your planned visit to the prisons and to
a newly built school.
Madam, such is the nature of the extensive power of an
executive, independent and sovereign head of a State. You
may not recognize the constitutional and political influence
wielded by a Governor but your husband certainly does in his
capacity as a President in an executive system of
Madam, you almost pushed the State “to go into crises” the
very concern you publicly posed to the Governor. Thank God
for airplanes, as you left so quick in that some
oppositional or troubled minds could have taking advantage
of this confusion and provoke more problems.
Madam, any reasonable person knows you met well to your
people given the long history of the exploitation of that
area of Nigeria. So your concerns must be welcomed by any
Nigerian leader but madam, learn to present your issues
privately as such is the duty of the first lady of the
nation and the role of the first hostess to the Presidency.
Madam, to do otherwise especially when your husband could be
in power for the next eight years could further compound the
functioning of a society that is almost at its breaking
What every good faith Nigerian should see next is the
breaking of kolanut or the sharing of soft drink between the
First lady and the Governor in the Okrika town or at the
Governor’s compound, all for the sake of harmony. There is
no need for police or official investigation, all that is
needed now is just a kolanut or a fizzy drink summit for
peace sake and for the future progress of the people.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, DABPS, FACFE is a practicing
Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the Interim Associate
Dean of Academic Affairs-Behavioral Science, North Campus,
Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida. email@example.com.