Professor Tam David-West, a former Petroleum Minister, in this interview with GBENRO ADESINA, speaks on Jonathan and Amaechi feud:
What is the interest of the President in a misunderstanding between Amaechi and his former chief of staff?
Patience, the President’s wife, hates Amaechi. Thanks to your magazine for its recent cover story, ‘Her Imperial Majesty’. It was a fantastic research. I am not talking about the first lady, I hate the word Your Excellency. Which Excellency? Have you ever heard Barack Obama’s wife being addressed as Her Excellency? Or David Cameron’s? We forget that the place of first lady is completely unconstitutional and irrelevant. I am happy the National Assembly stopped the N4b allocation proposed by Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory for construction of a building for African First Ladies Mission.
Why does Patience, who I don’t think is patient, hate Amaechi?
She hates Amaechi because she wants an Okrika man to be governor after Amaechi. Unfortunately for Patience, she is not restrained at all. She can say anything and do anything without inhibition. That is why I congratulate TheNEWS on that in-depth research. Mrs. Jonathan once embarrassed Amaechi at a public function in Okrika. That was uncivilised. I think without further delay, Patience should be humble enough to publicly tender an unreserved apology for that attitude because being a president’s wife doesn’t give her the licence to be rude. Who will take what Patience did? That shows how impatient she is and that shows you how much Amaechi has absorbed. She humiliates him everytime. Jonathan caused it because he can’t say no to whatever his wife says. He is a very weak husband and he is a very weak president. Whatever she says must happen. How can anybody read that well researched cover story of your magazine and feel glorified. If I were Mrs. Jonathan, after reading TheNEWS magazine, I’d leave Abuja and go on sabbatical for a long time. How can she face the public now with such revelations of her unconstitutionality? Whenever she goes out with her husband, she stays in front and the husband stays behind her. Nigeria should not take this and the earlier we rose to say this nonsense must stop, the better.
Wives have a lot of influence on their husbands. Most of the things Jonathan is doing are very wrong. President Jonathan is so obstructive. If she is good, she should be able to talk to her husband not to do things that are not good and always remind him that they should leave good legacies behind. Abdulsalami Abubakar’s wife advised her husband well. She went to university and law school. But this is a lady that ended in high school.
But she has a degree.
As far as my record shows, I don’t attach any degree to her, but if I am wrong, please, Reuben Abati, publish it and let me be educated. As far as I know, she did some secretarial studies or something. There is no record that says that Mrs. Jonathan is a graduate. I am saying that the excesses of Mrs. Jonathan can’t be a positive platform for her husband to be a president. In fact, in any other country, if you are unable to restrain your wife’s excesses, you are impeached and you go back to your village and stay.
What is your take on the way Patience Jonathan took over everywhere in Port Harcourt recently?
I was there. I witnessed it. I arrived the same day. Fortunately, I left the airport before they closed the road, but I saw the crowd gathering. It was a very obscene show of arrogance of power. As soon as I checked into my hotel, the sirens came. Even Amaechi couldn’t come out of Government House. Where did she get the money to build that big house she just built? There was heavy security and the neighbours were complaining. When I was leaving the airport, I counted at least 20 security cars. One of the policemen said: ‘Professor, hurry up before the superhuman being comes.”
Even the policemen were not happy.
A few people have suggested that first ladies should be assigned constitutional roles…
It is sad. It is just like the agitation for assigning constitutional roles to traditional rulers. If constitutional roles are assigned to the traditional rulers, by the time the reality will dawn on us, it will take so long to reverse the disaster. It is better the way it is now. Any provision for traditional rulers is dangerous for Nigeria. The Oba I admire and adore in Yorubaland is Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III. He has given the royalty its due respect. He has not degraded and desecrated it. He is a king with magnetic brain. He is so brilliant. He is a good role model.
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