Connect with us

Ikemesit Effiong: Shout out to all the first mothers

Scoopinions

Ikemesit Effiong: Shout out to all the first mothers

by Ikemesit Effiong

As the chief hen in the pen, she can appoint and remove. She can shift through the chaff of state officials and official appointees and determine by divine insight and motherly precision, who is to stay and who is to go. They are big. They are strong. They are bold and they do not care what you think.

My mother sat down for the first time yesterday to read all the articles which I have penned for The Scoop so far. While she was impressed with what she read (so she told me), she was also concerned that my digging my teeth into the murky waters of politics and public policy may incur the interest and ire of certain rogue elements of our official security machinery.

I did my best to dispel such fears reminding her that Nigeria was a democracy; that I was free to bare my mind on any issue of interest and that in the unlikely event that anything I say here can and may be used against me in an interrogation room (definitely not a court of law), the laws of the polity and the fact that I know those laws will count for something.

It was a reasoned, dispassionate, totally rational conversation except for the part where she later called me on the phone and said, ‘I don’t want trouble o. I can make you stop all these things that you’re doing’. That comment alone reminded me of the recent action of one of our numerous First Ladies – permit me to call them First Mothers – because that’s how they behave.

On January 7th this past Monday, a fellow Scooper, Lanre Oguntoyibo broke the news that “the wife of the Katsina state governor, Hajiya Fatima Ibrahim Shema, has reportedly ordered the sack of the supervisory councillor for water and sanitation in Matazu local government area of the state, Hajiya Hadiza Ibrahim.

The first lady, who has no constitutional role or power to effect the sack of a public official, gave the directive to sack Ibrahim, through a letter of “termination of appointment” dated 27th December, 2012. Ibrahim was the only female councillor at the Matazu local government transition management committee”.

Now that is the power not of a First Lady but a First Mother.

As the chief hen in the pen, she can appoint and remove. She can shift through the chaff of state officials and official appointees and determine by divine insight and motherly precision, who is to stay and who is to go. They are big. They are strong. They are bold and they do not care what you think.

The position of First Mother is so filled with glitz and glamour, clout and command that it has risen to the position of a life ambition.

During a conversation with one of my colleagues, she shared a story about how a mutual lecturer friend of ours called her aside and told her about how one of our colleagues (sorry, it’s all confusing. I don’t have names to share) told him that her future ambition is to be a First Lady. I laughed like a pile of broken gramophone records.

The opinion of that unfortunate colleague of mine, which I’m doubly sure, is shared by countless other misguided women, should neither come as that much of a surprise, nor should it be treated with levity. It is the expression of the frustration of a citizenry which has been denied the benefits (I have grown to dislike the word dividends) of a democracy which in its infancy in 1999 promised a veritable way out of the darkness of pillage, pogroms, poverty and a pitiable existence on to a more fruitful land of stability, prosperity and a shared commonwealth of equity and justice for all.

For these women, access to the good life now means access to power and what better way to be escorted into the great halls of influence and relevance than to be the right-hand padi of an often times, equally clueless and rudderless man who bears the hallowed title of Governor or President.

I got one of the best laughs of my life when at a town hall meeting in a certain local government, the wife of the council chairman was also addressed as ‘First Lady’. What?

We must not ignore this trend. We must speak about this with the indignation that accompanied our reaction to the fuel subsidy removal. It is with the same righteous annoyance that we must condemn such initiatives as the Council of Nigerian First Ladies being championed by the overall mother hen of Obodo Nigeria, High First Mother Patience Goodluck Jonathan.

When the situation has degenerated to the point where Mrs. First Mother-in-Chief called for a constitutional recognition of the ‘Office’ of the First Lady with its attendant perks and entitlements, when The Lady First Mother is campaigning for retirement benefits for First ladies nationwide thereby straining an almost broken national budget, and when actions like that of the First Mother of Katsina State go on unchallenged, we have to stand up and remind our leaders that the husband of the Queen of England is NOT the King of England but just her consort. That in the end is what every First Lady rightly is, just a person lucky to wear the ring of the First Citizen of the polity.

Bring back the Lady to the table. Una FirstMothers! I hail una o.

Ikemesit Effiong is a lawyer based in the city where lawyers are most needed - Abuja. He enjoys engaging with clients but gets a major kick when engaging with despondent fellas online. An imperfect man, he has four addictions: Malcolm Gladwell's words,Taylor Swift's voice, Jeremy Clarkson's sarcasm and Al Jazeera. He is an avid Twitterati and a 'retired' football fan. Twitter: @JudgeIyke.

1 Comment

Latest Posts

Advertisement

Trending

To Top