On Saturday, 25th May, it was reported that a former First Lady of the country, Patience Jonathan, had told a Federal High Court in Lagos to give an order that funds to the tune of $5.7m and N2.4bn which was seized from her should be returned back to her as the money which was found in her bank accounts were given to her as gifts from a number of people during the tenure of her husband, Goodluck Jonathan, as President of the country.
The funds were seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC who have accused the former First Lady of embezzling public funds. This further elicited reactions from Nigerians after it was claimed that she said, after all the current First Lady Aisha Buhari, has gathered enough funds to build a university.
See some reactions of Nigerians below:
WHY PATIENCE JONATHAN WANTS "HER MONEY" BACK
1. She is insistent that the money were gifts & donations
2. She's convinced @officialEFCC is merely witch-hunting her
3. Her successor- Aisha Buhari has also "raised enough to build a university," why confiscate hers? pic.twitter.com/XLWmKAQbtC
— RootsTv (@rootstvnigeria) May 25, 2019
There must be something with being a First Lady in Nigeria that a lot of us as citizens of the country do not have an idea of. This is because, every a number of the wives of Presidents who served as First Ladies have had one issue of corruption or questionable acquisition of fund which have made tongues wag. This have made some wonder if it will be a good idea having a female call the shots in the country. Let us discuss a few cases of First Ladies in the country apart from Patience Jonathan and why it may be quite dicey to consider having a female as president considering how they have acted while close to the corridors of power.
Aisha Buhari is the current First Lady and the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari. Aisha Buhari was seen as being very instrumental to the victory of her husband during the 2015 Presidential elections as she was seen mingling with the common country folks, with pictures of her even frying akara circulating in the internet space at the time.
This made a lot of Nigerians to perceive her as being more sensitive and well cultured, in comparison with the then first lady, Patience Jonathan who had referred to Buhari as brain dead, raising the ire of Nigerians.
However, after Buhari became the President, Nigerians began to hold different view of the First Lady due to the fact that her aide-de-camp was allegedly arrested for diverting her funds to the tune of N2.5 billion. Initial reports claimed that her ADC Mr Baba-Inna was placed under arrest on her orders. Although, the First Lady denied the claims, Nigerians were caught up in wonder as to where and how she was able to get such huge amount of funds as it was claimed that her husband could not even afford the nomination ticket for the All Progressives Congress, Presidential primaries on his own.
This made many to at the time conclude that the First Lady may have not have been following the books to get these proceeds. So she may have been engaging in corrupt acts.
Maryam Abacha, is the wife of former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha. Maryam Abacha was First Lady of the country from 1993 – 1998 when her husband died while still serving in office. Maryam Abacha did a lot of monumental things while occupying the “office” of the First Lady. She had founded the National Hospital in Abuja, which has till this day continued to be a reference point for medical development in the country.
Her husband though, has not been seen in the same light as his wife as although, some see him as a good President, many others see him as a Brutal dictator who looted the country dry. It is not hard to see why some may have such a negative view of the former Head of State, as after he died, hundreds of millions of dollars have been recovered from his loot with a whole lot more still not stashed away. In addition, the World Bank had in 2015, said that the loot of Abacha was too huge to handle.
Below is a video of Abacha’s loot being talked about.
A controversial statement was however attributed to Maryam Abacha when it was reported in some sections of the media that, she had claimed that no matter how much was recovered from the family, they could never be as poor as the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote. This claim may be subject to verification though, but a lot of Nigerians have looked at her as a very corrupt because of her affiliations with her husband and that statement she made above.
Other Notable Top Female Politicians
This is a somewhat worrying trend as we have had a number of other females who have come close to the corridors of power and who have been accused at one point or another of being highly corrupt. There is the case of a former speaker of the House of Reps, Patricia Etteh, who was accused of authorizing the release of $5 million for the renovation of her office. This of course put her in the bad books of Nigerians who blasted her.
We also have a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, who is currently a Senator representing Anambra North in the National Assembly. During her time as a Minister in the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration, she was accused of inflating to a ridiculous degree, the prices of bulletproof vehicles which she imported into the country. This caused a lot of uproar from the populace at the time and she eventually had to step down from her position because of the scandal.
Then there is a former Minister of Petroleum in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government as well, Diezani Allison-Madueke, who is still under the radar of the EFCC. She was charged for the missing $20 Billion which was reported in the NNPC under her watch as Minister.
Some have been pushing forward for a female to become the President of the country very soon. But there is a valid question that needs consideration. Are we really ready to have a female as the President of the country at this point? Considering how some of the females who have been in the corridors have acted while holding sway, will there be a major difference in the status quo if one should emerge as the President?
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