The awful revelation of First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan last Sunday of how she died and rose up after seven days, has continued to attract mixed reactions, with most Nigerians condemning the presidency's decision at the time for being economical with the truth. But the expository series handed down by the principal character herself raises serious concern about what could be termed voodoo politics around the seat of power which is enough food for thought.
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Beyond the thanks giving, the grand reception, the tear-jerking revelation of her travail in a German hospital and the angst by not a few Nigerians over what they consider as duplicity on the part of their leaders, First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan's recount of her experience last Sunday raises a conundrum about the country's seat of power. The underlying message is simple. Aso Rock presidential villa had been made a death trap for the chief occupant- the president. Either himself, his spouse or relative must die inside the villa, judging from Dame’s testimony.
Reactions that have so far trailed first lady's expository tale of her eight weeks medical sojourn abroad are mere totem with no recourse to the substance. Many Nigerians expressed anger that upon the gravity of her ailment, the presidency spin Doctors were feeding them with lies that she was not sick, but only traveled on a vacation. Beyond the fury, there is point to sympathise with the media team here. They also work under instruction by their principals- to either inform the public or just keep mum. Besides, who would want to make critical condition of someone who is believed to be victim of voodoo politics public for the voodoo expert to be able to monitor the fecundity of their fetish portion on their prey?
As it is, what should be of utmost concern now is how to trace the nest of killers within the country’s power circle to avoid any recurrence. Dame Patience said she was lucky, unlike her predecessor, Stella Obasanjo who could not make it out of a similar medical situation in Spain. "I remember when Chief Obasanjo was the President of the country. I was close to his late wife, Stella. We worshipped together in this chapel. It was a painful moment for me at that time when she died and her corpse was brought here. That was how my corpse would have been brought here. It was not an easy experience for me. I actually died. I passed out for more than a week. My intestine and tummy were opened," she said at the thanks giving service at Aso Rock Chapel.
The implication here is that any other subsequent president or his wife who comes to Aso Rock unprotected with the power of the holy ghost or charm - you can call it Ogenegbo - in the case of those who believe in human juju rather than the saving grace of the most high might just die like Stella. Worst still, if this voodoo power game as claimed chooses the president himself as its victims, as in the case of late former President, Umar Musa Yar'Adua, the country will be helplessly plunged into another constitutional crisis which even the David Mark led Senate’s doctrine of necessity may not rescue this time around.
Like joke, the First Lady left for Germany on September 3, 2012 unoticed. Before she returned on October 19, her health condition became a topic for a heated debate. In a dramatic manner, the presidency and the public played hide and seek- something close to the nursery rhyme: "Who is in the garden? A little fine girl. Should I come and see her? No no no no". Denying that she was ill, Special Assistant on Media to the Dame, Mr. Ayo Osinlu wondered what was wrong for the first lady to take time out and rest. All these, perhaps, could be borne out fear that any information divulged about her state of health could enable those responsible for death trap in Aso Rock gauge the fire under their fetish cauldron "like cannons overcharged with double cracks".
Now it is on record that Nigeria boast of a first lady who died and rose on the 7th day, a miracle more miraculous than that of the biblical Lazarus which she likened her situation to. Hear Dame Patience: "I am not Lazarus, but my experience was similar to his. My doctors said all hope was lost. A black doctor in London, who is with us in this service, was flown in when the situation became critical. It was God himself in His infinite mercy that said I will return to Nigeria. God woke me up after seven days."
Absolving her media team of alleged duplicity and to make it clear that they too were working under instruction not to leak such sensitive information yet, she said: "I know that some people somehow leaked the information that I was dead. They are people that I trust and rely on. To them, I was dead and I would never return to the country alive. Some of them even sold my things off. I won’t say everything here. It is the Lord's doing that I returned alive. When God says yes, nobody can say no. People are always afraid of operation [surgery] but in my own case, while my travail lasted, I was begging for it (surgery) after the third operation because I was going to the theatre everyday. It was God who saw me through. I did eight or nine surgeries within one month. It was not an easy one."
Also note from the above quote that she did not even tell everything she went through. "I won't say everything here." If she had, maybe Nigerians would have been more worried about the death trap in Aso Rock, especially politicians eying the the country's number one seat. There is no doubt that this might even make the country's presidency so unpopular that the number of those seeking to occupy Aso Rock would begin to reduce abysmally. Whichever way one looks at it, Dame’s story is a great lesson and a good case study in the country’s political clime.
Her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan confirmed this death tyrap in Aso Rock when he said the recovery of his wife would put an end to the mystery of death of a leader or spouse at the seat of power in Aso Rock. Noting that the same spectre of death hung around him when he became president, with many predictions about him or his wife dying, Jonathan said, "Thank God for keeping the life of my wife. If anything would have happen to her there would have been many stories. The fake prophets would have had their predictions fulfilled."
On the anger of Nigerians that they had been misinformed all the while until Sunday when the Dame came up with her testimony, a public commentator likened her case to the woman in the bible said to have been caught in adultery. "We indeed thank God for the life of this wonderful woman. Certainly, if all the people abusing and cursing her on the social network page and on facebook claim they have never lied in their life time or say they were in point A when they were at point B, they should go ahead and cast their stones. Well I pray for all of you that you will never find yourself in a situation where you can't trust anyone around you because you don't know who is for you or against you at a time you are sick to the point of death. Please, be careful what you wish others and be slow to pass judgement. If God said yes to her, what you people write on paper cannot change the mind of God," the public commentator wrote.
But what is more exciting in addition here is that Nigeria now has a new kind of first lady whose awful encounter with death has necessitated her repentance on the seat of power. To this effect, noting that Aso Rock Villa must be regarded as the nation's centre of power and authority and not the devil’s playground, Dame Patience said, "It is, therefore, the Grace of God, expressed in his kindness and mercy, and the supplications of you all that I stand before you today, as a living testimony to the goodness of the Lord. It is our spiritual duty to sanctify and declare it the city of God, where only the will of God shall always prevail. This is especially so when you remember that I emerged from a situation that can be said to defy logic and even challenged medical science.
"The day I came back, I said God I have nothing to say, I offer myself to you. I will be doing things that will touch the lives of the less privilege God gave me second chance because I reached there. He knew I have not completed the assignments He gave me, which was why I was sent back," she added, saying she had decided to re-dedicate herself to the service of God, the Nigerian women, youths, children, the less-privileged, the vulnerable, the poor and the disadvantaged.