Globally, the nexus between democracy and peace
is intertwined and related by direct variation. Many
people say democracy is a representative system
based on elections through universal suffrage, with
entrenched freedom of expression and association,
within a nation-state.
Indeed, war itself – the negation of peace or civil
unrest – is not unassociated with democracy. Civil
unrest in the form of local insurrections, inter-group
hostilities and unrest resulting from the siege on the
lawmaking institutions which played out in Rivers
and Ekiti States in recent times.
According to a disturbing report from the
internationally reputable GlobalSecurity.org, Nigeria
has one of the highest rates of internal violence in
the world. Unlike others with similar levels of
bloodshed such as Colombia or Chechnya, there is
no civil war going on.
“Between 1999 and 2006 alone, over 50,000 wer
killed in ethno-religious violence and over 80,000
displaced”, the report says.
Terrorism has not helped our pains, it has rather
worsened the security situation of Nigeria, leading
to the deaths of over 15,000 Nigerians and the
displacement of over three million others in the last
Given the above premises and the volatility of the
system, when persons in the corridors of power,
either by election, appointment, marriage or
nepotism publicly preach violence like Dame
Patience Jonathan, wife of President Goodluck
Jonathan, did at Calabar, Cross River State recently,
it calls for serious concerns and national
emergency. Mrs. Jonathan will be referred to as
Dame for the rest of this piece. Simply, Dame.
At this juncture, it is necessary to make some
concessions. It is quite true that I have closely
followed the activities of Dame since she stumbled
on national limelight. When Nigerians criticise and
lampoon her for abuse of diction and upturning of
semantics, I deliberately don’t join the bandwagon.
The Dame I always see is the strong, confident and
energetic Dame that Bashorun Dele Momodu wrote
about recently. Most importantly, a supportive wife
to her husband, President Jonathan. Like an
American Comedian, Groucho Marx, once remarked,
“behind every successful man is a woman….”. It will
be difficult and practically impossible for any writer
to attempt to perfectly capture the successes of
President Jonathan without references to Dame’s
However, the same Dame who is supposedly
supportive, at least to my knowledge, is sabotaging
her husband, President Jonathan. Not done with
that, the same Dame is about to throw our dear
country, Nigeria, into needless confusion and
“If you see anybody mentioning change, stone that
person to death,” Dame reportedly said to market
women at the PDP women rally in Calabar, Cross
Rivers State on February 25. Invariably, she had
simply encouraged her supporters to kill all
members of opposition All Progressives Congress
who dare chant the party’s slogan, change!
This statement was evidently condemnable. Political
parties, groups, Nigerians consequently chided
Dame for preaching violence but Dame remains
remorseless. To Dame, a retraction was
unnecessary and an apology to Nigerians was
asking for too much.
After the APC reportedly dragged her to the
International Criminal Court, Dame was persuaded
to at least react to the saga. Dame fumbled again.
Dame’s reaction, through her media aide, Ayo
Adewuyi, reads partly: “She is a woman of peace
that can never be identified with electoral violence.
“The only thing we can say from here is that Dame
Patience Jonathan is a woman of peace that can
never in any way be identified with violence before,
during and after elections.
“You do not expect somebody who is the President
of African First Ladies to be promoting violence.”
That was a weak reaction. It was either Adewuyi,
Dame’s laundryman, didn’t get the issues at hand or
he deliberately misinterpreted the issues. Or merely
pulled a weak stunt.
Nigerians are not interested in those commentaries,
Nigerians simply expect Dame to outrightly deny
preaching violence or admit, retract her statement
and apologise to them. Of course, outright denial is
not an option because Dame was caught pants
Indeed, Adewuyi made an interesting remark. It is
true that Nigerians didn’t expect the President of
African First Ladies to be promoting violence but
reality has shown that Dame is doing exactly what
she is expected to preach against.
But can anyone really blame Adewuyi? When Mr.
President himself had the opportunity to react to a
similar hate and condemnable statement made by
Dame about the APC presidential candidate, General
Muhammadu Buhari, he refused to impress anyone.
Through Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, the spokesman of
his presidential campaign, Mr. President said Dame
was “absolutely right”. Really?
It would be an understatement to say President
Jonathan had openly encouraged his wife, Dame, to
continue with the hate and violence campaign.
Reasonable Nigerians, including myself, have found
Mr. President’s statement outrightly embarrassing
and unacceptable. We wondered if this is the same
president that has consistently warned politicians
against making unguarded utterances that could
heat up the already-heated polity. Mr. Jonathan
failed the simple task of calling his personal
property, Dame, to order. I make bold to say, Mr.
Jonathan himself is culpable. Read more on Opinions.Ng