Nigeria News

NIGERIA: An Iron and Fisty Lady

Fatima shemaEven in this era when many public office holders have profaned public office, a recent development in Katsina State would have shocked many.

The wife of the governor of the state, Hajiya Fatima Shema was reported to have issued a letter sacking Hajiya Hadiza Ibrahim, a female councillor in Matazu Local government area of the state from office.

The action provoked immediate controversy on cyberspace with the theme “Power drunk first lady sacks councillor.”

The letter terminating the election of the councillor reportedly issued on the instruction of the Katsina Iron Lady entitled “Termination of Appointment” and dated December 27, 2012, read thus:

“I am directed by the Office of Her Excellency, Hajiya Dr. Fatima Ibrahim Shehu Shema, to issue you this letter of termination in view of your unkindly like misconduct and behavior.”

Remarkably, no constitutional provision was given for the directive from Mrs. Shema.

However, further reports claim that the sack of the female councillor followed an altercation between her and the wife of the chairman of Mutazu Local government area.

It is not difficult to decipher that the first lady of Mutazu local government area would have reported the incident to Mrs. Shema who reportedly turned against the councillor.

Whether the two Matazu women, the local government first lady and the councillor, exchanged blows has not been disclosed. But the local first lady, was, nevertheless embarrassed by the challenge from the elected councillor leading to the annulment of her election by the unelected Katsina First Lady.

The development in the state is only an escalation of the rascality that the First Lady syndrome has been stretched into in these shores.

It is even remarkable that the woman who has caused this is married to Dr. Ibrahim Shema, a lawyer and urbane gentleman who in his days before his election was known for his humility. Whether power has entered into the governor is something this correspondent cannot confirm, but it would not be too difficult given the toxicity of power in this country.

It is, however, reassuring that Governor Shema was quick to dissociate his administration from the predacious inclinations of his spouse.

Government officials were quick to restore the councillor to her office within days. Their response nonetheless, the action of the first lady inevitably casts a shadow on her democratic inclinations.

That an unelected individual, man or woman, beast or beauty, living at public expense could strip a democratically elected councillor of her powers is confounding and denigrates the very tenets of democracy.

This nauseating pollution of our democracy is, however, not totally surprising. Wives of elected public officials have taken the country hostage, appropriating in the bedroom, powers that they were never so given in the constitution.

Now, a First Lady would make donations of money and other tangibles without a disclosure of how and where they are sourcing the funds from.

The pretentious poise of the First Ladies at all levels must be addressed and it behoves their husbands to in the first place call them to order. But the husbands have remarkably, failed in directing their spouses unto good behaviour. Across all tiers of government, the first ladies have transformed into monstrous deities who have carved out their separate shrines for personal glory and worship.

Like their spouses, they monopolise government aircraft, vehicles and resources for personal runs that make scorn of government accountability. Many have gone forward with the establishment of the Office of the First Lady, and that, backed with public funds.

Many of these women forget the injunction that a good name is better than riches. Remarkably, they would also not have heard of the original Iron Lady, Baroness Thatcher who did not ride on her husband’s back to become an Iron Lady. It is a shame.

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