First families find rapprochement | The Nation News

First families find rapprochement | The Nation News


After initial turbulence and frostiness in their relationships, the first family and its predecessor appear to be mending fences and affecting congenial attitudes towards each other.

It is no secret that Patience Jonathan, wife of the former president, cried foul over the manner the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) hounded her distraught self and her family directly after they left power.

A witch-hunt, she had said, was what the EFCC was on about, as she was dragged in and out of the courts. Former president Goodluck Jonathan, for his part, was the recipient of ample public chagrin, as he watched his successor onerously narrate and allege (following reports from anti-graft probes and panels) that his government had done so much damage that democracy was standing in the way of swift judicial retribution.

Gone are those days. Hatchets have been buried at train stations.

Only last week, happy news filtered forth from the presidential stables indicating that President Muhammadu Buhari had christened the recently completed 276km Warri-Itakpe rail station in Agbor, Delta State, after his predecessor.

A grateful Dr Jonathan was, three days later, observed at the Presidential Villa, discussing earnestly with the president the situation in Mali, statesman to statesman.

So the image conveyed. In February this year, the inimitable Dame Patience was espied getting along rather nicely with the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, and discussing the affairs of women in Nigeria.

These are good times for both families, and they obviously hope that this newfound spirit of statesmanship will close the curtains on the entertaining but grating vaudeville of accusations that the country knows both families are more than capable of scripting effortlessly.

Strikingly, Dr Jonathan noted while addressing the press on the purpose of his visit that the completion of the rail project was a sign of continuity.

He is right. Successive governments in Nigeria have been accused of lacking a culture of continuity, and uncompleted projects lie strewn across the country, amounting to unaffordable waste of state resources.

The good grace and rapprochement that both families are exhibiting, forgetting the initial locking of horns, should serve as a template for successive first families in Nigeria.

There is much to be said for diplomacy and respect when investigating suspected mismanagement of funds by preceding first families, for there is more to be gained from working with than drawing weapons against each other.

But as Sudan is demonstrating, there is the unresolved dilemma of what to do with a predecessor who clearly flouted the law and abused office.

How does the country get its catharsis?