How I Became A ‘Prominent’ Lady
(Letter From A Women Leader Of A Nigerian Political Party)
By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
I was sufficiently provoked by your recent column captioned, “Criminalisation Of Poverty,” to share my great and exciting success story with your numerous readers.
Let me start by proudly informing you that I am a prominent, highly-placed lady, a distinguished member of the nation's ruling elite, highly-connected political leader, a super organiser and one of those who decide the future and direction of our great nation, Nigeria.
I worked really hard to attain my present exalted status, so no columnist should be jealous of me.
I am very happy and fulfilled. Today, in my community, state and nationally, I am highly respected and always applauded as one of the “illustrious daughters” of the land and a role model, despite what some of you journalists may consider as the unflattering route I took in my rapid journey to the top. Well, not all of you are unappreciative of my person and status, any way. And so, I can only pleasantly ignore the noisy few who continue to think that I do not deserve any respect.
I regularly read brilliant reports full of flowery descriptions of my person in the media, especially, when I hold my usually great parties or attend public functions. But whether you would choose to accept it or not, in this our great country, once someone has “made it”, that is, achieved real financial, political and social success as I have done, and is also willing to occasionally dole out some crispy Naira notes, the person would become an instant celebrity; and anyone trying to question his or her integrity would be impatiently dismissed as an irritant and insufferably jealous.
Right now, I have two highly-rated chieftaincy titles, one conferred on me by the traditional ruler of my community (where I was practically a 'nobody' only a few years ago) and the other by a highly respected traditional ruler in another state. I am equally arranging to have a reputable University offer me an honorary doctoral degree to add more dignity, sophistication and intellectual colour to my already high status.
My Special Assistant, a former University lecturer, obtained his PhD from a very reputable University in the United States. And my driver? Well, he was always on top of his class while at the University. I always relish the way they worshipfully respect me even to the point of self-debasement, and would quickly cringe, bow and lavishly wet me with profuse apologies at the faintest hint that they may have performed below my expectation of them. Of course, I always consider it beneath me to betray the slightest sign that I enjoy it all.
I have choice properties at highly coveted privileged spots in Lagos and Abuja, and my country home stands out as an exquisite palace befitting my current status. I have no interest in owning houses abroad, so I only reluctantly agreed, after so much pressure from friends and fellow party stalwarts, to purchase a 'little mansion' in London.
I am not in the least ashamed of my very humble beginnings. When I finished secondary school, my father had dismissed me as a horrendous disappointment because of my dismal performance. And just like I had failed at school, I also was unable to learn to sew very well, and was always quarrelling with customers I had messed up their dresses at my shop in my State Capital where I had relocated.
My boyfriend, at that time, was the personal driver of a prominent politician. He lived in the Boys Quarters in the man's massive compound where they stayed each time he was in town.
One day, my boyfriend agreed that I should visit him at home, but on the condition that I introduce myself as his cousin.
That suited me perfectly, because I had my own plans too. Everyone agreed I was a very beautiful girl, an asset that helped me through secondary school since I was a favourite of my male teachers. And so as the Security Man admitted me into the massive compound and called my boyfriend to inform him he had a visitor, his boss suddenly appeared from the house and barked at his direction:
“Who is she?!” he asked with a malevolent scowl, which did very little to obscure the undisguised lust with which his eyes devoured me.
“My cousin.” My bobo answered almost quaking.
“Okay,” the man said, smiling nicely now.
Later, he invited me into the massive mansion “to welcome me properly,” and from there I entered a good, exciting life I never imagined existed…
Chief was simply mad about me and took me to many important places in the country and around the world where I met very important people. My (former) boyfriend complained once, but I silenced him by reminding him of his wife and children in the village, showered him with gifts, and occasionally allowed him to sleep with me when Chief travelled without him. Trust me, I can be that generous.
Moreover, you never knew with these drivers; he could pull a surprise one day and Chief would just show me the door and all the good life would suddenly end!
One day, I told Chief I wanted to be a Council Chairman. He was shocked. Chief was such a prominent, formidable godfather in our State, even our governor was anointed and installed by him.
“But you don't have adequate education?”
“What do you mean, Chief? I have a School Certificate. The person who just vacated the office, what had he?”
Then, Chief smiled, and soon after, I was anointed and installed as the Honourable Chairperson of my Local Government Area. My father could not believe it. A great tumult occurred the day I rode into our community with my convoy to receive a distinguished Chieftaincy title conferred on me by our traditional ruler at a very impressive and well-attended Civic Reception organized by the community in honour of their “illustrious daughter.”
I didn't want a second term, so Chief got the Governor to appoint me a Senior Special Adviser on Youth and Cultural Affairs, and later Honourable Commissioner for Women and Youth Affairs.
Then, my foreign trips increased tremendously, some with Chief, and many others to attend any conference on anything (no matter how insignificant) that had to do with youths or women even in the remotest part of the earth. Although I owe my appointment to Chief's awesome influence, I nevertheless lured my Governor to my nest, and soon, he also became my active supporter, although he always made Chief believe he did it because of him, since he knew he could be impeached the very next day if Chief found out about our affair.
Chief soon announced me widely at the national level as a formidable “Women Leader” and powerful “grassroots mobilizer” from his State, and with his support, that of my Governor and the State Chairman of our party (whom I also was sharing very secret moments with), my visibility and prominence at the national level in our great party grew with incredible speed. Chief wanted me to the go to House of Representatives, but I preferred a national appointment (which I still retain).
I have an excellent Press Secretary who ensures I am in the news always, and everything I say or do gets duly reported. He also helps ensure that my 'secrets' do not crawl onto the pages of soft-sale magazines.
I have invested massively and wisely. Apart from Chief, I have also used other powerful party bigwigs who had lusted after me to get the things I want. They have already anointed me as the next Deputy Governor of my State.
I have also acquired significant influence of my own so much so that it is only on rare cases now that I require Chief's intervention to get whatever I want. I recently launched an NGO to promote morality, honesty and hard work in youths, and regularly speak at youth forums where I draw from my exceptional personal example (I don't care if you laugh scornfully at this) to warn them on the dangers of promiscuousness and corner-cutting.
This is my story, Ugochukwu.
And I must tell you, as a prominent member of the ruling class, the present Administration is on course, serious about its war against corruption, and has the capacity to make this nation one of the greatest in the next couple of years. I therefore solicit the support of vocal Nigerians like you, for the president's excellent programmes and war against corruption.
Very soon, our nation will be ushered into a glorious era of unimaginable prosperity. We are here to ensure that happens. Trust us.
I am Chief (Ms.)…[Name Withheld]