Barrister Patricia Etteh! Ex-Speaker of House of Representatives Called to Bar


High Life…Amazing lifestyles of Nigeria’s rich and famous 


Patricia Etteh has got the mien of a cat and the heart of a tiger, a Bengali tiger to be precise. Yet she is only Nigerian, and a woman for that matter. While her exit from the House of Representatives hung loosely above her face like a recalcitrant ogre, she lifted herself on feral haunches and smashed the daunting pall of misery and regret. But the beauty of her resurgence exceeds her passion to fight; it is the spirit that she brings to the fight that decides her victory and makes her a formidable foe to the odds. It would be recalled that Etteh was forced to resign as Speaker of the House of Representatives in a celebrated fraud scandal.

In the wake of her travails, Etteh was mocked for being an ordinary hairdresser. She resigned from office in October 2007 following her alleged involvement in a N628 million contract scandal, which many have argued was a false allegation aimed at easing her out of office. Five years after serving as the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives for a few months, not a few people must have thought that Etteh had hit a cul-de-sac. Unlike many of her ilk who after leaving power turn Abuja to their second home where they go to court presidential favour or juicy contracts, Etteh chose to improve her lot and expand her knowledge base, thus the 60 something year old woman enrolled to study Law at the prestigious Buckingham University, United Kingdom and was called to the Nigerian bar some days ago.

Etteh is one of the major casualties of Nigeria ’s stuttering democracy. By a process that still smacks of high-wired politics, the beautician turned lawmaker who is close to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, became speaker of the House of Representatives in June 2007. It was the first time ever that a woman would be a speaker in the lower house. But her tenure was short following a power play that eased her out of office.

The evil day arrived the doorstep of Sally Mbanefo like a twilight of ruin and eternal damnation. When it did, the ravishing Director General (DG) of the National Tourism Development Commission (NTDC), lost vigour and equilibrium. Sally is indeed shaken to the bones over her sudden sack from her office atop the tourism board. As you read, her once succulent lips are blemished, her beautiful, shiny eyes have sunk back into their sockets and the gaiety in her strides have yielded to a staccato of wobbly steps. Sally is deeply hurt by the manner in which the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government cast her aside. Despite what she considered her impressive pedigree and exploits in the industry, the Nigerian federal government dumped her like a weary and broken steed.

Few people would forget in a hurry, the hype and fanfare that greeted her emergence as the new boss of the NTDC, immediately after Otunba Segun Runsewe, was booted out of the high office. Since Runsewe’s removal by former President Goodluck Jonathan, the tourism sector has failed to fly. Pundits aver that Sally could not run the agency well because she lacks the skills to manage such a challenging agency. Now that she has been sacked, staff of NTDC are joyous and hopeful of a more prosperous era under a new boss.