PATRICIA ETTEH

Like a cat with nine lives or a wildfire that wouldn’t quench, former Speaker, Patricia Etteh, has re-emerged on the political scene. This time around, she reignites like a wildfire in harmattan ravaging the fields of rural farmers. But if Etteh is the inferno, who are the rural farmers? His political detractors perhaps. Against all odds, she has been appointed as Chairman of National Abuja Hospital by President Muhammadu Buhari. Interestingly, Patricia 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 disgraceful exit from the House of Representatives hung loosely above her fate 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. 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. Etteh is one of the major casualties of Nigeria ’s stuttering democracy.

By a process that still smacks of manipulations, the beautician turned lawmaker became speaker of the House of Representatives in June 2007.