Legend has it that while the two were studying law in Yale, Hilary saw Bill at a bar drinking away his sorrows after being dumped by another woman. He had the good looks, charm, gift of garb, and a way with women. She struck up a conversation with him and the rest is history.
Sadly, after all my research, I have been unable to come up with the true story of how Jonathan met Patience. (Maybe someone can help us with that story in the comments section.)
Both women spent time teaching in the class room before their husbands became governors in Bayelsa and Arkansas States respectively. Although their lives are widely discussed on newspapers and television shows, this is an attempt to go beneath the surface and look closely at the women behind the names. Ladies and gentlemen, the dramatic rise of Hilary Rodham Clinton, the 67th United States Secretary of State and Dame Patience Jonathan, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education Bayelsa State.
Hillary graduated Wellesley at age 22 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her fellow students pressured her into becoming the first student in Wellesley College history to deliver a commencement address. After her speech she received a seven minute standing ovation. After the assassination of Martin Luther King, she worked and organized a two-day student strike and worked with black students to recruit more black students and faculty. She was also elected president of the Government Association and served until early 1969. Many of her fellow school mates thought that she might eventually become the first woman President of the United States.
Patience Faka Jonathan was a quiet student during her time in university. Her mates recall a shy student who did not like unnecessary attention and did not get noticed unless she really wanted to. She generally went about minding her business instead.
Education: When Patience was 19, she earned her school certificate and passed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) at 23. When she was 32, she obtained the National Certificate of Education (NCE) in Mathematics and Biology from the Rivers State College of Arts and Science. She then proceeded to the University of Port Harcourt and studied Biology and Psychology.
Hilary attended Maine East High School, where she participated in student council, the school newspaper, and was selected for National Honor Society and was a National Merit Finalist who graduated in the top five percent of her class of 1965. At age 18, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, with departmental honors in political science. At age 26 she graduated law school and a year later received her first professional doctorate from Yale.
Teaching Career: Hilary was one of the only two professors in Fayetteville Arkansas. She gave classes in criminal law, where she was considered a rigorous teacher and tough grader, and was the first director of the school’s legal aid clinic. She left the post after her husband took his oath of office.
Patience started her career as a teacher at the Stella Maris College, Port Harcourt and Sports Institute Isake. She then moved to the banking sector but later returned to the classroom briefly again as teacher. Eventually she was transferred to the Bayelsa State Ministry of Education, where she served until 29 May 1999 when her husband became the Deputy Governor of the state.
National notice and criticism: Hillary first attracted national attention following her seven minutes standing ovation. As a result, she was featured in an article published in Life magazine. Later that summer, she worked her way across Alaska, washing dishes in Mount McKinley National Park and sliming salmon in a fish processing cannery in Valdez. Before the Democratic primaries in 2009, Hilary faced criticism from conservatives and the press after rumors that she underwent plastic surgery to swing younger voters.
Patience first attracted national attention and criticism for her bad grammar and famous struggle with English language. She came into sharper focus during the PDP primaries in 2011 at the age of 54 after her infamous umblerra speech where she asked voters to “pless their hand” for PDP. She has since been the brunt of many jokes and has continued to exasperate Nigerians with her refusal to speak either broken English or her mother tongue. Later that year, she spent a few months fixing her physical looks, appearing in a tasteful spread in a national daily that showed her spectacular transformation.
Influence as governor’s wife: Hilary continued to practice at the Rose Law firm during Bill’s tenure as governor of Arkansas and was twice listed as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America. She was also named the first female partner of the prestigious firm. In one of the Clinton governorship’s most important initiatives, she fought a prolonged but ultimately successful battle against the Arkansas Education Association, to establish mandatory teacher testing and state standards for curriculum and classroom size.
Although Jonathan’s term in office was short, she received the “Beyond The Tears” International Humanitarian for her role in the global fight against HIV/AIDS; the African Goodwill Ambassador Award, and the “Wind of Change” Award from a South/South Women’s Organization. She founded many philanthropic and women empowerment programs, among them; the A-Aruere Reachout Foundation (AARF),which she set up to improve the status and earning capacity of Nigerian women and youths.
Marriage, family and public scrutiny: For both women, the state of their marriage has always been the subject of considerable speculation. Hilary stood by Bill during his infamous affair and trial on the Monika Lewinski saga, but the country was evenly split in their opinion of her. Some argued that it was a marriage of convenience and she only stayed in it to further her political career, others applauded her for the courage it took to salvage her marriage after Bill’s infidelity.
Patience is said to wear the pants in her marriage. In 2011, social media was abuzz with stories of physical violence on the President by the first lady Patience Jonathan. She is also rumored to be a constant threat to the life of her husband’s mistress and mother of his Kid(s). The two kids have never been publicly claimed or discussed by Patience and those in the know insist they were birthed by the sister to Diezani Alison-Madueke, the current Minister for petroleum.
(To be continued…)