(Continued from THE SECRETARY AND THE PERM SEC: A TALE OF TWO FIRSTS)
Appointment as Secretary of State and Permanent Secretary: January 21st 2009 Hilary Rodham Clinton resigned from the senate and took the oath of office as Secretary of State. America received this differently as some people questioned her role after her heavy criticism of President Barack Obama during the Democratic Primaries. Others celebrated her candour in offering her expertise to Obama’s government while paving the way for her to run for presidency in 2016. Dame Patience Faka Jonathan announcement as permanent secretary in her native Bayelsa state on 12th July 2012 was trailed by controversy. The country questioned the logic of handing a sensitive civil service position to the President’s wife after she had been away from the job for 13years. Patience has since tried to downplay the position by insisting that she has no intention of going to work in Bayelsa State nor will she be paid for the job.
Controversy with the law: Hilary has had scandals like ‘whitewater’, ‘travelgate’ and ‘filegate’. Accusations were made that Hillary Clinton had requested files and that she had recommended hiring an unqualified individual to head the White House Security Office. The final Independent Counsel report in 2000 found no substantial or credible evidence that Hillary Clinton had any role or showed any misconduct in the matter.
Patience came under investigation for money laundering in 2006. Anti-corruption officials alleged that she tried to launder some $13.5m (£8.5m) and was picked up at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. Without enough evidence, the EFCC was forced to drop the matter.
Little known facts: From 1978 to 1993 when they entered the White House, Hilary had a higher salary than that of her husband. Hilary also won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for It Takes a Village in 1997. When Hilary was only thirteen, she found proof of electoral fraud against Republican candidate Richard Nixon. Bill Clinton’s campaign promise of “two for the price of one” led opponents to refer derisively to the Clintons as “co-presidents” and sometimes as Billary.
Patience is said to be a very savvy mathematician despite her less than ideal grasp of the English language.
Hilary is the first female Senator from the state of New York in 2006. During her reelection with 6 other men, she got a record 63% of the total votes. In 2008 she made American history by winning more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate ever. Newsweek ranked her as the 13th most powerful person on the planet, and the most powerful American woman ahead of Michele Obama, Melinda Gates and Oprah. In Gallups 2011 poll, she was named the most admired woman by Americans for the tenth straight time and the sixteenth time overall. This is an award shared by the likes of Pope John Paul, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and Obama.
Clinton published a weekly syndicated newspaper column titled “Talking It Over” from 1995 to 2000, Patience continues to have videos of her speeches remixed and syndicated on different social media platforms.
Conclusions to my rambling: Now I know some people are wondering why I took the time to delve into the past and place the two women side by side. The reason is that I couldn’t resist the temptation to see why the women are held differently seeing as they have too so much in common.
It also tells me that for women in 2012, it is somewhat easy to get into power: all you have to do is marry the right man. Where the difference lays is where you will be after your husband leaves office. Right now, one country eagerly waits to usher their secretary to the presidency, the other country can’t wait to usher out the president and his secretary.
For Hillary, some of her most influential positions and accomplishments came after Bill left office, and her star only seems to be rising as she is touted as the most likely candidate to succeed Obama in 2016. On the other hand, if Dame Patience Jonathan doesn’t take up life in the civil service, we simply have to wait and see if she aims for something higher. Nothing is impossible: this is Nigeria anyways…