Decontee Sawyer: Grieving Widow, Daft Bimbo or Self-Seeking Narcissist? By Hussaina Ishaya Audu
When at first I read Decontee Sawyer’s attempt to excuse away the irresponsible conduct of her husband, Patrick Sawyer(Premium Times, August 13 2014), I was truly peeved. She should just have kept quiet. That way, we wouldn’t even have known of her existence. Then I read it a second time, and then a third time. I was searching for a clue that would suggest sincere distress arising from inconsolable grief over the loss of a soul mate, friend and lover. Anything to explain why she would write a post on her facebook wall that could potentially aggravate the injury caused by Patrick Sawyer’s inexplicable crime and attract to herself negative attention and subject her to a slew of justified insults. Donning on my sleuth’s hat, I considered Mrs Sawyer’s reckless, selfish, unintelligent and insensitive remarks and came up with the following hypotheses:
- Decontee, grief-stricken by the untimely death of her husband and overcome by the pain of the demonization of the man she loved, the man who brought ebola into Nigeria, wanted only to humanize her dear departed Patrick by presenting the picture of a dying man, disillusioned with his own country’s healthcare system and desperate to save his life.
Thus, she wrote: “He had told me many times in the past how much he didn’t trust the Liberian healthcare system. He would tell me how a person would get checked in for one thing, and get misdiagnosed and get the wrong treatment as a result.” Is it possible then, that Patrick Sawyer, whose own sister had just died of the dreaded disease, suspected that she had been misdiagnosed and reluctant to submit to the same fate, fled his country in search of The Truth?
Why Nigeria though? Why not America? He was a Liberian-American, and his dear wife, Decontee, lives and works in America. Was Mrs Sawyer implying that Mr Sawyer came to Nigeria in search of a medical miracle because he respected our superior healthcare system? That is what she would like us to believe: “He didn’t tell me this, but I know in my heart of hearts that Patrick was determined to get to Nigeria by all means because he felt that Nigeria would be a place of refuge.” Oh, please, Decontee! Seriously??? Why would anyone seek treatment for a disease in a country that has neither expertise nor experience in the treatment of that disease by virtue of the fact that it had never handled a single case of that disease before? That doesn’t make sense. Let me tell you what does make sense: America wouldn’t have let him in. I suspect that rigorous immigration procedures would have subjected him to merciless scrutiny since he was coming from Liberia. If at all he wanted to get help from somewhere else, it had to be a country with loose border controls which would not question the plausibility of his reason for entry and allow him to slip through the cracks.
This would indicate a calculating mind that trusted Nigeria’s inability to safeguard the welfare of her citizens. If the intention was to soften our opinion of Patrick Sawyer, it doesn’t work.
- Decontee, guilt-ridden by her husband’s foolishness and unable to bear the thought of his culpability in the death of at least four Nigerians and the reckless endangerment of 167 million more, and aware of our gullibility as a nation sought to redeem Patrick Sawyer’s image and douse the flames of our fury with a placatory tale of his belief in our superior healthcare system.
In light of the speed with which the bitter kola cure rumour and the salty cure rumour spread via social media, who would doubt the gullibility of Nigerians? If we can believe such rubbish, why not the nonsense about him seeking refuge here? Quite plausible.
- Decontee is a narcissistic opportunist who, seeking quick, cheap and easy popularity, ceases the publicity occasioned by her husband’s notoriety as a launching pad to promote herself.
Who had heard of Decontee before now? She signs on to facebook on August 9th, just two weeks after Mr Sawyer’s death, and spins a tale that is guaranteed to attract unprecedented attention to herself. She arrogates to herself a profound and private knowledge of Patrick : “I knew Patrick better than anybody else, including himself”, and“He didn’t tell me this, but I know in my heart of hearts…” She poses a perspective which only she, “as Patrick’s widow” possesses and on his behalf, and with great indignation, rebukes the Liberian President for daring to condemn Patrick’s reckless conduct.
Narcissistic? Opportunistic? Entirely plausible.
- Decontee, is just plain daft.
Patrick didn’t tell her but she is convinced he came to Nigeria seeking refuge in light of his disease. She speculates: “I bet anything that he was thinking, if I could only get to Nigeria, a way more developed country than Liberia, I would be able to get some help.” Really? She really believes this dribble and expects us to do so as well? That’s just daft!
- Decontee is as selfish as Patrick was. They were birds of the same feather and should be tarred with the same brush.
She writes: “(Patrick) wouldn’t want to take a chance with his life because a lot of people depended on him… Patrick had a passion for life, and he wouldn’t have wanted his to end.” He didn’t want to take a chance with his life, but he took a chance with the lives of 167 million people? He had a passion for life, and we don’t? He wouldn’t have wanted his to end, but it’s alright for the lives of Nigerians to end?
What’s most irksome is that Mrs Sawyer doesn’t seem to recognise her remarks as an affront to Nigerians! Was her husband’s desire to save his life at the expense of Nigerians justifiable? Are the lives of Nigerians less valuable than Mr Sawyer’s?
You know what was missing from Mrs Sawyer’s post? An apology on her husband’s behalf. Regret that a possible pandemic may have (God forbid!) been unleashed into Africa’s most populous country.
Therefore, rather than defend ‘a man who can no longer defend himself’, Decontee ought rather to apologise on behalf of a man who can no longer apologise himself, and on behalf of Patrick Sawyer, show contrition for the Nigerians lives lost so far to ebola, and the risk we have all been exposed to. Either that, or Mrs Decontee Sawyer should simply shut up.
Ms. Ishaya Audu, a lawyer, and a school administrator, is a member of the Premium Times editorial board. She writes a Friday column from Abuja