Chido Onumah: The Risen First Lady

Published:22 Feb, 2013

I join millions of Nigerians in giving thanks to God for the miraculous survival of the country’s First Lady, Dame (Dr.) Patience Goodluck Jonathan. It is not every day you read such cheery news about a First Lady that rose from the dead. It is only befitting, therefore, that it should cost Nigerian taxpayers half a billion naira to celebrate her death and resurrection.

 

Now that the First Lady is back, hale and hearty, perhaps an apology might just be apposite; for the God of miracles is also a God that abhors lies and deception. Let’s put in perspective the whole episode of the First Lady’s disappearance, appearance, rumours and speculations about her whereabouts and her candour about going to the great beyond and returning to complete her work on earth, and maybe understand why the demand for an unreserved apology, even if not sufficient, seems to be the minimum penance acceptable.

 

For a visible First Lady, her noticeable absence from major public events last August was bound to stir a feeling of disquiet. After much speculation about her whereabouts, we were told she was “resting in Germany” following her hectic schedule hosting the African First Ladies Summit a month earlier. Then there was the secret visit by President Goodluck Jonathan, accompanied by the chaplain of Aso Villa Chapel, Ven. Obioma Onwuzurumba. From TV footage of the visit, aired on national television, we saw a well-dressed First Lady asking to be allowed to “take picture with my husband”. Dead people don’t take pictures, do they?

 

All the while, the intrepid Saharareporters.com kept updating Nigerians about the true state of things with the First Lady in Germany.  Enter Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Publicity, Dissimulation, Deception and other matters. The spin and dissembling went into overdrive. Abati alerted us that, “The video clip aired by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) was a confirmation that the President’s wife was hale and hearty contrary to what some people wanted Nigerians to believe. The video has put paid to all the lies that people who play politics with almost everything have been spreading. It was clear from that video that the scene was not a hospital scene”.

 

Knowing Abati, the public took his revelation with more than a pinch of salt. They wanted to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth; the madam herself, not the “boy-boy”. They waited patiently, hoping that in the end the truth would be revealed. When the First Lady returned to the country after almost two months of well-deserved rest, she was full of gratitude for those who prayed for her safe return and had nothing but curses for all those idle and godless Nigerians who wanted her dead. She thanked Almighty God for bringing her back safely to Nigeria and giving her a second chance. That was her own way of confirming what we already knew about her health. Only the initiated could have decoded the message.

 

For the unbelievers, the First Lady had this message: “Wherever there are good people, there are also bad ones. There are a few Nigerians that are saying whatever they like, not what God planned because God has a plan for all of us. And God has said it all that when two or three are gathered in His name, that He will be with them. And Nigerians gathered and prayed for me and God listened and heard their prayers. So, I thank God for that. God is wonderful and His mercy is forever. At the same time, I read in the media where they said I was in the hospital. God Almighty knows I have never been to that hospital. I don’t even know the hospital they mentioned. I have to explain what God has done for me. I do not have terminal illness, or any cosmetic surgery much less tummy tuck.”

 

That was the end of the matter. Nobody was to discuss why the First Lady spent six weeks in Germany unannounced. Anybody who dared was accused of the high crime of politicising the First Lady’s personal problems. We were reminded it shouldn’t be the case, after all the First Lady is not a public officer and is entitled to her privacy even though the public paid for her well-deserved vacation in Germany.

 

Fast forward to February 17, 2013. Venue: Aso Rock Chapel. The First Lady gathers thousands of people to share her tale of resurrection. She confesses to undergoing nine surgeries in one month in Germany. “I actually died. I passed out for more than a week. My intestine and tummy were opened. It was God himself in His infinite mercy that said I will return to Nigeria. God woke me up after seven days,” the First Lady announced to her captive audience who would have intoned, “Hallelujah, Praise the Lord”.

 

The Dame Patience Jonathan thanksgiving service was the place to be in Nigeria last weekend, not just for those who love the president and his wife, but for people that needed to endear themselves to the Presidency. The guest list included President Goodluck Jonathan; Vice President Namadi Sambo and his wife, Hajia Amina; former President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufour; former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon; 18 state governors, and sundry VIPs.

 

Reports had it that several trucks bearing gifts from government officials and contractors lined the streets of the presidential villa waiting to deliver gifts to the First Lady. Clearly, anybody who didn’t answer the roll call would have been tagged not just an enemy of the First Lady and amongst those who wanted her dead while she was in Germany, but an enemy of the state.  I would have loved the opportunity to partake in this lavish ceremony myself, not just for the food and drink, but to see firsthand what it looks and feels like coming face to face with a risen First Lady. Thanks to the efforts of one John Kennedy Okpara, the offering for the First Lady’s thanksgiving service was a modest N500ml ($3ml). By any standard, it was a good outing for Dame Patience’s chivalry.

 

Of course, this is Nigeria. The idle cynics have started wagging their tongues. They are questioning the First Lady’s credibility. They want to know what has changed between late October when she claimed she was not hospitalised and now. They say the First Lady’s case is emblematic of the credibility crisis of the Jonathan presidency. What else is the government lying about (apart from President Jonathan’s asset declaration) if it can look Nigerians in the eyes and blatantly lie about the health of the First Lady? But, aren’t we are used to our government and its agents lying to us? There is nothing new about the double-speak, arrogance and disdain for truth by public officers in Nigeria. We saw it with the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and his First Lady, Turai.

 

Didn’t Sullivan Chime, Governor of Enugu State, abscond for five months only to return and say he “owed nobody any apology for keeping them guessing throughout the period”. To taper his mendacity about being hospitalised, he threw up these weasel words: “I started treatment and the treatment altogether lasted for twelve weeks. Throughout the period of my treatment, I was an outpatient. I was never admitted in any hospital. All my treatments, I took as an outpatient”.

 

Back to the First Lady. We still don’t know what she was treated for and we may never know. One thing is certain: we are not supposed to question her miraculous comeback. Not many people have the opportunity of experiencing death and coming back to life to tell the story. It is an experience money can’t buy. Which means for the First Lady her future will be committed to “doing things that will touch the lives of the less privileged”.

 

Since the First Lady was sent back to Nigeria to complete her assignment in our god-forsaken nation, my only candid advice would be for her to invest the N500ml ($3ml) offering she collected during her thanksgiving in building a world-class hospital in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, so that she wouldn’t need to abscond from Nigeria the next time she requires treatment.

 

Chido Onumah (conumah@hotmail.com)

via SaharaReporters

Related Posts

Recent Posts

2019: Jonathan’s Loyalists Seek Lifeline For PDP

Loyalists of former President Goodluck Jonathan are trying very hard to end the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2019 general elections, it was learnt Saturday. The loyalists especially former ministers and governors during former administration of Jonathan were said to be visiting different state chapters of the PDP to seek reconciliation among aggrieved PDP members. It was was gathered that Jonathan’s men were working under the auspices of the Ministers’...

Nigerian Becomes First Female To Win VSO Award In UK

Oluwatosin Folarin has won the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) National Youth Volunteer Award for 2016 and is the first Nigerian to win this award.  The 23-year-old graduate was posted to Ilesa in Osun state with fifteen other volunteers for three months. VSO, an International Development Charity works to address poverty under which their volunteers were sent to work in rural communities in order to secure Livelihoods. At the ceremony which took place in the United Kingdom,...

Waziri Responds To Ribadu’s Accusation Of Frustrating Corruption Fight

Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mrs Farida Waziri has challenged her predecessor in the commission Malam Nuhu Ribadu to give account of billions of funds and assets recovered from suspects under his watch as EFCC boss and stop using her name for cheap political cards. A statement signed by her Personal Assistant, Ms Omolara Oluremi on Saturday quotes Mrs Waziri as saying Ribadu had accused her of being ‘’part of his...

Abuja Carnival Providing Credible Platform For National Unity– Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says that the Abuja Carnival has continued to provide a credible platform for national unity, peaceful co-existence and understanding of our ethnically and culturally diverse nation. Buhari said this at the opening of the 2016 Abuja Carnival, with the theme; “The Creative Industry: A Pivot to Economic Growth” in Abuja on Saturday. According to him, the present quest for authentic and homegrown approach to national security, peace and harmony, as well as...

Nigeria, Morocco To Build Gas Pipeline Link

Nigeria and Morocco on Saturday resolved to jointly promote a gas pipeline that will connect the two countries and some other African countries. This was one of the agreement reached during the three-day visit of Moroccan King President Mohammed VI. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Geoffrey Onyema, disclosed this to reporters on Saturday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Onyema said the...

Buhari Hails Victorious Super Falcons

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Nigeria’s Super Falcons on their victory over the senior female football team of Cameroon at the final game of the women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Yaounde. The president described the hard-earned victory over the Indomitable Lionesses as “very sweet and well-deserved”. In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Mr. Buhari commended the Falcons for their “indomitable spirit, resilience and team work” which...

Popular Yoruba actress, Mulikat Adegbola is dead.

Veteran Yoruba actress, Mulikat Adegbola is dead. Adegbola popularly known as Ashabi Iya Adinni died of brief illness. Nollywood actor, Muyiwa Ademola broke the sad news via his instagram page. According to him:“This is quite sad but who are we to question the Almighty? Sleep on Iya Adinni.May the Almighty forgive your sins.” She is popular for her roles in movies like “Ìlù gángan” (2009), “Ogbologbo” (2003) and“Ogbologbo 2” (2003).

Abuja Carnival records poor turnout

The Abuja Carnival which began on Saturday recorded poor turnout of FCT residents. Some of the residents who spoke with the ?News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the carnival should not be the priority of the Federal Government, and that measures should be taken to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians. NAN reports that this year’s carnival was devoid of the usual funfare that used to characterise the event. NAN also observed that some designated streets of the FCT that were usually decorated...

JUST IN: Shehu Sani blames El-Rufai for attack on campaign office

Kaduna State senator, Shehu Sani, on Saturday said the attack on his campaign office in Kaduna was carried out by men working for Governor Nasir el-Rufai. The office was invaded by armed men on Saturday morning. Witnesses said police arrived quickly and stopped the attackers from torching the building. The senator said the attack took place as his social media aides held a meeting. No casualties were immediately reported. Mr. Sani blamed the attack on Mr. el-Rufai in a statement on Saturday afternoon. “Some few...

Kwara Government To Commence Construction of KWASU Campuses in Osi, Ilesha-Baruba

The Kwara State government has approved the construction of two campuses for the Kwara State University in Osi and Ilesha-Baruba at a contract sum of N2.8billion. The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Alhaji Mahmud Ajeigbe, who announced this during a media briefing on Friday, said that the projects will be implemented through through a PPP model under the Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IFK). He stressed that the State government is committed towards ensuring that the university is continually repositioned in order...

Kwara State: Police launches public complaint response unit.

The Kwara State Police Command, in an attempt to ensure that the officers comply with the change begins with me policy of the federal government has launched a unit called ‘Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit’. This is planned to ensure that members of the public are not cheated or maltreated in anyway. The State Commissioner of Police, Olushola Amore, who led other officers in a walk around the major streets and roads in the state capital Ilorin distributed pamphlets to motorists...

Gang hacks nursing mother to death, sells five-month old baby for N300,000

The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, yesterday paraded four alleged notorious crime Syndicate who specialised in armed robberies, murder and child theft for crime bothering on hacking a nursing mother to death, smashing the husband’s head with an axe and stealing their five months old baby.   The CP told newsmen in Owerri, the state capital, that the suspects sold the infant for N300,000 to an already waiting buyer in Okporo community in the Orlu local Government Area...

Illegal Recruitment: Kwara State Government to sanction indicted officials

Five individuals indicted for the illegal recruitment of 971 workers into Kwara State Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) are to face disciplinary action. Addressing journalists on Friday after the State Executive Council(SEC) meeting, the State Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Engr. Musa Yeketi, noted that the affected officials had recruited workers in excess of the number approved by the State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed. According to Yeketi, two of the indicted officers are retired, while the remaining three are still...

Arsenal to make decision on Cazorla future in January

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will make a decision about Santi Cazorla’s future at the club come January. The experienced midfielder’s contract at the Emirates Stadium is due to expire at the end of the season and he has been heavily linked with a move to Atletico Madrid in recent months. Arsenal have an option to extend his stay at the club, though, and Wenger is adamant the 31-year-old’s injury problems do not play a role in deciding whether Cazorla will stay,...

Ifako/Ijaiye residents resort to trekking over restrictions

Residents of Iju-Ishaga, Ogba, Agege and Ifako/Ijaiye areas on Saturday resorted to trekking due to partial road restrictions resulting into heavy traffic over the ongoing Ifako-Ijaiye Federal Constituency By-election in Lagos. There was heavy traffic along Agege/Ogba and Fagba axes; shops were also closed and security men with patrol vans were seen in the areas. Some of the residents who spoke to NAN lamented low publicity as they were not aware of the by-election. Mr Seye Adeoti, a civil servant, said that...

FRSC Officials To Start Bearing Arms

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) says it is taking steps to arm its roadside personnel for their safety.   The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, made this known after detailing an increased rate of personnel casualties at the commission.   This was one of the issues that emanated from the year-ending strategy session convened by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).   Bringing together all state commanders and sector heads of the FRSC, Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi noted...

Damaturu IDP camp records 22 marriages, 81 deliveries in 20 months

No fewer than 22 marriage contracts were sealed and 81 babies delivered in the past 20 months at the Pompomari Internally Displaced Persons camp in Damaturu,  Executive Secretary, Yobe Emergency Management Agency, Musa Jidawa , has disclosed. He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Damaturu on Saturday that the camp, established in March 2015 for IDPs from villages in Gujba Local Government Area displaced by insurgents, also recorded 18 deaths during the period under review. Mr. Jidawa, who is also...

Bodies of Chapecoense crash victims reach Brazil for memorial.

The victims of the Colombian air crash which killed 71 people including almost a football squad, arrived in Brazil on Saturday for a memorial. The bodies left the airport in the Colombian city of Medellin on Friday and were accompanied by representatives of Colombia’s civil aviation authority, soldiers, police officers and rescue workers. Among those killed were 19 first-team players from Brazilian football team Chapecoense. The club will hold a stadium memorial service at its Arena Conda later on Saturday. The stadium’s capacity...

Boko Haram has taught us unforgettable lessons – Ndume

The Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, has said people from Boko Haram affected areas have learnt unforgettable lesson, realised their mistakes and would never allow such to happen again. Mr. Ndume, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) in Yola on Saturday, said that affected communities who were forced to leave their villages and towns are now anxious to return home and were ready to fight back. NAN reports that Mr. Ndume was in Yola , where...

Gambia’s president-elect promises two-term limit for presidency.

Gambian President-elect Adama Barrow on Saturday vowed to work for national unity and economic growth after power was peacefully transferred in the small West African nation for the first time in its history. The real estate mogul pledged to introduce an independent judiciary, promote media freedom, establish a two-term limit for the presidency and make the civil service transparent and accountable. He said that political prisoners would be freed and a truth and reconciliation process to “amend past injustices” launched. “The position...

Eko Disco apologises to Lagos residents for prolonged blackout

The management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company on Saturday apologised to customers for continuous shortage of electricity supply. A statement by Godwin Idemudia, the company’s Head of Corporate Communications in Lagos, blamed the shortage on a drastic reduction in the amount of electricity coming to EKEDC from the national grid. According to the statement, the company could only distribute what was allocated to it from the national grid. “We are, therefore, appealing to all our customers to bear with us as we...