The attention of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has been drawn to reports carried in some sections of the media alleging that top officials of the Rivers government, including the Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru who came to receive the First Lady, were shielded from Dame Jonathan on her arrival at Port Harcourt International Airport on Sunday, (18/08/2013). Some of the media reports went to the extent of alleging that Dame Jonathan “snubbed” the Deputy Governor.
It is important to set the record straight in order to prevent the public from being misled. The First Lady arrived in Rivers State yesterday (on Sunday) for a private visit, to make arrangements for the burial of her late mother with members of her extended family.
Customarily, the wife of the State Governor receives the First Lady whenever she visits any state. That is why the wife of Bayelsa State Governor traveled from Yenagoa to receive the First Lady. Ordinarily, one would have expected the same complement from the wife of the Rivers State Governor.
It is instructive to note that since the death of Mrs. Charity Oba, the mother of the First Lady, several groups and individuals from across the country have come to condole the First Family at the State House, Abuja. They include Executive State Governors and their wives from all the political divides; Nigeria’s former Presidents and Heads of State and their wives, captains of industry, female Ambassadors and High Commissioners of Nigeria, other members of the diplomatic corps, royal fathers and traditional leaders - the list is too numerous to call. However, the Governor and the wife from the State which the First Lady hails have not paid such a visit.
It should be clear to all that for quite some time now, the First Lady has refrained from commenting on issues relating to the politics of Rivers State. Dame Patience does not want her name to be used to heat up the polity. We therefore urge that the name of the First Lady be left out of the politics in Rivers State.
The First Lady, like any Nigerian, is free to visit the state of her birth. But we are forced to ask: why the presence of the First Lady in Rivers State always generate rumpus? Dame Jonathan bears no grudge towards anyone as she is an individual who continues to tirelessly advocate for peace and harmony in Nigeria. We therefore reiterate that the First Lady’s name be left out of the politics in the State.
Ayo Adesugba (Mrs.)
19 August, 2013