returned to the country on Wednesday after spending about seven weeks abroad.
Mrs. Jonathan arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from a foreign country widely believed to be Germany. She returned in one of the aircraft in the Presidential Fleet
As soon as she alighted from the aircraft, she denied media reports that she went abroad for cosmetic surgery. She also denied being an in-patient in a German hospital on account of a terminal disease, adding that her husband loved her physique.
She said, “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 (went for) any cosmetic surgery, more or less tummy tuck.
“My husband loves me as I am and I am pleased with how God created me.”
Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is used to make the abdomen more firm. Wikipedia says it “involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall.”
Mrs. Jonathan arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja a few minutes before 4pm in a presidential aircraft. She was dressed in a multi-colour boubou with a matching headgear and appeared to have lost weight. She was received by family members and friends amidst singing and drumming by women, masqueraders and cultural groups in different uniforms.
The wife of the President, whose dressing was devoid of the usual heavy jewellery, said that the prayers of Nigerians sustained her during what she called her “period of trial”.
She said, “I am happy to be back in Nigeria. There are a few Nigerians that are saying whatever they like, not what God planned because God has a plan for all of us.
“God has said it all that when two or three are gathered in His name, He will be with them. Nigerians gathered and prayed for me and God listened and heard their prayers, so I thank God for that.”
Mrs. Jonathan also dwelt on reports that linked her rumoured illness to her husband’s position as President.
She said, “At the same time, I will use this opportunity to address those who are saying that anybody that goes to the villa or Aso Rock will die.
“They mentioned (Sani) Abacha, they mentioned Stella Obasanjo, they mentioned (Umaru) Yar’Adua and other people. But those people, why didn’t they mention those ones that went there with their families, succeeded and they still came out alive?
“We should remember that Aso Rock is the seat of power and that is where God has ordained that our leaders should rule from, and to rule us right.”
She thanked her husband and members of her family, and expressed love for her fellow citizens.
She said, “I will use this opportunity to thank my beloved husband, my children, my staff and all Nigerians for standing by me during my trial time.
“God has given me a second chance, to come and work with the women of Nigeria, the children and the less privileged. I have come to serve Nigeria. I have come to work with Nigerians. I am there for them.”
At the residence of the first couple inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the atmosphere was no less joyous.
President Jonathan and his mother, Eunice, led members of his household, staff of Women For Change Initiative, a pet project of the President’s wife, as well as presidential aides to receive her.
Except for the President who was dressed in his usual Niger Delta traditional attire, other members of the household wore T-shirts bearing different images of Patience.
Messages such as “We love you”, “We miss you”, “Welcome back” and “May you live long” were inscribed on the shirts.
Immediately the gathering sighted Mrs Jonathan’s convoy at 5pm, they launched into gospel songs. One ran, “Thank you God. You have done us good. Thank you God. Lord you have done us good. Thank you.”
Mrs Jonathan, after a long embrace with her husband, mother-in-law and children, greeted her aides afresh. She also joined in the dancing and singing before retiring into her residence with members of her family, close friends and top government officials.
Her media aide, Ayo Osinlu, who had earlier claimed that Patience was resting abroad after the rigours of hosting the recent African First Ladies Summit, told journalists that she would not grant any interview because she “needed to rest”.
As of press time, well-wishers who thronged the Presidential Villa to welcome the wife of the President included Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, his wife and almost all female ministers.
– The Punch