“In the best interest of our state” – Bayelsa defends appointment of Patience Jonathan as Permanent Secretary

by Adeniyi Abdul

The Bayelsa State Government has defended it’s decision to appoint First Lady Patience Jonathan as permanent secretary. The announcement of the First Lady’s appointment was met with controversy and cynicism and as such the state government deemed it fit to clear the air and set any trouble makers straight.

Senior special assistant on Media and Public Affairs to the Bayelsa State governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, in a statement released on Monday explained that the Dame became a member of the Rivers State Civil Service in the 90s, and upon the election of her husband as deputy governor in 1999, transferred her service to the civil service of Bayelsa State. She rose through the ranks of the public service of Bayelsa State and was last appointed into the directorate cadre as a Level 15 officer in 2005.

See excerpts below

We note with concern the reactions and commentaries that have greeted the recent announcement of the name of the wife of the President of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Dame Patience Jonathan, among the list of 19 public servants who were on July 11th appointed Permanent Secretaries in Bayelsa State.

Whereas the action taken by our government in this regard was strictly done based on our convictions as it relates to matters that we consider to be in the best interest of our state, we do however, recognize the fundamental right of Nigerians to know and ask questions about the wife of their President. We want to believe that Nigerians’ reactions to the promotion were in good faith but what has become clear however is that many people lack adequate information on the subject matter and hence the urgent need for government to set the records straight.

In connection with the above, government wishes to state as follows;
1. Unknown to a number of people the first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan joined the Rivers State civil service in the 90’s and upon the election of her husband as Deputy Governor in 1999 transferred her service to the civil service of Bayelsa State.
2. She rose through the ranks of the public service of Bayelsa State and was last appointed into the directorate cadre as a level 15 officer in 2005.
3. By the traditions of the Bayelsa State civil service, officers on directorate level, some of whom are even junior to her present position have been appointed as Permanent Secretaries before now. Even among the list of those currently appointed, not all of them are the most senior officers. Appointment is a combination of leadership, output, dedication, geographical spread etc which informs a Governor’s exercise of his discretionary powers to appoint Permanent Secretaries in consultation with the appropriate authorities.

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