by Stanley Azuakola
In the absence of official statements from her office giving details, Nigerians have been left with picking scraps of information from unofficial sources about the condition of the first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. The latest news on her likely return is from a source in the Office of the First Lady who said that the First Lady is expected to be back in the country before the end of September.
According to the source, the ailing wife of the President who is reportedly hospitalised at the Horst Schmidt Klinik in Wiesbaden, Germany has a role to play in one of the programmes outlined for Nigeria’s 42nd Independence Anniversary celebration and had expressed her desire to personally play the role before her illness.
“It is only when madam does not return to Nigeria to personally handle the activity allotted to her office in the independence programme that you can now say that indeed, there is something wrong,” the source said.
Interestingly, the Federal Government has released a programme to commemorate this year’s Independence celebration and only the event reserved for the first lady does not have a date attached to it.
The event listed for her is “a visit to hospitals and orphanages and activities for women, youths and children.”
Dame Patience Jonathan’s illness was a major talking point last week, with a section of the media reporting that she underwent surgery for appendicitis, while others reported that she was being treated for food poisoning.
No word has, however, come from her office. Her aides insist that she only travelled abroad to rest after the stress involved in the hosting of the African First Ladies’ Conference in Abuja. They said they are in the dark on when the first lady would return to Nigeria.
According to her media aide, Ayo Osinlu: “She is not a regular public office holder who has a specific duration for vacation. Assuming that she has a specific duration for vacation, then we could have said the vacation will end on a particular day and she will return on a particular day.
“But as it is, she can decide to return anytime she feels she has rested enough.”
Meanwhile, in absentia, Dame Jonathan received a honorary degree from the Delta State University this weekend.