By Soni Daniel, Abuja and Demola Akinyemi/VanguardPerturbed by the continued absence of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, from the country as a result of ill-heath, the Presidency has resorted to prayers to quicken her recovery and return to the country.
Dame Jonathan, a serving Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa, her home state, was reportedly flown to a German specialist hospital two weeks ago for an undisclosed medical treatment.
But the Presidency has kept mum over her health condition and whereabouts.
When the media broke the sudden disappearance of Mrs. Jonathan from the country, the Presidency was forced to admit that ‘she went to take a rest’ but neither disclosed the country where she was observing the rest nor when she was expected back at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
While a section of the media speculated that she went for an operation, others claimed she was admitted for food poisoning treatment.
But Sunday Vanguard learnt yesterday that the condition of Dame Jonathan, who was reported to be recuperating and expected back in the country since last week, was still causing some concerns to her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan, and her handlers.
It was gathered that the Presidency had asked close associates and friends of the First Lady to continue to render unceasing intercessory prayers for the woman to recover from her ailment.
A source close to the Presidency confirmed that the daily morning devotion, which Jonathan and her wife usually attend at the Villa, is being used to offer special prayers for the First Lady.
The source said, “The President, as you know, is a very devoted person who has been praying for the wife and those of us who are close to them do not stop to pray for her as well.
“Yesterday (Friday), a special prayer session was conducted for her and we know that God Almighty has already healed her of whatever is afflicting her and that she will soon join us as she used to do every morning.”
There were speculations, last night, that the woman would soon be back in the country but none of the presidential spokespersons was willing to talk on the issue.
Calls put to Dr. Reuben Abati, the Presidential Media Adviser and Dr. Doyin Okupe, the Special Adviser on Public Affairs, were not responded to.
While an online news portal has maintained that she underwent a surgery in Germany, others speculate that she had food poisoning and had been admitted in Italy.
Despite the claims and counter-claims over Dame Jonathan’s condition, her spokesman, Mr. Ayo Osinlu, has insisted that the President’s wife traveled out of the country to take a “moment’s rest.”
ACN to the Presidency: ‘Speak out on First Lady’s health’
Meanwhile, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)has challenged the Federal Government to tell Nigerians the truth about the illness of the First Lady, saying the people deserved to know.
The National Publicity Secretary of the ACN ,Alhaji Lai Mohammed, threw the challenge yesterday in Ilorin, Kwara State at a welcome reception for former members of the PDP, ACPN and Accord Party who defected to the ACN.
He posited that Nigerians deserved to know the exact situation of the First Lady’s health status.
The ruling PDP, Mohammed insisted, has never been truthful to Nigerians on any national issue ,citing the “many lies the PDP government churned out to Nigerians on the illness of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua”.
The ACN spokesman, who also pointed out that the PDP Federal Government government has no solution to the nation’s problems, accused the government of lacking the capability to deliver dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
Mohammed said the PDP-led government’s ineptitude has resulted in the alarming rate of youth unemployment, epileptic power supply and general infrastructural decay.