by Success Nwogu and Lekan Adetayo
Action Congress of Nigeria on Sunday demanded clarification from the Presidency over the whereabouts and health status of Patience, wife of President Goodluck Jonathan.
While Patience is said to be hospitalised in a German hospital, the Presidency said “she was only away to take a ‘moment’s rest’ given that she has not taken a rest since President Jonathan’s election last year”.
But in an interview with reporters in Ilorin on Sunday, the ACN National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, insisited that Nigerians had the right to know the true postion of the President’s wife.
Mohammed said, “She is the First Lady and as such there are certain duties she performs. Her wellbeing, to a large extent, is also the wellbeing of the nation, especially these days when the office is not just a glamour office; it packs a lot of power and influence.
“When our First Lady disappears from the radar, so to say, for several weeks and nobody can tell us precisely where she is and what she is doing, I think it is a shame to the whole country.
“I do not see anything strange or undignifying in saying that ‘the First Lady had food poison, we are to fly her abroad for treatment and we will keep you informed of her daily welfare.’
“That will elicit a lot of support and Nigerians had shown in the past that irrespective of what they think about their leaders, when their leaders in the past had health problems, there was this outpouring of emotions.
“I think the handling of this matter is wrong and we must tell our information managers that ministers, governors and presidents and their wives are no longer the property of a small clique.
“They showed that they have no respect for us. I think whoever is in charge of managing information should come out today and tell Nigerians precisely where our First Lady is and what is wrong with her.”
Authorities of the United Arab Emirates have denied knowledge of the news making the rounds that Patience got involved in food poisoning during her recent visit to Dubai.
While a section of the media said she was being treated for food poisoning, others said she underwent surgery for ruptured appendicitis. Some others said she was operated upon for fibroid.
But a Dubai’s newspaper, Khaleej Times, in its September 8 edition, quoted food control officials in Dubai as saying that they were unaware of an alleged food poisoning in the emirate that has reportedly affected the wife of the President.
Assistant Director-General of Public Health, Safety and Environment Monitoring Sector, Salem bin Mesmar; and Director of the Food Control Department, Khalid Al Awadhi, said they had not even heard about it, let alone investigate the poison allegation.
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