Nigeria’s First Lady, Patience Jonathan, had a full audience on Sunday when she held a special thanksgiving service at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja to tell the world what she went through in a German hospital last year.
For about six weeks last year, the First Lady was abroad without any genuine explanation from the government to justify her long absence from the country. There were media reports of her being detained in a German specialist hospital for surgeries on various ailments. While some reports said she was being treated for uterine cancer, other reports said she was being treated for food poisoning.
There was no official explanation on the illness afflicting her from the Presidency. In fact, the Presidency denied that she was ill. Her spokesperson, Ayo Osinlu, clarified after various enquiries about the First Lady’s unusual absence from the country that she actually travelled abroad to take a ‘moment’s rest,’ because she had not rested since her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan, was elected in 2011.
Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, also dismissed various media reports on the illness of the First Lady as ‘rumours.’
Patience too did not help matters when she returned on 17 October and lied to those who came to welcome her at the airport that she was not hospitalised in Germany. Her exact statement was: “I don’t even know that hospital they are talking about.” For effect, she added: “I do not have any terminal illness or cosmetic surgery.”
But Sunday’s open confession by the First Lady that indeed she was in a German hospital and that she passed out for more than a week, has put paid to all the lies she and her aides fed the public at that time over her long absence from the country.
To us, this is a bad example of how to run a government. Sunday’s confession by Patience Jonathan that it was God who woke her up after seven day’s in coma, has wiped out whatever credibility that is left of this government. What it shows is that this government cannot be trusted to tell the truth. No wonder good governance has taken a flight in the country.
By shamelessly lying to the people about a simple thing as the health of the First Lady, it shows that the government has been ruling the country with deceit and has been lying in its explanations on the poor state of the country’s economy, infrastructure and social well being.
The implication of the First Lady’s confession is that Nigerians can no longer trust the Jonathan administration to deliver dividends of democracy to them.
Government exists for the benefit of the people and when that government chooses to hide what the people should ordinarily know about the way they are being governed, then that government cannot continue to sit in judgment over the affairs of the people. A lying government has lost the moral right to preside over the affairs of the people.
It is our opinion that the First Lady still owes Nigerians explanations on the nature of her illness and the treatment she was given. Patience Jonathan needs to come clean on her ailment to put to rest the various speculations on her illness.
This is one of the ways by which she can assuage the feelings of those who prayed ceaselessly for her to recover but were disappointed when she lied to them that she did not visit any hospital while abroad for six weeks last year. (source)