by Dare Lawal
Many would have been surprised that President Goodluck Jonathan travelled to South Africa on a state visit and left his wife behind. Usually, Patience Jonathan, the first lady, accompanies the president during foreign visits, even on working visits.
It turned out that she had an important task to perform back home if some reports about the matter are to be believed.
The first lady staunchly denies this, but there are reports that she was in Bayelsa where she held a meeting with some security chiefs serving in Rivers state.
The pre-eminent news of the last one month has been the onslaught against the Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi. And there are fears that plans are underway to impeach the governor. The agenda of this meeting which the first lady reportedly convened was however not clear.
The Vanguard Newspaper which did not want to mention names, carried an interesting report in which it described the lady involved (Dame Jonathan) this way: “At the top of the fresh moves [against Amaechi], it was learnt yesterday, is a prominent female opponent of the governor based in Abuja but a career civil servant in the Bayelsa State civil service.”
A source said the meeting “planned on how to dislodge Governor Rotimi Amaechi.” The first lady reportedly “berated the heads of the security agencies present for not tackling the ‘Amaechi situation’ clinically.
“The arrowhead (the power broker) told the fear-stricken guests that if they were all working like the State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu, the Amaechi matter would have been resolved.
“The power broker purportedly told them that she is very worried that Governor Amaechi still has a stronghold on the state, despite the onslaught against him and his political structures.”
However the first lady has denied being a part of any such plot. A statement from her office, signed by Ayo Osinlu, her Special Assistant on Media, said: “This is to alert the general public that insinuations are rife in a section of the public towards drawing the First Lady into the political crisis in Rivers State.
“According to the insinuations, the First Lady is being alleged to have summoned and held a meeting with security chiefs in Rivers state last weekend where she instructed them to take firmer action on the political crisis in the state.
“We assure all well meaning Nigerians that this is the handwork of mischief makers who are hell bent to drag the person of the First Lady into disrepute.
“We therefore, advise members of the public to discountenance such impressions, as the First Lady remains committed to peace and good governance in the country.”
Messier and messier.