Following comments condemning Dame Patience Jonathan’s shun of Rivers State government officials who were at the airport to receive her on her recent visit to the state, the country’s First Lady, yesterday, said that she should be left out of the political crisis rocking the state.
In a statement by her Director of Information, Mrs. Ayo Adesugba, Mrs Jonathan said, “the attention of the First Lady has been drawn to reports carried in some sections of the media, alleging that top officials of the Rivers State Government, including the deputy governor, Mr. Tele Ikuru, who came to receive the First Lady, were shielded from Dame Jonathan on her arrival at Port Harcourt International Airport, Sunday.
“Some of the media reports went to the extent of alleging that Dame Jonathan “snubbed” the Deputy Governor. It is important to set the record straight in order to prevent the public from being misled.
“The First Lady arrived Rivers State, Sunday, for a private visit, to make arrangements for the burial of her late mother with members of her extended family.
“Customarily, the wife of the state governor receives the First Lady, whenever she visits any state. That was why the wife of Bayelsa State governor travelled from Yenagoa to receive the First Lady. Ordinarily, one would have expected the same compliment from the wife of the Rivers State governor.
“It is instructive to note that since the death of Mrs. Charity Oba, the mother of the First Lady, several groups and individuals from across the country have come to condole the First Family at the State House, Abuja.
“They include state governors and their wives from all the political divides; Nigeria’s former Presidents and Heads of State and their wives, captains of industry, female ambassadors and High Commissioners of Nigeria, other members of the diplomatic corps, royal fathers and traditional leaders – the list is too numerous to call.
“However, the governor and the wife from the state (Rivers) where the First Lady hails, have not paid such a visit.
“It should be clear to all that for quite some time, the First Lady has refrained from commenting on issues relating to the politics of Rivers State.
“Dame Patience does not want her name to be used to heat up the polity. We, therefore, urge that the name of the First Lady be left out of the politics in Rivers State.
“The First Lady, like any Nigerian, is free to visit the state of her birth. Dame Jonathan bears no grudge towards anyone as she is an individual who continues to tirelessly advocate peace and harmony in Nigeria. We, therefore, reiterate that the First Lady’s name be left out of the politics in the state,” the statement said.