First lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has stated that in spite of the legions of prominent Nigerians who have flocked the presidential villa, Abuja to condole with her over the death of her foster mother, Late Mama Sisi, Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi and his wife, Judith, have refused to visit her.
Mrs Jonathan stated this yesterday while faulting some media reports that she snubbed Rivers State deputy governor Tele Ikuru-led state officials who were at the Port Harcourt International Airport to receive her.
The first lady also insisted that she should be left out of the crisis rocking her home state.
Mrs Jonathan spoke in a statement by the director of information in the office of the First Lady, Mrs. Ayo Adesugba. The statment titled: “First Lady Should Be Left ourt of Rivers Politics” was made available to LEADERSHIP last night,
The statement reads in part, “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 executive 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 which the first lady hails have not paid such a visit”.
Mrs Jonathan also claimed that Mrs. Amaechi did not receive her at the airport.
She said, “Customarily, the wife of the State governor receives the first lady whenever she visits any state. That is why the wife of Bayelsa State governor travelled from Yenagoa to receive the first lady. Ordinarily, one would have expected the same complement from the wife of the Rivers State governor.
“It should be clear to all that for quite some time now, 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”.
Refuting the said report that she snubbed the deputy governor of Rivers at the airport, Mrs Jonathan said: “The attention of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has been drawn to reports carried in some sections of the media alleging that top officials of the Rivers government, including the Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru who came to receive the First Lady, were shielded from Dame Jonathan on her arrival at Port Harcourt International Airport yesterday, (18/08/2013).
“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 in Rivers State yesterday for a private visit, to make arrangements for the burial of her late mother with members of her extended family.
“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 for peace and harmony in Nigeria. We therefore reiterate that the First Lady’s name be left out of the politics in the State.”