Wednesday, 27 May 2015

First Lady With 13 Lives Leaves Aso Rock

Touchy tales of her many surgeries
Like many big women in Nigeria, many people would have at different times wished to be in the shoes of Mrs. Patience Faka Jonathan, wife of the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan. They would have wished they are also influential that state governors and ministers bow and tremble before them like they do for Mrs. Jonathan. They would have loved to have a retinue of aides at their beckons like the Okrika-born retired permanent secretary. They would also have loved to have enough cash to meet their needs like the woman people now refer to as Mama Peace.

Despite these attributes that are clear to the public however, Mrs. Jonathan had in the last two years passed through severe health challenges that will make many respond with a loud “God forbid” if you pray for them that their lives should be like that of the president’s wife. How else will one respond to a revelation that a woman believed to be very comfortable, successful and influential had 13 surgeries in two years.

If this revelation did not come from the person concerned, one will definitely be tempted to doubt its authenticity. But when the person who narrated the story was the one involved and she chose the house of God to share the testimony, there is no other choice than to believe.

That Mrs. Jonathan is a writer’s delight is not in doubt. With one sentence from her, she can rubbish all the hard work her media aides to keep it all together from public glare.

In February 2013, despite the presidency’s spirited efforts at assuring Nigerians that she had merely traveled to rest after the rigours of the 2011 elections and hosting of the African First Ladies Summit, she opened up at a thanksgiving service at Aso Villa that she actually died for one week while undergoing surgeries to cure an undisclosed ailment.

She had said she passed out for over seven days and that her aides, believing that she was dead, were already selling her personal effects before God miraculously brought her back to life.

Her running battle with Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was there for all to see, despite efforts again by her media team to paint it otherwise, she rubbish their efforts when she said their fight was because the governor crossed his boundary when he demolished the houses of her people in Okrika.
Last week at the thanksgiving, it was not different at the Farewell Service organised by the Aso Rock Villa Chapel on Sunday, to celebrate the first family for a successful stay at the Presidential Villa.
In fact State House correspondents had predicted that should Mrs. Jonathan talk, she would give the story of the day.

What probably should have prepared the congregation that a big thing was coming was when the First Lady decided after the family thanksgiving, to hold a separate thanksgiving backed by some Nigerian women all dressed in red blouse, red head gear to match and blue and gold george wrappers.

Those that wondered why the separate thanksgiving were shocked when she was introduced to say a few words.

She had started out with long protocol in between laughter but when she got to the press she said, “gentlemen of the press you are not left out. Today is your day. You are here to write the last news about me,” to which the whole church erupted in laughter and it was prolonged when the church cameraman decided to focus on the array of cameramen accredited to cover the presidential villa who had positioned themselves to record whatever she had to say.

Before she gave her testimony, she had requested the choir to assist her to sing her favourite song. “My life time; I will give God my life time. “Then she shocked the congregations when she disclosed that she disappeared from public glare during the re-election campaigns of her husband to go for her 13th surgery as a result of another round of health challenges.

Mrs. Jonathan said a sharp pain on her side and an examination by the doctors revealed she needed an urgent surgery, adding that with the help and understanding of her family, her condition was kept under wraps while she sneaked out of the country to Germany in January to undergo one major surgical operation.

She said she returned from the surgery in Germany and went into the re-election campaign of her husband.

Mrs. Jonathan who is the immediate past president of the African First Ladies Mission, said she was billed for yet another surgery after her husband lost elections, but last minute tests in four different major hospitals in Germany, revealed she no longer needed surgery, attributing the news to God miraculously healing her.

The First Lady went back two years earlier she had undergone 12 surgeries and was at a point pronounced dead but God miraculously brought her back to life. She said she never dreamt that she will one day become the First Lady of Nigeria as her husband was never a politician, giving credit to Dipreye Alamieyesigha, former governor of Bayelsa State who brought her husband into politics as deputy governor. Mrs. Jonathan said other people may fill bad that they are exiting from the Villa but for her family they are full of gratitude to God for sparing their lives and helping them to leave the Villa in good health.

Thanking God for her husband’s political journey, Mrs. Jonathan said, “I really thank God for keeping me alive. He is a miraculous God. God is so wonderful in my life because people professed that one of us will not go back. But God has made it possible that two of us are leaving in good health. I never thought in my life that I would be first lady. I never dreamt of being wife of a deputy governor because my husband was not a politician. But God made it possible and God lifted us up from deputy governor position and here we are.

“We should be grateful to God for what he has done. My family and I sincerely praise God. To our followers, today it might not be too good but I want them to be grateful to God because you have followed us for a long time from our days as deputy governor family, to govenor, vice president, and president. You know this position is not a life entitlement. There is no permanent thing so I want you to take it in good faith that it is the will of God and you should praise God. God is really wonderful. That is for the political side.”

Health challenges:
On the health crisis that resurfaced during her husband’s re-election campaign, she said, “Concerning my real life, I thank God for keeping me alive today. God is so wonderful. Just two years ago, I went through operations upon operations. Within one month, I passed through 12 operations. To some people they said she is dead but God resurrected me. God told me, my daughter go back I will give you a second chance, go and finish your work. And today even if my husband lost this election I believe God has made me finish the work.

“At the same time this year, while my husband was campaigning, that period was a trying time for me. Satan came in again and you all recall that a former president’s wife, and even a former president did not survive the villa. But we thank God that my husband and I are leaving alive.”

“During the last campaign, the devil struck again. In pains I was rushed to the hospital in January and the doctors told me, mama you have to go for a major operation immediately. What again? I asked. The campaign was still going on and I wondered how we were going to explain to Nigerians. You know even when you go for check-up, they will be report all sorts of things. I said my family and I have to handover. My husband will continue with his campaign until the last day. That was how I went in for the first major operation in January. And by God’s grace I went for the operation and came out and it was from that operation that I went to the campaign ground. And they told me mama, there is another bigger operation that you have to go in for. This one would not be in this hospital. It is too small for this type of operation. You have to go to a bigger hospital and I said ah aha. I will go, I have faith in God. And that my God will see me through. He has brought me out for a purpose. I called my pastor, my praying partner to continue praying for me. They want me to be a sacrifice, but I will never be.

“Then, do you know I went to the bigger hospital. I booked for the operation and I was asked to go for the campaign. They gave me a new date. I had paid for everything remaining just to enter the theatre and it occurred to the hospital, let’s check her again. By then, my husband had lost the election. I had packed out of the Villa because we were about going. Then, I went to four hospitals again in Germany and the thing vanished. My doctors were surprised they didn’t think that could happen. I told my people doctors say we can go.”

The First Lady said, she was grateful to God‎ that her family was leaving the villa with their heads high, saying many of those who came to visit hoping to see her downcast have marveled that she has remained upbeat and radiant.

“We are going home with our heads up, and we are hale and hearty. People come hoping to see me sad but they see me happy and they say to me Mama, you are looking radiant. We give glory to God”, she concluded amidst thunderous applause and shouts of praise ‎from the shocked congregation.

Available to assist Aisha Buhari,
Mrs. Jonathan later told newsmen in an interview that Nigerians should remain grateful to God at all times and that she was ready to assist the incoming First Lady, Aisha Buhari, particularly in carrying the women along.

She said: “‎We thank God for Nigerians. Especially, I can’t thank the women of Nigeria enough for their support throughout my stay in the Villa, first as wife of the Vice President and later as wife of the president.

“I am telling Nigerian women that I am leaving with peace, with good health and that my doors are wide open to them because we will be living in Abuja.
“I am also available to assist the incoming government and my sister and friend, Aisha Buhari to make sure she carries the Nigerian women along and I hope she will do so. I urge the Nigerian women to work with her to ensure Nigerian women move forward.”