The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has congratulated First Lady
Patience Jonathan for her miraculous return from the dead,
while slamming the presidency for losing whatever is left of its
credibility over its handling of the First Lady’s illness saga.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity
Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the revelation
by the First Lady on the extent of her illness, especially the fact
that she passed out for seven days before she said God miraculously
brought her back to life, cannot but elicit joy among Nigerians,
irrespective of their political leanings.
However, Nigerians must be wondering why the government they elected
into office chose to lie to them that the First Lady was holidaying
abroad when indeed she was gravely ill in a foreign hospital.
”While we felicitate with the First Lady of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria on her recovery from whatever illness it was that afflicted
her, we will be remiss if we fail to recollect how the presidency denied
‘rumours’ of the First Lady illness and poured scorn on the media and
the imaginary enemies of the government for fuelling the ‘satanic rumours’.
”We will also like to remind the presidency that its denial, instead
of full disclosure that would have elicited nothing more than fervent
prayers from Nigerians, fuelled the rumours that the First Lady suffered from
sundry afflictions or the consequences of tummy tuck!” ACN said.
The party said that in one of the many rebuttals, the First Lady’s
Spokesperson, Ayo Osinlu, was quoted to have said she (Mrs Jonathan)
travelled abroad to take a ‘moment’s rest’, given that she had not taken a rest
since President Jonathan’s election.
Osinlu had told Nigerians in the heat of the illness saga: ”If you
look at her itinerary in August (2012), you will be wondering how she
was able to accomplish that. In the course of this week, she will be back home.
But remember, it all depends on her plans.”
ACN also recalled that the Special Adviser to the President on Media
and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, dismissed Mrs. Jonathan’s reported
illness as a rumour, saying ”there is nothing like that.”
It said that amid all the denials, the President himself maintained a
stoic mien and carried on with his duties as if all was well, thereby
lending credibility to the lies and deceit.
”The issue here is simple If the presidency can so shamefacedly lie
on an issue of such public interest as the health of the First
Lady, why should we not believe it can lie on any other issue, whether
it is economy, politics, social development or any other matter? For
how long has this presidency been misleading Nigerians on critical issues,
since we now have reason to doubt its credibility? Does it occur to
this presidency that it has turned Nigeria to a laughing stock by its now
routine denials of the truth?
”Like we have said time and again, any government needs to be
credible to win the trust of the citizens, without which it cannot
govern effectively. With the revelation by our back-from-the-dead First Lady, it is clear
that the Jonathan Presidency has egg on its face, and must apologise
to Nigerians for lying to them. Also, the spokesmen for this government
have lost total credibility, hence their words will henceforth be
taken with a pinch of salt,” the party said.
It reiterated its earlier stand that the health of public officials
cannot and must not be a closet affair, because it is of public
interest. While it may be argued, though not conceded, that the First Lady is not a public
official by virtue of her position, she is a public official by virtue
of her being a Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State!
”It is sad that despite what we and many Nigerian groups and
individuals have said on this issue, the Jonathan Administration took
its script directly from the Yar’adua group’s book of deceit when the late President was
ill and flown abroad. Now, Governors Sullivan Chime of Enugu, Danbaba
Suntai of Taraba and Liyel Imoke of Cross River are all playing according to
the Jonathan script.
”We are therefore renewing our call for openness and full disclosure
on the state of health of public officials. Life itself is transient,
not to talk of positions. And as a spiritual leader of the calibre of Pope Benedict has shown
recently, no office is more important that life itself,” ACN said
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
Lagos, Feb. 18th 2013
A government that builds on lying about the health of its officials should go to America and learn how to respect elected and appointed officials when they suffer one illness or the other for the good the nation and governance. Cover ups and pretentions do not help. A public officer is expected to be a public servant whose health also matters in the give and take of publice service.