Nigerian women bid farewell to First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan


Nigerian women on Thursday converged on Abuja to bid the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, farewell after five years in office.

The women, under the aegis of the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS), said that the first lady’s support for the empowerment of Nigerian women was “unparalleled”.

The NCWS President, Mrs Nkechi Mba, said “the first lady gave us voices and took us to where we least expected to be.’’

She added that during the tenure of the first lady, more women were recognised and given sensitive positions in government.

She noted that “we want to say thank you, we are proud of you and may God bless you and your family.’’

Similarly, the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina, said that the first lady championed the initiative that gave Nigerian women the exposure they needed in the political space and governance.

Maina said “I owe my gratitude to the first lady who was instrumental to my appointment; today, every woman can stand tall and be proud to be a Nigerian.

“You have left a legacy in the sands of time and we will ever remain grateful to you.’’

Also, the wife of the Vice-President, Hajiya Amina Sambo, described the president’s wife as a mentor, a mother, an advocate and a supporter of the cause of women.

She commended the NCWS for its support during her tenure and prayed for a united Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the first lady was sworn in at the occasion as the new Chairman of the NCWS Board of Trustees.

In her acceptance speech, the first lady thanked members of the NCWS for the “unflinching support and for working so hard to increase the capacity of our women.’’

She said the NCWS’ support had further facilitated the significance of women “in the affairs of our dear country, Nigeria.”

She expressed her “unconditional appreciation to the women of Nigeria for their support and solidarity,’’ adding that she enjoyed such support “as the first lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I recognise the Nigerian women for their intellect, determination, resilience and hard work.

“These attributes were openly demonstrated while we worked together to show our love for our nation.

“Such support found expression in our determination to ensure that Nigerian women are recognised as equal partners in the development of our country.’’

“As patriots, you stood for the rebirth and transformation of a new Nigeria. You identified and supported the bold steps taken to lead you into more active participation in the political process.’’

The first lady, who also spoke on the 8th Summit of the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM), scheduled to hold in Abuja on May 15th, urged Nigerian women to come out en mass for the summit.

She refuted the allegation that she was “rigging anyone out.’’

She said that she drew the attention of members at the 3rd Executive Bureau meeting of the AFLPM in Pretoria, South Africa in 2014, to the last general elections in Nigeria.

She added that she had told AFLPM that preparations for the elections would not allow her to host the summit then, which she said was to facilitate the election of new executives and handover.

Mrs Jonathan explained that it was accordingly agreed that the summit would hold in July in Abuja.

The agreement was with the understanding that if President Goodluck Jonathan did not succeed in his re-election bid, she would convene the summit in May 2015.

Jonathan, however, stressed that the holding of the summit was to enable the election of a new President of AFLPM and to ensure a smooth handover.

“This emergency summit, therefore, is to forestall a misunderstanding that Nigeria intentionally orchestrated it to remain in office as AFLPM President.’’

According to her, Nigeria has held the position for the past seven years instead of the two-year tenure assigned to each country in the internal regulations of the Peace Mission.



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