Condolence visit: Rivers officials ought to have visited Abuja, not Port Harcourt, says Patience Jonathan
The drama of the alleged failure of the Rivers State government officials to pay the First Family a condolence visit continues after the First Lady issued another statement, Wednesday, insisting that the state ignored her during her moment of loss.
In her second public statement in less than 72 hours, Patience Jonathan, wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, reiterated that several groups and individuals from across Nigeria paid condolence visits at the State House, Abuja.
“Many of us claim to serve God. God whether as Christians or Muslims, is compassionate in nature. If truly we serve Him, this should reflect in our actions,” Mrs. Jonathan said in the statement by Ayo Adesugba, Director of Information, Office of the First Lady.
“We restate, for the avoidance of doubt, that neither the Rivers State governor nor his wife has come to the State House, Abuja, like so many other people from all walks of life, to condole with the First Family.
“This is a gesture of compassion, which comes from the heart. The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, therefore, holds no resentment towards anyone who does not wish to come to the State House or to her home in Port Harcourt to extend the act of commiseration,” she added.
Mrs. Jonathan lost her mother, Charity Oba, in a ghastly auto accident along the East-West Road in Rivers State, on July 22.
Since her bereavement, no official of the Rivers State government had paid the president and his wife a condolence visit, according to the First Lady.
In her first statement, late Monday, Mrs. Jonathan described the action as a ‘disrespect’ to the First Family.
“It should be noted that while several groups and individuals from across the country came to condole the first lady and Mr. President on the death of her mother, no official of Rivers state government deemed it fit to pay the first family condolence visit, yet they claimed the first lady is a daughter of Rivers state,” Mrs. Jonathan had said.
“He who must go to equity must go with clean hands. They should learn to give respect to those who deserve respect so that they too can earn respect,” she had added.
However, less than 24 hours later, photographs of Judith Amaechi, the First Lady of Rivers State, signing a condolence register at Mrs. Oba’s residence surfaced.
PREMIUM TIMES checks also revealed that in addition to Tele Ikuru, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, and other state functionaries accompanying Mrs. Amaechi on the visit in Port Harcourt; Rotimi Amaechi, the State Governor, had also issued a statement commiserating with the First Lady on her bereavement.
In her statement, late Wednesday, Mrs. Jonathan said that was not enough.
“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,” Mrs. Jonathan said.
“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 the First Lady hails, have not paid such a visit,” Mrs. Jonathan added.
Reacting to the photographs circulating in various media, the First Lady stated that they were taken in Mrs. Oba’s home, and that the she did not receive condolence guests in her late mother’s home.
“All those who paid condolences and commiserated with Dame Patience during her visit to Rivers State, came to the First Lady’s home in Port Harcourt, where arrangements were made and facilities were made available to receive sympathizers.
“We can borrow a leaf from His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who went to Lagos State with some members of his Executive Council, to commiserate with Governor Babatunde Fashola on the demise of his father, Alhaji Ademola Fashola.
“Death does not know age, gender or political party affiliation. Neither should compassion.”
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