Abuja — After several weeks of absence, the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, yesterday, returned to a boisterous welcome amidst tight security at the Presidential Wing of the Abuja International Airport. He debunked insinuations that she had a tummy tuck in a German hospital.
A large crowd of mostly women, youth groups and traditional dancers, dressed in colourful outfits welcomed her in a ceremony that was largely restricted.
Mrs. Jonathan’s welcome party was led by all female ministers and other presidential aides at the airport.
Though she appeared to have lost some weight, she was in high spirit as she thanked God for giving her a second chance, in an interview conducted by Nigerian Television Authority, NTA.
She condemned those who insinuated that she was going to die like Gen. Sani Abacha, Mrs Stella Obasanjo and President Umaru Yar’Adua, saying God’s purpose for her still stands.
She said: “Thank God Almighty for bringing me back safely to Nigeria. Wherever there are good people, there are also bad ones.
“There are few Nigerians that are saying whatever they like, not what God planned because God has a plan for all of us. And God has said it all that when two or three are gathered in His name that He will be with them. And Nigerians gathered and prayed for me and God listened and heard their prayers, so I thank God for that.
“At the same time I will use this opportunity to tell those few ones that are saying that anybody that goes to Villa or Aso Rock will die. They mentioned Abacha, they mentioned Stella Obasanjo, they mentioned Yar’Adua and other people. But those people why didn’t they mention those ones that went there with their families and succeeded and they still came out alive.
“We should remember that Aso Rock is the seat of power and that is where God has ordained for Nigerians, that our leaders should rule from and to rule us right. God is wonderful and his infinite mercy endures.
“At the same time, I read in the media where they said I was in the hospital. God almighty knows I have never been to that hospital, I don’t even know the hospital they mentioned.
“I have to explain what God has done for me. I do not have terminal illness, neither did I do any cosmetic surgery, much less tummy tuck. My husband loves me as I am and I am pleased with how God created me I cannot add anything.
“But at the same time, I will use this opportunity to thank my beloved husband and my children and my staff in general and all Nigerians for standing by me during my trying times.
“God has given me a second chance to come and work with women of Nigeria, children and the less privileged. I have come to serve Nigeria, I have come to work with Nigerians, I am there for them. Once more, I am pleased to be back. I love Nigerians. They are my family.”
At the Presidential Villa where she returned to the warm welcome of her husband, children and her mother-in-law, Mrs. Eunice Jonathan and her domestic staff at about 5 p.m, her media aide who had gone incommunicado during the duration of her stay suddenly became overzealous as he harassed journalists who had sought to interview the first lady.
He told the journalists: “No! Do you want to kill her? She has to rest. Go to your beat, is this your beat?”
By Ben Agande