Leadership (Abuja)

30 September 2012

Nigeria: Ailing First Lady Spends Independence Day in Hospital

Photo: Vanguard
The Abuja Independence Day bomb explosion (File photo)

Indications emerged last night that the ailing first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, will be spending this year's October I Independence anniversary in a German hospital, following the refusal of the hospital management to discharge her as she is still recuperating from an alleged surgery.

The development marks a turning point in the health status of Mrs. Jonathan on the grounds that this is the first time that any Nigerian first lady would not be taking part in the independence anniversary celebrations since 1960.

The situation also indicates that Mrs. Jonathan would spend the independence anniversary outside the country and would not be beside her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan, during the pomp and circumstance that usually characterise the important ceremony.

LEADERSHIP SUNDAY also learnt that the Horst Schmidt Klinik in Wiesbaden, Germany, where Mrs. Jonathan is being treated has refused to discharge her as it claims that her health condition is not stable.

But the action is contrary to feelers from the Presidency that Mrs. Jonathan may soon arrive in the country.

The heath status of the First Lady has been shrouded in secrecy as no official from the presidency including the spokespersons of Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati and Dr. Doyin Okupe, are willing to comment on the matter.

The first lady has been away from the country for the past 37 days and reportedly underwent successful surgery from appendicitis. She was also said to have suffered from food poisoning before the alleged admission into the German hospital.

Fresh investigations by LEADERSHIP SUNDAY indicated that the presidency has been making frantic efforts at the hospital, seeking the possibility of Mrs. Jonathan's discharge on Friday, September 28, to enable her partake in the October 1st Independence celebration.

The media had last week reported that Jonathan might have visited his wife in the hospital on Sunday, September 23, 2012 on his way to the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

But a consultant in the German hospital told our correspondent on telephone that the president was actually in the German hospital on Sunday to see his wife.

The consultant, who declined to go into the details of Jonathan's visit, said that the president, who got to the hospital in the afternoon, spent more than three hours with his ailing wife.

She said, "Her husband (President Jonathan) was here on Sunday and he spent well over three hours with her before he departed but I cannot really say where he was going to when he left here."

She added that the president made several efforts to see if his wife could be discharged to enable her to either follow her to New York for the General Assembly or partake in the Independence Day anniversary.

Further investigation revealed that Jonathan also met with the security officials that were staying with his wife and told them not to give any information about her to anybody.

The president reportedly expressed his anger and disappointment over the ways that information got leaked to journalists and threatened to fire all the security agents and the special aides with his wife if further information was leaked to Nigerian journalists.

This latest development has confirmed an earlier investigation by LEADERSHIP where the hospital management said that it would not discharge the ailing first lady for now as a result of her unstable health condition.

The presidency had earlier maintained that the ailing Mrs Jonathan was only in Germany to rest until LEADERSHIP broke the news after speaking with a spokesperson of Horst Schmidt Klinik in Wiesbaden, Germany, that confirmed that the first lady was truly on admission in the hospital, receiving treatment after being operated for ruptured appendicitis which was as a result of food poisoning.

Doctors attending to the first lady at the hospital reportedly certified her fit but advised that there was the need for her to rest for some couple of days to regain her strength.

The doctors were also said to have counselled against long hours travelling by the air, saying that the development was capable of affecting her quick recovery. A trip from Germany to Nigeria by air normally takes an average of six hours.

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