Vanguard (Lagos)

18 February 2013

Nigeria: I Was Dead for Seven Days - Patience Jonathan

Photo: This Day
Patience Jonathan.

Abuja — First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, yesterday, said she died and woke up after seven days during her illness which necessitated her absence from the country for almost three months.

In a thanksgiving service held at the State House chapel in Abuja, the First Lady said the prayers of Nigerians sustained her while some people who thought she was dead, started to sell her property.

According to her, she underwent seven surgery operations within one month and the doctors had given up hope on her survival.

From left: President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor praying for President Goodluck Jonathan and his family during Praise and Thanksgiving Ceremony for First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan in Abuja On Sunday

She said: "I remember when Chief Obasanjo was the President of the country, I was close to his late wife, Stella. We worshiped together in this chapel. It was a painful moment for me that time when she (Stella) died and her corpse was brought here.

"That was how my corpse would have been brought here. It was not an easy experience for me. I actually died, I passed out for more than a week. My intestine and tummy were opened.

"I am not Lazarus but my experience was similar to his. My doctors said all hope was lost.

"A black doctor in London who is with us in this service was flown in when the situation became critical. It was God himself in His infinite mercy that said I will return to Nigeria. God woke me up after seven days.

"I know that some people somehow leaked the information that I was dead. They are people that I trust and rely on; to them, I was dead and I would never return to the country alive. Some of them even sold my things off.

"I won't say everything here. It is the Lord's doing that I returned alive. When God says yes, nobody can say no.

"People are always afraid of operation (surgery) but in my own case, while my travail lasted, I was begging for it (surgery) after the third operation because I was going to the theatre everyday.

"It was God who saw me through. I did eight or nine operations within one month. It was not an easy one.

"The day I came back, I said God I have nothing to say, I offer myself to you. I will be doing things that will touch the lives of the less privileged.

God gave me second chance

"God gave me second chance because I reached there. He knew I have not completed the assignments He gave me, that was why I was sent back", she said.

In his remarks, President Goodluck Jonathan said when he took over the mantle of leadership, some people had predicted that either he or his wife would die in office.

While appreciating the large turn out of personalities during the reception, the President said the day was a special one for him and the first family, bearing in mind that rumour of death in his family has always been in the air since he was the deputy governor of BayelsaState. Giving an instance, Jonathan said when his second cousin died, one of his associates wondered aloud how people he knew who were on the verge of becoming successful suddenly die.

He said: "I thank God for keeping the life of my wife. If anything had happened to her there would have been many stories and the fake prophets would have had their predictions fulfilled," he remarked.

The reception had in attendance, former heads of state, governors, members of the National Assembly, ministers and other dignitaries.

The president then urged Nigerians not to relent in their prayers for the good of the country. "If you love this country, you will not talk about divisions. God willing we will begin to turn things around," he prayed drawing inspiration from the recent victory of the Super Eagles at the just concluded African Cup of Nations.

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