PUNCH editorial on Patience Jonathan’s “offensive illegality” rattles presidency

Patience Jonathan

The Presidency has reacted to an editorial by the Punch newspapers which criticizes the First Lady, Patience Jonathan’s penchant for obstructing traffic and inconveniencing people with her elaborate security arrangements during visits to Lagos, Warri and Port Harcourt.

An obviously rattled presidency scrambled to the First Lady’s defence, describing the July 1 publication as “outright falsification” and  “calculated exaggerations”.

The reaction however did not address the fundamental issues raised by the editorial.

The editorial titled “Patience Jonathan’s excesses must be curbed” condemns Mrs Jonathan’s extravagant security arrangements when visiting other states.

The newspaper says during the First lady’s recent visit to Port Harcourt, her security arrangement completely paralysed activities in the Government Reservation Area (GRA) of the city for the four days she was in town.

 “Armoured personnel carriers were deployed at two points, while gun-wielding operatives manned the points leading to her private residence. Many people missed their appointments because they were prevented from moving in and out of their houses.”

The editorial also noted that the Port Harcourt incident was not the first time Mrs Jonathan would use her larger-than-life security details to make inhabitants of  towns she visited suffer unnecessarily.

“When she came to Lagos last year, on a “thank-you visit” to some women groups for electing her husband president, she enacted a similar repulsive scenario.  During the visit, Lagos residents were subjected to an unprecedented road blockade, which gave rise to an unnerving five-hour traffic that grounded all human and economic activities.”

According to the editorial, the blockade on this particular occasion was so bad that it prompted an angry reaction from the governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola.

“It is particularly worrisome that this (she) is not an elected person. I think we all must check how security agencies use the movement of high officers, especially VIPs, to disrupt citizens and taxpayers, whose money is used to fuel all the vehicles and all the apparatus that we use to block the roads against them,” the newspaper quotes the governor as saying.

The Punch also observes that during Mrs Jonathan’s visit to Warri, inhabitant of the state was made to endure similar inconvenience.

The newspapers then called on President Goodluck Jonathan to call his wife to order.

“It is President Jonathan’s duty to caution his wife to stop this regime of offensive illegality that has tainted the Presidency and presented Nigeria in a bad light,” the paper  wrote.

But in a rather belligerent reaction that completely failed to address any of the issues raised in the editorial, Ayo Osinlu, media aide to the First Lady accused the newspaper of being recruited into a “hit squad” comprising people he described as having  “tottering political careers.”

“These syndicated attacks are not exactly surprising, especially for those who are familiar with the fact that it is a well-known trait of the arrowhead of the attacks to be disrespectful of all forms of authority, including those who gave him his most substantial opportunities in life,” he says.

“It is however worrisome that these trench men are finding partnership in a sensitive organ of society such as the media, to cast aspersions on carefully selected members of the society, as a design to inspire public sympathy to accumulate for them. And tell us a better catch in this calculation than the illustrious First Lady of the nation, affectionately well-received by the people for her evident accomplishments in charity, philanthropy and the general promotion of the values of humanity.”

“This is why we are persuaded to once again alert the media about the lucre-for-news strategy of these desperados, whose ultimate plan is to tie the hands of the media behind its back, in order to induce it to echo their faulty sentiments, Mr Osinlu adds.


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  • Abdullah Musa

    Those who make it to public office in Nigeria and in many African countries assume godhead as a matter of right.
    The fact that millions are miserably. Poor as to be of no cobsequence, makes check impossible.
    This was why we had a Bokassa and many other tyrants.
    Why deny. the lady her own much needed megalomania?

  • Lanre Johnson

    Pride precedes a down fall. Aja to ba ma sonu, ko nigbo fere ode (a dog destined for misfotune never harken/hearken to the voice of its owner). This too will pass us by….soon!

  • Sagba

    The rejoinder is embarrassingly faulty, manifestly incompetent and pathetically unprofessional! It simply failed to address the issues raised in the editorial. Am not surprised as it was the same Osinlu that deceived the whole nation that Madam Patience was not sick, but was on holiday abroad! Deceptive Spokesman!

  • Boma

    Soon we’ll hear some idiots coming here to say,Punch is being sponsored by Muslims or North or APC,on that fateful in Lagos I was in traffic for 9hrs,God save this country.

    • dan

      Your lies stinks. If you were in traffic for 9hrs within Lagos, it means you got to your destination the following day. This is pure lie.

      • Boma

        We welcome the first …. to this forum,with tag nos 01,by name Dan,applause! Others are still on their way.

      • Truthmaster

        The gridlock in Lagos during the First Lady’s visits to Lagos is real. I have experienced this, and it was not a laughing matter, especially in a city that is ordinarily gridlock prone

        It would have been better for Ayo Osinlu not to respond, instead of seeking to defend the indefensible. These are times when silence is golden, because the Punch editorial was right on the money! I could not imagine a better written editorial on this issue.

        I honestly believe that those who speak for President Jonathan and the First Lady need to be trained on how to do their job properly. They have won more enemies than friends for the President and his wife, by their tactless rejoinders and poorly-written statements.

        PRs (Press Releases) are not just about good grammar, they also require tact, decency of language, some level of honesty and a high level of circumspectness!!!

  • Thrash

    Now were God give am good health she no go carry am stay one place,me next time I no go pray for anybody o! She should remember what she went through last time.

  • dan

    Who does this reporter Nicholas Ibekwe work for? Sahara Reporters or Premium Times, or are the two the same?

    • Truthmaster

      Is that the issue? Dan, please get a life!

  • Mudicipher

    you guys should stop all this uneducated talk, is it the first lady that is responsible for her security?

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    This disgraceful wife of president Jonathan,Dame Patience Jonathan is the husband and controller of her husband as shown evidently to Nigerian public through the outrageous out of control and unconscionable public behavious of the first lady while visiting Lagos,Warri and Port Harcourt.
    Why should that pompous and shapeless woman not curb her misconduct and save her husband name and image from ridicule and denting her husband image and bringing his name to disrepute?