Diezani denies illness, sparks Facebook debate


Deziani Alison-Madueke says she has not been hospitalized.

The Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, says she and her family are well, in London, and the claim by the media that she is ill is false.

“On the contrary to recent published articles concerning my health, I haven’t been hospitalised in London,” she said on her Facebook page on Wednesday.

Sources close to the minister said she was hospitalised in a London clinic late last week for stress-related ailment, they however could not confirm the nature of the illness.

Her denials have provoked a big debate on her Facebook page, with commentators evenly split between questioning her denials and praying for her good health.

It is not known whether Mrs. Madueke personally administers her Facebook account which has about 35,000 “like”, a Facebook terminology for people who follow her news feeds.

Public officials, eager to establish direct access to the people, and seeking connections with the younger generation, have jumped on the social media train. They are, however, often unable to keep pace with its dynamic demands to update personally.

Mrs. Madueke had given substance to this challenge in the past when she posted on her wall in second person pronouns.

Social media feeds are also new strategies adopted by public officials to evade the kind of deep explanation a formal press release demands.

The famous practice of not offering explanations on the movements and happenings around public officials is not unique to the minister of petroleum.

The first lady has been ill for over one week and was flown abroad and Nigerians heard of it only as a result of media investigations and exposure.

Typically, official denials is the mode of response from government. It got to a most ridiculous dimension, when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was sick. Officials lied and played deception games on Nigerians for half a year, never offering information on the true state of his health, till he died.


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