After spending a few days in Lebanon on a jewelry shopping binge, the new first lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, has returned to Dubai where she is receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment. Although her media aides have continued to claim that she was in Dubai and Lebanon on a "private visit," Saharareporters learnt that Mrs. Jonathan went to Lebanon in the company of Mrs. Bola Shagaya to shop for gold and to enjoy other unofficial perks provided by members of the controversial Nigerian-Lebanese Chagoury business family.
Our sources revealed that Mrs. Jonathan was ordered to return to Dubai last Friday after Saharareporters reported the nature of her questionable trip to Dubai and Lebanon.
Presidency officials had reluctantly maintained to Saharareporters that Mrs. Jonathan was on a “private visit” to Lebanon, but our report exposed the trip as a gold-buying junket. Now, several sources close to Mrs. Jonathan have revealed that there is also a medical angle revealed.
Even though the nature of her illness is not known, one source disclosed that Mrs. Jonathan has been stressed out for some time because of her husband’s curious relationship with Diezani Allison-Madueke, Nigeria’s Minister for Petroleum Resources. Mrs. Jonathan is reportedly disturbed by the long closeness between her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan, and the Petroleum Minister who has emerged as “the most powerful member of the cabinet,” according to our source. Our political sources said that Jonathan was responsible for nominating Diezani Allison Madueke as a minister in the Umaru Yar’Adua administration.
Since becoming acting president and then president following the death of Yar’adua, Mr. Jonathan has grown even closer to the Diezani Allison-Madueke to the distress of his wife. The Petroleum minister was on Mr. Jonathan’s delegation during his inaugural visit to the US last month. Meanwhile Mrs. Jonathan was left back in Abuja where she reportedly complained to her circle of friends about being sidelined.
Following our report about Mrs. Jonathan’s gold-buying escapade to Lebanon, her office wrote a rambling rejoinder signed by her media assistant, Ayo Adewuyi. The rejoinder attempted to cast Mrs. Jonathan as being humble ad modest because she did not take the presidential jet on her trip. But the tone of that letter generated even greater public irritation and dismay, leading to Jonathan’s order that his wife should repair to Dubai and attend to the medical purpose of her trip.
The rejoinder also denied that Mrs. Jonathan has outstanding money-laundering cases. “We want to state categorically that Mrs. Jonathan has no link whatsoever with the seized N104million and has no knowledge of any $13.5 million dollars. In fact there was never an incident of $13.5million dollars,” Adewuyi said.
Mrs. Jonathan is expected back to Nigeria tomorrow.
Saharareporters has asked the spokesperson of the EFCC spokesperson to provide the alleged clearance Adewuyi claimed the commission had issued to Mrs. Jonathan for the August and September 2006 incidents when Mr. Jonathan was governor of Bayelsa State. We are yet to receive any such clearance.