First Lady Patience Jonathan is still in poor health, President Goodluck Jonathan confirmed yesterday in his Media Chat.

Responding to a question by Martins Oloja, the Editor of The Guardian, Mr. Jonathan said of his wife: “She was ill, she received treatment.” And he said she needed to recuperate before she can be active again.

The dictionary defines “recuperate” as: “To return to health or strength; recover; To recover from illness or exhaustion.”

In an update of the First Lady’s condition last Friday, SaharaReporters said that despite the orchestrated pageantry of her return from Germany last month, Mrs. Jonathan was still sick and being visited by doctors, and in no condition to perform any official duties.  

In an effort to contradict our story, however, a visit of some youth to Mrs. Jonathan at the presidential villa was announced on Saturday.

The First Lady reportedly received in audience the Senior Special Assistant to the president on youth matters, Jude Omagwe, as well as the executives of the National Association of Nigerian Students and the National Youth Council.

“In my capacity as the sitting president of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, I enjoin you to produce a framework for engaging the nation’s overwhelming population of youths in the development of a national lifestyle of peace,” she was quoted as saying, in robust English.

It would also be recalled that upon her return to the country on October 16, following six unexplained weeks abroad, Mrs. Jonathan denied having been hospitalized in Germany.  

“Those that are saying that anybody that goes to (the presidential) villa, that person will die, they mention Abacha, they mention Stella Obasanjo…I don’t even know that hospital they are talking about…I do not have any terminal illness or cosmetic surgery,” she said on that occasion.

Throughout the period Mrs. Jonathan was out of the country, the presidency tried to shut information about her away from Nigerians, a situation comparable to that of Mr. Jonathan’s predecessor, President Umaru Yar’Adua, who left the country without handing power over to his deputy, and with no explanation of his medical condition.  

Mrs. Jonathan’s medical travails began in Dubai, where she was first said to have been treated because her hands were twitching.  

She returned to Nigeria but was days later rushed in an air ambulance to Wiesbaden, Germany, where she reportedly underwent surgery to remove uterine fibroids.  A subsequent report said her condition was exacerbated by Parkinson’s disease, but while our sources are credible, SaharaReporters could not get the presidency to confirm or deny any of them.  

PM News, based in Lagos, also independently reported during the saga that Mrs. Jonathan was being treated for uterine cancer.

Mrs. Jonathan, who is also a civil servant in the government of Bayelsa State, returned to Abuja, where her German doctors visit her, one month ago.  
President Jonathan’s statement about her recuperation yesterday confirmed our report that she has been sick, but not what ails her, an answer that the citizens who pay the bills in a democracy deserve to know.

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