With an eye on public relations stunt, President Goodluck Jonathan plans to reunite with his ailing wife, Patience next weekend, and thereafter head out with her the following day to the United Nations General Assembly in New York against doctor’s advice.
Presidency sources told SaharaReporters that Mr. Jonathan is expected to arrive New York on September 24 for the plenary debate of the 67th General Assembly, which kicks off the same day.
Mr. Jonathan will also co-chair an event with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway.
Doctors at the German hospital where Mrs. Jonathan’s remains on treatment have reportedly delayed her treatment by another week while they await test results from body tissues sent out to other European specialist hospitals.
If all goes well, our sources said Mrs. Jonathan would return to Nigeria after the General Assembly. The presidency has, however, maintained official silence about Mrs. Jonathan’s condition, an irony that parallels late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s treatment in Saudi Arabia in late 2009 and early 2010 when Mr. Jonathan was Vice-President.
Meanwhile, a Dubai newspaper is refuting reports that Mrs. Jonathan suffered food poisoning there.
Original reports said the First Lady took ill in Dubai with food poisoning, following which she returned to Abuja only to be airlifted to Germany in a dire emergency. She was then said to have had her appendix, which had ruptured, removed. Subsequent reports said she had further surgery concerning fibroids.
But the Khaleej Times, in a September 8 story, said that food control officials said they are unaware of the alleged food poisoning in the emirate in the first place concerning “Patience Faka Jonathan.”
The newspaper quoted an Assistant Director-General of Public Health, Safety and Environment Monitoring Sector Salem bin Mesmar and the Director of the Food Control Department Khalid Mohammed Sharif Al Awadhi as saying they had not even heard the complaint.
“If she had come here, she would have stayed in and had food from well-reputed places only,” the paper quoted Mesmar as saying. “I don’t think they would serve her anything that is bad. We have not heard anything about such a food poisoning issue.”
The paper said the Jonathans are expected to be in Dubai in late October for the African Energy Summit and First Ladies’ Summit scheduled to be held as part of the World Energy Forum.