The Presidency on Thursday morning broke its unusual silence on the whereabouts of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
The media aide to the first lady, Ayo Adewusi, in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, said the President’s wife is currently in Congo.
According to Adewusi, Mrs. Jonathan is in the country to join her colleagues from Africa for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of a Non-Governmental Organisation, Congo Assistance Foundation, established by the Congolese First Lady, Madam Antoinette Sassou-Nguesso.
The statement, however, did not indicate when she arrived in Congo or when she is expected back in Nigeria.
You may recall that the first lady has not been seen at any public event inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, since her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan, was defeated in the March 28 presidential election.
She was absent during the Good Friday and Easter Sunday services held inside the Aso Villa Chapel.
Mrs. Jonathan did not also join her husband for the funeral service held in honour of his Special Adviser on Research, Documentation and Strategy, Oronto Douglas, in Bayelsa State last Saturday.
It is unclear if Mrs. Jonathan’s ‘disappearance’ from public view has anything to do with the fears she expressed ahead of the elections that she would be thrown into prison if Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) of the All progressives Congress won the election.
Buhari eventually won and is waiting to be sworn-in on May 29 as Nigeria’s President.
The Presidency had so far being indifferent to Mrs. Jonathan’s whereabouts, which gave room for speculation.
Adewuyi’s statement read, “First Lady, Dame Patience Faka Jonathan, is in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, joining other African First Ladies for the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Congo Assistance Foundation, an NGO of Congolese First Lady, Madam Antoinette Sassou-Nguesso.
“The Foundation, established in 1984, has engendered social action in the areas of health, education, skills acquisition in favour of indigent people of Congo.
“Dame Patience Jonathan runs similar organisation in Nigeria, the A.Aruera Reachout Foundation, which also focuses on the upliftment of women and children, the needy and imprisoned.
“The First Ladies of Benin Republic, Senegal, Mali, Tchad, Niger and Guinea Conakry are also in Brazzaville for the grand finale of the week-long programmes, during which a National Centre for Sickle Cell disease was inaugurated.
“Dame Patience Jonathan was received on arrival by Nigeria’s Ambassador to Congo Brazzaville, Princess Onipede, in company with top Congolese officials”.