Patience Jonathan: Nigeria’s Most Powerful Woman

By Sonala Olumhense.

ON September 11, 2006, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized $13.5 million dollars (US) from Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the wife of then Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.

The International Herald Tribune quoted the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Osita Nwajah, as saying that the seizure was made after Mrs. Jonathan had allegedly laundered the money through an associate.

It was the second time in one month Mrs. Jonathan was hitting the scandal headlines. In August, the EFCC had obtained a court order to temporarily freeze N104 million she had allegedly tried to launder through one Mrs. Nancy Ebere Nwosu. The EFCC said it had reason to believe the seized funds belonged to the public. In a sworn statement, Mrs. Nwosu implicated Patience Jonathan, the EFCC said.

But remember, her husband was the Bayelsa State Governor at the time. And Mr. Jonathan’s government dashed to the defence of the First Lady of Bayelsa, alleging that the reports were part of a “plot to destabilize” the state. Government spokesmen were falling over each other to speak for Mrs. Jonathan. The Governor’s spokesman, Dennis Sami, described the allegations as a “charade,” the target of which was the Governor.

“We are aware that the said Nancy Ebere Nwosu is a very remote relation of Her Excellency who has lived abroad for several years,” Mr. Sami said. “She is a successful businesswoman of no little means whose business concerns do not involve Mrs. Jonathan.”

Mrs. Jonathan’s spokesman, Kenneth Ekpelu, fired an e-mail to Vanguard newspaper in which she spoke of “her husband’s opponents who strangely perceive her as the soft spot in his political armour and won’t stop hammering away at her until their decisions to oust him from office are met.”

It is funny how these canned money-laundering defenses sound alike. Didn’t former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s United States lawyer, Mr. Kunle Fagbenle, say last November that Andy Uba – who used part of some funds laundered by means of the executive jet (allegedly without Obasanjo’s permission) to shop for Obasanjo’s farms – could not be accused of money-laundering because Mr. Uba was “already a rich man”? And did not Obasanjo say the Uba scandal was only a “calculated attempt” to ruin his name?

Anyhow, despite the massive protestations of Governor Jonathan, the EFCC pressed ahead. On August 22, 2006, Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja authorized the freezing of the N104 million “pending the conclusion of the investigation of the activities of the said persons in connection with their involvement in the acts of money laundering and other economic and financial crimes related offences.”

And then, barely three weeks later, Mrs. Jonathan was in the news again, reportedly being separated from an astounding $13.5 million in US dollars. She must have been one angry woman. But all that was one year ago.

Since then, the Jonathans have moved up in the world. They have left the relative squalor and poverty of a mere state governorship for the Vice-President’s estate. They have left the petty limitations of Bayelsa for the limitless expanse of Abuja. Only one man now speaks before Mr. Jonathan does.

Yes, Mr. Jonathan is the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the second most powerful man in the country. He is also the man President Yar’Adua is trusting with the challenge of the Niger Delta, where billions of dollars are expected to be spent over the next few years.

He has also been talking about democracy, corruption, the rule of law, and development. Just over a week ago, at the All-Delta Peoples Conference in the United States, Mr. Jonathan disclosed that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had authorised the release of all funds due the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). In addition, “Special funds will be provided for special projects in line with the master plan,” he said.

And Mrs. Jonathan has been speaking, too, telling Nigerian women how they can become more fulfilled citizens. Up in the rarefied air of federal authority, you can preach any sermon, even while you have around your neck diamonds and jewels of $13.5 million, and gold bracelets of N104 million.

This is all quite ironic. The Jonathans are living in a dream state. They moved into the governorship in Bayelsa when Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was consumed in a corruption blaze, and into the vice-presidency when the PDP sought someone to balance Umaru Yar’Adua on the PDP presidential ticket.

But they take quite a few scandals with them. Mr. Jonathan left Bayelsa State in a thick cloud of suspicion. Many Bayelsans believed his government had fleeced the treasury. While Mr. Jonathan said upon assumption of office he had inherited a state treasury N25 billion thick, he refused to say what was left there as he vacated office. Bayelsans alleged he had swept the commonwealth clean, and that most public projects were left uncompleted.

Two months after he assumed the vice-presidency, Mr. Jonathan came under severe national pressure to follow the lead of his boss and make his assets declaration public. It took several nerve-wracking weeks of trying to dodge the responsibility, but he finally released the document, which showed the former university lecturer was worth an absolutely unbelievable N295 million. He had only been the Governor for 17 months, and this means he had been growing richer at the rate of close to N17 million per month. Naturally, wink-wink, he did not include his wife in his declaration.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Jonathan…

In its report of last April’s election, the New York based Council on Foreign Relations observed that Patience Jonathan was generally regarded as the “greediest person in Bayelsa State” and a woman of great cruelty. Last June, the Niger Development Monitoring and Corporate Watch (NIDDEMCOW), a local non-governmental organization, asked the EFCC to publish its report on Mrs. Jonathan.

The EFCC has not. This is not particularly strange; the Commission is not in the habit of issuing such reports. But nothing has been heard from the Commission since the flurry of activities of August and September last year. That coincides with the period before Mr. Jonathan emerged Yar’Adua’s running mate.

Apparently, even scandals of that magnitude are no obstacle in Nigeria. Mr. Jonathan got the vice-presidency, and the only man he is answerable to is about to put into his hands, theoretically for the Niger Delta, all the diamonds and gold a man could want.

And his wife? Patience Jonathan apparently hates that kind of snail-pace to fortune. Indicted by the EFCC in only eight months as First Lady on a charge of laundering a few Naira bills, she moved to dollar bills in the millions the following month. That same month, the EFCC report to the Senate called her by name.

Again, this does not seem to matter in Nigeria: weeks later, in October, the Owu Kingdom, President Obasanjo’s people, honoured the Jonathans with chieftaincy titles. In that culture, Obasanjo is the Balogun of Owu; Mr. Jonathan became the Obateru.

If Mrs. Jonathan was thrilled on that day, she must be over the moon today. An EFCC indictment, and yet she can get on any of our presidential jets at any time and drink champagne at State functions.

And how much taller she must be, these days as she stands on the authority of the vice-presidency! From such heights, not only do you dwarf an EFCC, but you also are invincible. What a country!

What I really fail to understand is: If Mrs. Jonathan can so effectively laugh at the so-called war on corruption, does that not make her the First Lady? On what basis does she perform her functions – the recommendations of the EFCC? Why has Mrs. Jonathan assumed the status of untouchable, or is she truly the nation’s most powerful woman?

sonala.olumhense@gmail.com

Culled from the Nigerian Guardian Sunday 28th October 2007

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7 thoughts on “Patience Jonathan: Nigeria’s Most Powerful Woman

  1. THESE ASSHOLES STEALING OUR (NIGERIAN)MONEY SHOULD BE PUT TOGETHER AND SHOT RAWLINGS STYLE..THAT IS THE ONLY THING THAT WILL SAVE NIGERIA..HOW CAN A GOVERNOR NOW VICE PRESIDENT HAVE 295 MILLION AND THAT IS JUST A LIE.,.HE HAS MORE THAN HE TELLS.. BUT NOW THE SKY IS THE LIMIT…FUCKING THIEVES

  2. Pingback: East-West Highway » Blog Archive » Goodluck Jonathon, Patience!

  3. bia all dis journalists, why do u always find something false an damaging to write about people. would u have done better if u are put there.pls stop feeding people with countless lies and watery accusations which are baseless.

  4. This is an urgent call for help to put the pressure on the case below as the family is denied all information regarding this incident.
    Some details on the incident which were twisted as published by the company involved could be found on the link, http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=179776

    OKAKPU family sends S.O.S to the president over missing son

    August 3, 2010

    The family of Okakpu in Azu-Ogbunike, Oyi Council Area of Anambra State Nigeria, has raised alarm over sudden disappearance of their son, Ben Okakpu and called on your excellency the president of Nigeria to look into the scenario surrounding the situation.

    Okakpu family claimed that Ben until his disappearance worked with Transocean, one of the world’s biggest drilling contractors based in Port Harcourt , Rivers State .

    The family in a statement signed by Ken Okakpu issued on Wednesday in Awka demanded an explanation from Transocean, a French oil giant as to the where about of their son who got missing Saturday from his work place.

    It said in the statement that Ben left his home for his routine inspection at Akpo deepwater field on Saturday 31st of July 2010, before his disappearance.

    ”It was in the national daily that we learnt that three workers of Transocean including our son Ben fell into the ocean while carrying out a load test on crane belonging to JACK RYAN DRILL SHIP {transocean rig}drilling at akpo field owned by Total.

    ”We learnt that Ben wanted to confirm his reading with that of crane load indicator cabin when the crane boom failed and as a result the three personnel fell into the sea.

    ”According to information made available to us, it took the rescue team 45 minutes before they rescued the other two personnel, neglecting the third person, saying it was quite late to rescue, awaiting the arrival of shopper rescue team that came about 3hrs after the incident happened.

    ”’The rescued experts were flown out of the Nigeria the following day being Sunday to South Africa so as not to open up on what happened. Up till date no word is heard from transocean about the third personnel who happened to be their 3rd party contractor.

    The statement further said that conversation between the transocean Human Resources Manager, Mr David Oyigbemo and Amosco could not yield any fruit as transocean bluffed them, showing no sense of human regards for Ben.

    It stated that the human resources manager refused communicating with Ben’s family even when put on conference call by Ben’s company, Amosco rather used threatening words to scare them.

    The family in the statement also alleged that Transocean was covering up the true picture of the incident because it announced in the media that only two people fell into the sea.

    According to them in the statement, Ben okakpu joined AMOSCO {Atlantic Mediterranean oilfield Service Company} in the year 2007 as an experienced NDT /Lifting Equipment inspector and had promotions more than once as a result of appraisal from his expert’s superiors and later became the lead inspector.

    The statement the family said Ben had been on board JACK RYAN DRILL SHIP {transocean rig} drilling at Akpo field owned by Total. For how long

    ”Till date no response/information as regards the search for the third personnel, Ben.

    ”AMOSCO claimed they had a discussion with the top management of transocean in lagos { MR DELE AND MR JACOB SULE}saying they have informed DPR{Department of petroleum resources} and the Nigeria police force about the incident.

    ”Our heartfelt desire is for our Son Ben Okakpu to be found. He has a family that really cares and loves him so much. Our Son and brother is still missing, please we are asking for everything to be done possibly to find him, transocean is covering what’s happened to Ben Okakpu.

    For More Information Contact:
    Ken Okakpu.

    Tel: 02088013768
    Mob: 07588438907
    Email: ken.okakpu@whitmoresecltd.com

  5. Pingback: My Blog: Thy Glory O’ Nigeria..! 2010 in review | Thy Glory O Nigeria..!

  6. We are commomerating one year rememberrance of the Assult and the death of our people at Nigerian Stadium Abujah, last Ocutober 1! Lead by president Jonathan and his Nigerian meaningless independence celebration. So Mrs. Good luck Jonathan the First lady and all the personal advicer of Mr. Jonathan, please may you tell tell Mr. Jonnathan that , it is not every day he will be locky and escape from …the hands of these wicked people who are targeting him, it is not every day that the loving God of heavens even the lord of lives shall protect him from the hands of these wolfs even the Muslem talibans that commits all these criminal massacres and suicide bombing. So! As far as I know and history bears, The Hausa Muslems want to have their own government and this is what Boko Haram said plain, and this is his reason of massacres and rebelions. This also the first prime minister made plain, even Abubaka Tafawa Beliwa, and Ahamadu Belo, in their Books title, ” My life!” This very is because the want to maintain Islamic republic. Even the former military President Ibaihim Babanga also Joined Nigeria into OIC, which is organization of Islamic Countries. The Islamic Taliban of the Northern Nigeria renamed Boko Haram said, ” They want Mr. Jonnathan to administer Sharia court all over Nigeria, this the first step and their intention is to Islamise Nigeria even in such hegemony, of evil of the witches cult of Islam, which burries the souls of mankind perpetrated by Satan. So you see Maddam Jonathan, Goodluck is not understanding these things. But indeed there is a great hand that causes the offences of Nigeria and this is very spiritual and this is Satan and the witchcraft of the witches cults of Islam. Satan removes their souls and burries them inside the hell, then he dominates their bodies and uses them to kill innocent christians, and to perpetrate every kinf of offences aginst the people. This as you know has perpetrated for such a long time, even before the lord Jesus provided Mr.Jonnathan on the post who is well educated and a Christian even from the East. Before this was achieved, I prayed and fasted even for a long time. I am a prophet of Jesus, born again and standing on the moutain of the lord Jesus even the king of kings. You See Mr. and Mrs Jonnathan, shall we maintain the name of the Nation Nigeria and people continue dying? If we do so, we do not respect God, becausesince we found out that the cause of the death is the union, the only thing we have to do is to separate it. It is one year now even at the starduim at Abuja Mr. Jonnathan and the inter Nigerians were asulted with bomb blasts even at the Independent celabration, since then, there has been much massacres and bomb blast even in without stop in Nigeria, we cannot keep such as a nation, because we cannot maintain it. God bless you. Therefore separate Nigeria even into 4 parts or first three parts, the North, West and East. This is to achieve peace in Nigeria. This is because the nation Nigeria is too Bogus. It is big but false. It is not governed because it is full of criminal acts of massacres and the lord God does not like such act. Stop tempting God, because you will live to regreat it. king Ahab of Israel died because he did not accept what Prophet Micha said. thanks

  7. with my little understanding of nigeria leadership is this, many lives pass away like water especially in north area, many political leaders support this killing, i personal apeal to president and some faithful leadership who are ready to listen to the people advice or voices, let government hire bakashi and clear off all those boko haram, those bakashi know how put an end to this matter, let nigeria be the peaceful country, and if any body refuse not to hire bakashi, that means the hand of that person is in that boko haram, let Nigeria put end and full stop and solution to this condition, thank you all

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