First Lady: strange ailment gone after Jonathanâ€™s loss
IT was an emotional valedictory service yesterday at the Aso Villa Chapel. President Goodluck Jonathan and the First Lady bade the congregation a moving farewell.
Dame Patience Jonathan spoke on her health â€“ she went through many surgeries, but a major one was called off because the ailment had disappeared immediately after her husband lost the presidential election. She did not disclose the nature of the ailment.
Stressing that she was due for a major operation after the election, she said that tests carried out on her in four hospitals abroad showed that she was healthy and no longer required any operation.
But Mrs Jonathan disclosed that she went through a major operation abroad in January during campaigns for her husbandâ€™s re-election.
The First Lady, who was giving thanks to God at the Aso Villa Chapel, was grateful to God for making it possible for her and her husband to leave office hale and hearty.
She said: â€œI really thank God for keeping me alive. He is a miraculous God. God is so wonderful in my life because people prophesied that one of us will not go back. But God has made it possible; two of us are going home healthy.
â€œAt the same time this year, when my husband was campaigning, that campaigning time was a trial for me.
Satan came in again and those that know the former president and his wife, her corpse was carried out of this place. We thank God that I and my husband are going alive.
â€œThank God today we are parting alive and not with death. Our doors are open. This campaign period, devil struck and came in again. In pains I was rushed to the hospital in January and the doctors told me, â€˜mama you have to go for major operation now nowâ€™. The campaign was still going on and I wondered how we were going to explain to Nigerians.
â€œYou know even when you go for check-up, they will be writing â€˜in newspapers, saying all sorts of things. I went in for the first major operation in January ending. And by Godâ€™s grace I went for the operation and came out and it was from that operation that I went to the campaign ground. And they told me â€˜mama, there is another bigger operation that you have to go in forâ€™.â€
The congregation was quiet as Mrs Jonathan spoke.
She went on: â€œThis one will not be in this hospital. It is too small for this type of operation. You have to go to a bigger hospital and I said â€˜ah ahaâ€™. I will go, I have faith in God. And that my God will see me through. He has brought me out for a purpose. I called my pastor to continue praying for me. They want me to be a sacrifice, but I will never be.
â€œThen, do you know I went to the bigger hospital. I booked for the operation and I was asked to go for the campaign. They gave me a new date. I had paid for everything, remaining just to enter the theatre and the thing occurred to the hospital to check me again.
â€œBy then, my husband had lost the election. I have packed out of the Villa, we are about going. Behold! I went to four hospitals again and the thing vanished. My doctors were surprised, they didnâ€™t think that could happen. Doctors say we can go.â€
She also recalled that she had two years ago undergone 12 surgical operations abroad and that she was divinely given a second chance to live.
â€œI thank God for keeping me alive today. God is so wonderful. Just two years ago, I went through operations upon operations. Within one month, I passed through 12 operations; it is wonderful. To some people, they said she is dead but God resurrected me. God told me, â€˜my daughter, go back, I will give you second chance, go and finish your workâ€™.
â€œAnd today, if my husband lost this election, I believe God has made me finish the work.â€
Mrs Jonathan said she was full of gratitute to God because she never thought or dreamt of being First Lady or deputy governorâ€™s wife.
â€œI never thought in my life that I will be first lady. I never dream of being wife of a deputy governor because my husband was not a politician. But God made it possible and God lifted us up from deputy governor and here we are.â€
Continuing, she said: â€œWe should be grateful to God for what he has done. To me and my family, we praise God. To our followers, today it might not be too good but I want them to be grateful to God because you have followed us for a long time from deputy governor, governor, vice president, president.
â€œYou know this position is not a life thing. There is no permanent thing; so, I want you to take it in good faith that it is the will of God and you should be praising God. God is really wonderful. That is for the political side.â€
Jonathan, who noted that no system, including his administration, is perfect, urged Nigerians to forgive him in any way he may have erred.
He said: â€œNo system is perfect. Every human system must have an element of imperfection. For the period of eight years that we have been here. I will take the period as a block because my transition from VP to President was gradual and complicated. It was intertwined, so, you cannot actually draw the line.
â€œBecause when the President was challenged within major health issues, I was running the country for sometime, even before the doctrine of necessity made me as acting president. Then I took over at first and conducting the 2011 election I won and I had to run my full four years as an elected president.
â€œSo for the eight that one has been there, definitely one is not perfect. We have certainly done things that probably we wouldnâ€™t have done that way, but we didnâ€™t do things deliberately. So for those who we have offended, it was not deliberate, it was circumstances of the office.
â€œSo we also plead that those people should forgive, we think we have done our best. You can do your best and your friends may misunderstand you. Today we are talking about leaving. It is only God that knows why things go the way they do.â€
Thanking all those who stood by him during his tenure, Jonathan said: â€œWe came in as vice president and my wife, today we are leaving as the former president and former first lady. We have achieved it through you. Let me specifically thank the chaplain, the clergymen, the pastors and their wives.
â€œFor the past eight years, we have every reason to be thankful to God. Every individual has his/her own calling. I also believe that people who take over political leadership have their own callings to do specific things. No one, head of a government, be it at the national level or the sub-regional levels can do every thing.
â€œBut when you leave, you will want to do something to show that yes I was here. The chaplain has said that nothing is perfect; if you wait for perfection, you cannot achieve anything.â€
â€œOrdinarily 24th of May would have been the last service here. But that 24th, we will all go to the National Christian Centre for the inauguration service. So, for me and my wife, this is our last day of worship here.
â€œThough we are leaving as president and first lady, but we have not left you, because we are still in this country; we will continue to interact one way or the other, probably along the line we may even come closer. I believe some of you may even come closer, and even do more meaningful things together when we leave office.â€
Stressing that the office of the president is quite challenging, Jonathan said he did not believe that it is only in government somebody can excel.
His words: â€œI donâ€™t really believe that it is only in government that you can do things; even outside government you do a lot of things. The richest people in the world donâ€™t even serve in government. Dangote has never been in government, so you donâ€™t need to be in government to be rich. Bill Gates has not been in government. So outside government a lot of things happen, it is for us to be committed and continue to be focused. Me and my wife really love all of you.â€
In his short message titled â€œTo Him be the gloryâ€, the Aso Villa Chaplain, Ven. Obioma Onwuzurumba thanked God for His faithfulness to the first family throughout the tenure of the administration.
Stressing that Jonathan offered him an opportunity to serve in the Chapel, he said that at no point in time was the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ withheld from those who have worshipped there.
He hoped that what had been experienced in the Chapel under Jonathan would be passed on to the next administration.
The first lesson was taken by the First Lady â€“ from Numbers 6: 22 to 27.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Board, John Kennedy-Opara, read the second lesson from 2 Corinthians 13: 11-14.
It was not all sermons and testimonies. Jonathan got a gift â€“ a picture of his while playing guitar in the chapel. It was presdented by the Aso Villa Chapel Committee.
The Committee also presented picture of the First Lady reading the first lesson in the Chapel to Dame Patience.
There was another picture â€“ of the couple together in the church.
A picture of Presidentâ€™s mother Madam Eunice Jonathan, in the Chapel was also presented to the first family.
Since there will be no service at the chapel next Sunday, the children were allowed to make presentation in songs, drama and Bible recitation as part of the May 27th Childrenâ€™s Day.
The childrenâ€™s department also presented a plaque to Jonathan and his wife.
Prayers were said for the first family and the nation.
At the service were the former Minister of Information Prof Jerry Gana, former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, Chief of Staff to the President Jones Arogbofa and Senator Philip Aduda.
Some of the ministers in attendance are: Tammy Danagogo (Sports), Osite Chidoka (Aviation), Boni Haruna (Youth), Abba Moro (Interior), Chinedu Nebo (Power) and Sarah Ochekpe (Water Resource).
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the service on the initial plan to handover the Chapel on Sunday to the Vice President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Onwuzurumba said that Osinbajo could not attend the service in person.
According to him, one pastor from the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Emmanuel Ibitayo, represented him during the service.
The handing over of the Chapel, he said, will be done at a later date.
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