The Action Congress of Nigeria and the Campaign for Democracy have criticised the Presidency over its handling of the illness of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
The ACN, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Presidency had lost its credibility.
The party said revelations by the President’s wife elicited joy among Nigerians, irrespective of their political leanings.
The First Lady had, during a thanksgiving service at the Presidential Vila on Sunday, said she was dead for a week, but she was miraculously brought back to life.
Berating the Presidency, the ACN said Nigerians must be wondering why the “government they elected into office chose to lie to them that the First Lady was holidaying abroad, when indeed she was gravely ill in a foreign hospital”.
It said, “While we felicitate with the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on her recovery from whatever illness it was that afflicted her, we will be remiss if we fail to recollect how the Presidency denied ‘rumours’ of the First Lady illness and poured scorn on the media and the imaginary enemies of the government for fuelling the ‘satanic rumours’.
“We will also like to remind the Presidency that its denial, instead of full disclosure that would have elicited nothing more than fervent prayers from Nigerians, fuelled the rumours that the First Lady suffered from sundry afflictions or the consequences of tummy tuck!’’
The party said in one of the many rebuttals, the First Lady’s spokesperson, Ayo Osinlu, was quoted to have said she (Mrs. Jonathan) travelled abroad to take a “moment’s rest”.
Osinlu had said she had not taken a rest since President Goodluck Jonathan’s election.
ACN also recalled that the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, dismissed Mrs. Jonathan’s reported illness as a rumour, saying, “There is nothing like that.’’
On her part, the CD President, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said the government lacked integrity.
She said, “If a spokesman could tell us she was on holiday, while in actual fact she was sick it then means there is no honour and integrity.
“If the Presidency says good morning one has to be sure it is not midnight before responding. There should be openness, transparency and honesty.”
The Executive Director Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre, Awual Musa Rafsanjani, also said Mrs. Jonathan’s testimony had exposed the character of those in leadership position in this country.
He said, “First of all, the jamboree Mrs. Jonathan organised yesterday (on Sunday) was not a private affair but a jamboree organised with public funds, which is not supposed to be.
“It shows clearly that this government does not care about its citizens. There are patients losing their lives because of drugs of as low as N500 value. This is not to say we do not sympathise with her health challenges.”
According to him, the management of information on the President’s wife is a reflection of the Jonathan administration.
He stated, “When she sneaked abroad, we were told she was going for holidays, even when she came back, she said she was not hospitalised only for her to now confess that she went for surgery. This does not show credibility.
“At all levels, this government has made promises which show that this government has credibility problems. Nigerians have been told all sort of lies about economic growth which we can’t see; Nigerians have been told there will be light there is not light, no water.”