Wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, narrated on Sunday in Abuja how a debilitating sickness almost took her life at a time the Federal Government was telling Nigerians that the President’s wife was in perfect condition.
The President’s wife said she passed out for over seven days and that her aides, believing that she was dead, were already selling her personal effects before God “miraculously” brought her back to life.
Punctuating her testimony with praise songs, Patience, who refused to read from a speech prepared for her, narrated to a congregation at a thanksgiving service held at the Presidential Villa how she underwent nine surgeries within one month in London at a time the Presidency was assuring the citizens that she had merely travelled to rest after the rigours of the 2011 elections and hosting the African First Ladies Summit.
At a reception later in the day, Jonathan said his wife’s “miraculous healing” had put an end to the superstition about deaths in Aso Rock.
Jonathan’s wife said, “I remember when Chief (Olusegun) Obasanjo was the President of the country, I was close to his late wife, Stella. We worshipped together in this chapel.
“It was a painful moment for me that time when she died and her corpse was brought here. That was how my corpse would have been brought here. It was not an easy experience for me. I actually died; I passed out for more than a week. My intestine and tummy were opened.
“I am not Lazarus but my experience was similar to his own. My doctors said all hope was lost.
“A black doctor in London who is with us in this service was flown in when the situation became critical. It was God himself in His infinite mercy that said I would return to Nigeria. God woke me up after seven days.
“I know that some people somehow leaked the information that I was dead. They are people that I trust and rely on; to them, I was dead and I would never return to the country alive. Some of them even sold my things off.
“I won’t say everything here. It is the Lord’s doing that I returned alive. When God says yes, nobody can say no.
“People are always afraid of operation (surgery) but in my own case, while my travail lasted, I was begging for it (surgery) after the third operation because I was going to the theatre every day.
“It was God who saw me through. I did eight or nine operations within one month. It was not an easy one.”
Curiously, the President’s wife did not reveal the nature of her ailment but she admonished the citizens to stop playing politics with sickness, saying nobody was immuned to ailments.
She said her experience taught her that there was nothing like a First Lady and that she realised that she was “a common woman and my name is simply Patience.”
Patience, joined by her husband and family members, later danced to the altar for a special thanksgiving with the song “This kind God, I have never seen Him before.”
Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, in his sermon titled, “The saving acts of God” at the service recalled that many Nigerians and friends of the nation were anxious about the health situation of Patience when she was abroad.
The cleric said while a lot of people uttered negative statements about the situation, he said he was delighted that what the people said was different from what God said.
He assured Patience that her healing was perfect and her ailment would not relapse, saying it was a good thing that when God turns shame to joy, there is need to rejoice and thank Him.
“You have been set free; the forces attacking you have been defeated. God has released His authority and today, you are a winner,” he said.
At the reception, the President said, “The story was that one of us (the President or his wife) will die. Today we are celebrating her.
“Her recovery has put an end to that belief. I am not too good in celebrating, but for this particular one, I think we have to thank God for keeping the life of my wife.
“If anything had happened, there would have been different stories. Fake prophets would have given their stories. As mortals, we must fall sick and die but how and when is what matters most.
“To die when serving your people is not good. Death should come after you have finished serving.”
The President recalled that when he was still a deputy governor in Bayelsa State, he lost a second cousin.
He said during the burial, a story was told how anybody in his community who is gradually going into limelight always die mysteriously.
He said all eyes were focused on him, apparently insinuating that it was his time to die.
Jonathan said he prayed hard that he would not die young and God answered him.
Patience Jonathan left Nigeria unannounced in August last year and spent about seven weeks abroad.
Although her media aides claimed she was resting abroad after the rigours of hosting the African First Ladies Summit, media report had it that she was admitted at a German hospital during the period.
Throughout her period of absence, the Presidency kept mum on her state of health and the nature of her sickness