Wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, on Tuesday denied media reports that her plan to host the 8th summit of the African First Ladies Peace Mission on Friday is designed to deny the wife of the President-elect, Hajia Aisha Buhari, the opportunity of becoming the President of the mission. Mrs. Jonathan, who is the current President, had summoned a meeting of the mission during which new executive members are expected to emerge.
Media reports had it that the election would have been held in July but the President’s wife brought it back to May to allow her successor to emerge before her husband will cease to be President from May 29. But a statement by Mr. Ayo Adewuyi, on Tuesday said there was no truth in the reports.
Adewuyi explained that Mrs. Jonathan was elected President in July 2012 and was meant to serve for two years, according to the group’s internal regulation. He further said that while her tenure ought to have ended in 2014, when a fresh election should have held, the President’s wife drew the attention of her colleagues to the then forthcoming election in Nigeria, which preparation would not enable her host the summit.
According to him, Mrs. Jonathan therefore proposed that the summit should hold after the general elections, and it was accordingly agreed that it should be held in July 2015. Adewuyi however added that there was an understanding among members that if President Goodluck Jonathan did not succeed in his re-election bid, the President’s wife would convene the summit in May to enable the election of a new President and ensure a smooth handover since her tenure has ended.
The statement read in part:
“Arising from the above, it is therefore clear that this is not a personal matter nor specifically a Nigeria sole affair but a continental platform governed by its own rules and protocols just as similar international organisations.
“It would therefore be out of place for anyone to insinuate that it is intended to shut out the incoming First Lady. This cannot be farther from the truth.
“We state therefore without any iota of equivocation that it is mischievous for anyone to scheme to cause disaffection between the outgoing and incoming First Ladies, Dame Patience Jonathan, and Hajia Aisha Buhari.
“Let us therefore come together in our tradition of hospitality to heartily welcome our guests, the African First Ladies, as they arrive Abuja for the 8th Summit of the Mission.
“Let us always remember that the personal ambition of anybody is not worth destroying the image of the nation.”