The visit of the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, to Edo State, was on Saturday disrupted when some men, suspected to be aggrieved youths of the Peoples Democratic Party, pulled down some banners bearing the image of the First Lady, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, the state capital.
Mrs. Jonathan was in the state to drum support from Edo women for her husband’s re-election campaign. It was learnt that the men climbed the fence where the banners were placed and began to pull them down as soon as it was time for the First Lady to deliver her address. Irked by what they termed to be an attempt to mar the visit of the President’s wife, some youths and policemen dressed in branded T-shirts, bearing the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria logo, accosted the men.
It was in the process of a brewing brawl that some policemen, drafted to the venue of the rally to provide security, whisked them away in a police vehicle.
The state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, said he had no doubt that the perpetrators were sympathisers of the All Progressives Congress. He claimed that none of the youths who had turned out for the event would carry out the act, adding that the party would investigate further. Nehikhare said, “I am sure they were APC people. No PDP youth will be aggrieved to the extent of pulling down the First Lady’s posters; every PDP youths love the First Lady.
“But I will investigate to find out and let you know tomorrow (Sunday).” Speaking at the event, Mrs. Jonathan insisted that her husband would remain in office for another term. She was accompanied by national and state leaders of the party. Women, drawn from different support groups across the state, had turned out for the event as early as 9am. They, however, began to leave the stadium at about 1.30pm, when Mrs. Jonathan arrived at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium venue of the rally.
Unable to bear the scorching heat, two women fainted but were later revived by a medical team provided by the party.
The President’s wife said the presidency had been occupied for eight years by other geopolitical zones and asked why the South-South should be denied the opportunity. She added that the Jonathan administration had performed creditably in various sectors such as transport and education.
She said, “In Nigeria, I saw a train last when I was very young; I was still in the primary school. But today, we can see the train is moving.
“Everybody stayed there for eight years. Now it is our turn; so, we must complete our eight years because God has ordained it. We will complete our two tenures; we will hand over.”
Mrs. Jonathan described the postponed visit of the wife of the APC presidential candidate, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, earlier scheduled for Saturday at the same venue, as a plot by the opposition to foment trouble.
She also challenged her critics, who had accused her of corruption, even when, according to her, no “budget or constitutional right” was accorded to the Office of the First Lady.
“Tomorrow, they will say ‘Mrs. Jonathan is corrupt.’ Through where is she corrupt? I don’t have any budget attached to my office. Go and probe me and see whether there is any budget attached to my office. I don’t touch your money. Whatever I have, I worked for it,” she added