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The First Lady Returns to a Lavish Ceremony despite Unanswered Questions on her Whereabouts



The kind of carnival-like reception that was given to Nigeria’s First Lady, Patience Jonathan upon her return from Germany yesterday afternoon is one that I’m yet to understand. I am one of the first people to admit that I am glad to see her back to Nigeria, glad that she is healthy and reunited with her family. But I still don’t understand the need for all the paparazzi and fanfare that greeted her return to Nigeria.

She arrived Nigeria aboard a Presidential Jet at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Wednesday 17th October, 2012. As soon as she stepped out of the plane, she was greeted with a loud cheer and flashing of cameras. She was welcomed by a large number of government officials, women’s groups and cultural dancers. Some of her family members including her son and mother-in-law were also present at the Airport.

There was a reception held for her at the Presidential wing of the Airport attended by notable people including Hajiya Bola Shagaya, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Chief Arthur Eze, Prof Dora Akunyili and Chief Emeka Wogu. There were also some  traditional chiefs at the reception.

I knew the First Lady had a large number of female followers, especially members of the People’s Democratic Party and indegens of her home state, but I didn’t quite understand it until yesterday. I didn’t understand the branded T-shirts, the aso-ebi, the cultural dancers… I can only imagine how many millions was again spent on this sort of reception.

We are still being kept in dark on the reason why she spent so long in Germany. She didn’t say where she was, or why she was away for so long. Yet, she was welcomed like someone who went in search of some treasures and brought lots back to Nigeria. Despite the speculations that she was receiving treatment in a Germany for an undisclosed illness, she denied being an in-patient in any German hospital. “I read in the media where they said I was in the hospital. God Almighty knows I have never been to that hospital. I don’t even know the hospital they mentioned,” Punch quoted her as saying. She also denied having a cosmetic surgery or tummy tuck as was widely speculated.

It’s bad enough that the Presidency handled information about her state of health and the nature of her rumoured sickness poorly. They then proceeded to rub in our faces this sort of lavish ceremony. I just have to ask; was this really necessary?

Petroleum Marketer, Hajiya Bola Shagaya leading others who arrived with the First Lady during airport reception for the First Lady at the Airport

The first lady being hugged by her mother-in-law Mrs Eunice Jonathan and her son

Wife of Benue State Governor, Mrs. Yemisi Suswam exchanging greetings with the Housing Minister, Ms. Amal Pepple while the Minister of State Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada watched during airport reception for the First Lady

Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Chief Arthur Eze; Prof Dora Akunyili and Chief Emeka Wogu during airport reception for the First Lady at the Airport, Abuja

Photo Credit: Vanguard | The Will

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. Say the truth

    October 18, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Ummmm… I don’t understand. Why this whole ceremony?

    • Purpleicious Babe

      October 18, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Me too but based on this my final verdict is she was definitely sick… as in facing a life or death situation.

      The welcome parry is too extravagant.. something must have happened. as usual we will be kept in the loop.

      btw I hope they donate all the stuff to charity. thank you…

    • faith

      October 21, 2012 at 11:59 am

      absolutly unecessary!!!!!…..mtsheewwww

  2. Chi-ka

    October 18, 2012 at 2:14 am

    She’s wearing an extremely flowy dress #ThatIsAll

  3. Nene

    October 18, 2012 at 2:25 am

    WTF Nigeria….like WTF!!!!!! Who are these people in government? I don’t know what to say…..but WTF!!!!

  4. chichi

    October 18, 2012 at 2:28 am

    only in nigeria…God bless whoever wrote this article..This is exactly what i was thinking when i saw the previous post on her return

  5. BABA T aka The ORIGINATOR!!!

    October 18, 2012 at 2:35 am


    Only in Nigeria…

  6. Bisi

    October 18, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Goodluck Jonathan is the president of the country not Patience. I am not happy with his leadership but he did not disappear to Germany he has been in Nigeria. I do not know what went wrong with Patience but I do hope she is okay. As far as the celebration for her return. You said yourself she has a lot of female followers. Why exactly are you shocked that they are happy to see her back? I don’t see the problem.

    • Morenikeji

      October 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

      If you do not see anything wrong then u have ans to these questions i guess.
      Where is she coming from?
      What did she for?
      What is the purpose for the celebration, since she claimed she has not been in the hospital?
      Why is tax payers money been used for this since she is very well and only went for vacation as she claim

    • tbn

      October 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      if theres no problem, why the celebration? she was obviously ill, she has lost weight, her voice sounded strained during the interview and whats up with that flowing gown she’s wearing? And why the comments that God saved me.? God saved her from what? obviously she was sick and was in a hospital. She said she has never heard of the hospital which the press said she was admitted in, so perhaps she was in another hospital which we dont know about. In all Im happy that she’s back, but in my opinion that carnival is very unnecessary, in whose account is it going? obviously the tax payers.

  7. Yems

    October 18, 2012 at 2:52 am

    AGAIN! They have made Nigerians a laffing stock! That all…………..!

  8. TripleJoy

    October 18, 2012 at 2:53 am

    What a sham. It is good that she is healthy but if our medical facilities were suitable, there would be no need to go abroad. All these people went to “keep thier contracts”. God save Nigeria. Michelle Obama would be so lucky to get such a reception; and she is actually making a difference.

  9. Junior

    October 18, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Sychopancy of the highest order.

  10. anon

    October 18, 2012 at 3:00 am

    I am so ashamed of my country! is this the 21st century???

  11. anon

    October 18, 2012 at 3:02 am

    I am glad we now have the internet to speak the truth, thanks AA and BN

  12. Jess

    October 18, 2012 at 3:03 am

    This country finds new ways to amaze me. Where they do this at?

  13. past2

    October 18, 2012 at 3:17 am

    country where the wrong people are always celebrated…i just wonder what she has done for them,abi dem dey look for another place to chop

  14. fidelia

    October 18, 2012 at 3:28 am


  15. Ify

    October 18, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Classical example of how the government continues to disregard it people. where does this sort of thing happen? only in Nigeria. how can the first lady go unaccounted for for three whole weeks with no sort of explanation? granted she does not contribute to the country anyway, but still, the people have a right to know what is going on because whether we like it or not, her welfare affects the president which in turn affects the people if he cannot carry out his duties. who was paying for her trip abroad? who is paying for this “welcome”? smh

  16. ToBechistyle

    October 18, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Despicable! Only Africans have such a warped sense of government!

  17. BooBayBee

    October 18, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Hmmmmm! Naija a lyf!

  18. Lentini

    October 18, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Obviously she wears the pant is the house. When The Yar Adua people did this nonesense we all cried foul. Now Jonathan is doing the same to his people. How can a first lady leave the country and the people don’t know when , why n how but our money is been used to hide her away. I just tire for this country and how people just get away with things.

  19. annonymous

    October 18, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Seriously, do we need a carnival to welcome her. Don’t we have more serious issues to deal with in our country

  20. Let them say

    October 18, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Money, indeed they say answereth all things. SMH for all the women and big government officials that were present, was this part of their various official duties.

  21. TayoL

    October 18, 2012 at 7:23 am

    She is just a village woman with village mentality. Thats it really.

    • Tired of my country

      October 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      I’m telling you o, Tayo.

      I pray that the next first family are enlighted and classy people. Not area touts like the Goodlucks.

  22. MeeT

    October 18, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Disgusting. We have perfected sycophancy.

  23. of course

    October 18, 2012 at 8:28 am

    thank God she is back!

  24. Tamara

    October 18, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Abeg…all you bad belle people just don’t get it!

    This reception and all the orishirishi is a message to all her enemies…”I am Alive, shame to bad people”. I can also bet that the same enemies where there to welcome her to show their innocence.

    Naija no go make me laugh abeg!!! See the funny side of the whole story (I am cracking up here).

    • Ngozi

      October 18, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Hehehehe your comment just made my morning!

    • Sandi

      October 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      I told my folks, if that woman was sick in a Nigerian hospital, they would’ve found a way to kill her. I think her comment that she wasn’t in the hospital, was more of I’m ok, y’all can’t get me. This is her message to her enemies.

  25. Homely

    October 18, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Look at all of them, licking asses… Rubbish!

  26. Camron

    October 18, 2012 at 8:46 am

    its the same that happened to our first lady of Cameroun. she disappeared for a while and didnt attend our national day as usual. Rumour had it that she was pregnant for one of her guards/Footballer/minister and so on and that she escaped from the presidency. others said the president had sent out abroad for an abortion. she was out of the country for ova 2 months and no media was to say or write anything about her so the form of communication was grapevine. after morethan 2 months, she returned back into the country and there was great feasting. till date, nobody knows where she was and for what reasons.
    i am beginning to suspect these first ladies. maybe they go to Indian to tie and drink herbs inorder to secure their husband’s position

  27. Lagos Loving

    October 18, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Ok nah

  28. Eve

    October 18, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Smbody say color riot or is it also sm part of color blocking??? Abt her press interview of not being in a hospital, that is a big fat lie cuz her color looks so off…btw i don’t see any item 7 for d so called well wishers who traveled far n wide to welcome her :). GEJ n his crew are a big joke!!!

  29. Rukky

    October 18, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Thank God our umbrera is safe! 🙂

  30. clymax

    October 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

    who is welcoming who?. a nation where the rich are above the LAW.

  31. MissShayee

    October 18, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Wow…….Lots of arse kissing going down there…….This occurrence shows the kind of orientation we have as Nigerians. Cultural dancers,branded T-shirts? It’s not like she went to represent our country for anything……This is real sad. Short of words.

  32. ij

    October 18, 2012 at 9:14 am

    just wait for it , they will soon confer her with 5 traditional titles , name 2 institutions after her , name 3 streets after her, then to top it off , dash her one doctorate .
    Only God knows how much they spent on this rubbish. They are definitely making a fool of Nigerians .
    Why couldn’t she quietly return to her Aso rock and her family, the same way she sneaked out without wanting people to know

  33. TRUTH

    October 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

    that banner “we are happy to recieve you back” is that one english? :s

  34. dor dor

    October 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Wonders Shall never cease!! Lord heal our land!!

  35. MOI

    October 18, 2012 at 9:20 am


  36. Triangle

    October 18, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Endurance I see you. Mr President’s niece 😀
    So dts where u guys disappeared to yesterday

  37. tito

    October 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

    only in Nigeria…… smh#

  38. lustre

    October 18, 2012 at 9:41 am

    what do u mean despite unanswered question abt her whereabout? Is she the president or what role does she play constitutionally? she doesnt owe u or nigerians for that matter any explanation. we spend so much energy on trivial matters. no wonder we are where we still are.what if it were ur mum??????

    • ij

      October 18, 2012 at 10:02 am

      and your point is what exactly?????

    • Elizabeth

      October 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      Didn’t you see previous comments,the president’s wife’s of other countries state their whereabouts, she is a public figure and if she is ill that will directly effect the President and that in turn effects the people of Nigeria.Plus I’m sure stolen/tax money was used for this ‘celebration’ so it’s the nations concern.

  39. Desire

    October 18, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Like Seriously? was this necessary? Wat is d need? Its mind boggling . Am tired mehn.

  40. Seun

    October 18, 2012 at 9:45 am

    She looks like she has lost her hair and she’z wearing an extremely covering outfit (long sleeves, flowing etc), and she looks darker too. Dame was definitely ill and most likely had to undertake chemotherapy treatments. Anyway, its good to see her again.

    As for the unnecessary fanfare – may God deliver us from such foolishness and frivolities in Nigeria.

    Issshhh, I cant shout

  41. ms_dee

    October 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

    lmao….my thoughts exactly

  42. lucy

    October 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

    “Boko-pple” dont know when to show!!! *smh*

    • sealed lips

      October 19, 2012 at 12:47 am

      lol @Boko people not knowing when to show up.Its sad that people are acting this way.If she sneaked out why announce her return on TV and organise all this? I see this whole thing annoying but rib cracking.I wish her well but frown at the idea of throwing a welcome party and all that.Its uncalled for especially since the truth wasnt disclosed.its typical to ask’ what are they celebrating’ . Anyway Dame quick recovery is what I wish you.Your head gear and BUBU dint do much job hiding the fact that something went wrong.

  43. Biz

    October 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Seriously, the lion share of our budget should be dedicated to treating our mental health issues in this country. Otherwise, how do you explain grown men who should managing the country and aso-ebi wearing people going to line up at the airport to welcome Madam Patience when we don’t even know where sha has been. I tire

    • MeeT

      October 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      +100 lol
      Dear Bellanaija, we need a like button please.

  44. Ayo

    October 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Sick people…sick country

  45. Idak

    October 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

    The barbarians and their attendant clowns had long escaped from the street corner and are now firmly rooted in the city center. This would have been so funny if it were not real and truly painful.

  46. Idak

    October 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

    How grown adults can make a living from this amount of ass licking and sycophancy bothers me.
    Nigerians are quick to seek saviours and hero(ine)s from shadowy characters. Is this the same Dora Akunyili that was the best thing after sliced bread until very recently? Reuben Abati too?
    The Bola Shagayas and Pelebo Banigos of this world we can understand but Dora too?? SMH

  47. Lue

    October 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

    “our sweet mummy” really? SMH

  48. Mfon

    October 18, 2012 at 10:56 am

    i think this is perfectly fine and not a waste of money. We Nigerians love to celebrate. I can see my parents throwing this party just because I came on a visit. My friend’s uncle throws a party anytime she visits. Abeg free them joh

  49. konnie

    October 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

    What is this in aid of? Did something happen and we didn’t know?
    Is this sycophancy or an excuse to party? Do these people have jobs?
    Who is footing this bill and why?

  50. sharon

    October 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

    if truly she jst went to rest,y d lavish celebration to welcome her back after this isn’t her 1st time of going for a holiday.i wonder y bokoharam wnt bomb all dis pple.

  51. Haywhy Gold

    October 18, 2012 at 11:12 am

    It was very obvious dat first lady was terribly sick, her face was very pale regardless of all d make up and take a very close look, she was wearing only one earring, I saw it with my two naked eyes on NTA

    • faith

      October 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      absolultly unecessary!!!!!…..mtsheewwww
      lol x 100

  52. chinwe

    October 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Only in Naija sha!!

  53. BeeT

    October 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Oh dear….SMH

  54. tinyan

    October 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Nothing is hidden under the sun. Sooner or later, we will find out!

  55. chike

    October 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    waoh what a country…thats all I can say, which way Nigeria!!! Your citizens are hungry, begging and crying for basic amenities…look at you!!! omase o!

  56. miumiu

    October 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    All i can say is eeeewwwwwwwww.

  57. X factor

    October 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm


  58. cherie

    October 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Don’t be dear! this is typical of African Leaders and their wives. Cameroon is a typical case study. Maybe this is the first of its kind in Nigeria; but in Cameroon ah!ah! c’est normale. people don’t even go to work because they want to go receive the first lady and no sanction is given.tu as pointé ta journèe.

  59. Anonymous

    October 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    With all that is going on in the country they still have the resources and time to welcome back to the country som1 that went for a bed rest and was not in the hospital. This sort of welcome is given to som1 who was faced with death and based on her words that she is happy for the second chance God has given her, it is clear she was sick and there is nothing wrong in admitting it. I do not know why they keep telling lies, these politicians. They lie about virtually everything. It is indeed sad. Anyways sha, the president should go back to taking care of the citizens of his country now that the first lady is back. There is a lot happening in the country right now that need his attention. Thank God for everything.

  60. duchess

    October 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    wen i saw this on today’s paper, i could not stomach it..I just kip remembering the story about the paralympics contenstants who brought back medals for the country yet when they arrived the airport there was no one to greet them; no minister of aviation, no president/aide, no cultural dances, NOTHING! and yet this village woman travelled at the country’s expense to germany for only God know what and she comes back amid such fanfare..I just cant understand this country…serious case of misplaced priorities!

  61. adelegirl

    October 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Sycophants galore. Look at the shameless agbaya “big men and women” of Nigeria, even our elected political office holders leaving their jobs to go and welcome an illiterate first lady of a dishonest wasteful government, spending our millions to organise a welcome carnival. I am disgusted!

  62. Aibee

    October 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Only in Nigeria do serving Governors and Ministers leave their States and duty posts to welcome an unelected wife of the President who went on vacation for a few weeks- a month. If all this carnival was because she went on holiday, what will they do if she had actually survived a terminal disease such as cancer or something? How many of his Permanent Secretaries has Governor Dickson gone to welcome at the Airport? Foolish man. He thinks just like his name.

    I find it additionally offensive that the President’s mother was dressesd in the same t-shirt with wrapper and scarf to match and she went all the way to the airport to welcome her daughter in law. Put that woman side by side with the cook or housekeeper in Aso-Rock as they were both dressed on that day and you can’t tell the difference. See all them Ministers, shameless people with no pride. Say whaty you will about Diezani Diamonds Maduekwe but I can bet that she wasn’t at this farce of a party.

    To add insult to injury, she had the nerve to lie and tell us she never heard of the hospital where the papers said she was and that she had never been to that hospital. Such blatant lies, even despite the hospital staff confirming to the Nigerian press that she was treated by them. Abi no be the hospital for Wiesbaden? Pschew!
    Anyway, welcome back Dame and please whatever you went to do in Germany, don’t go and do it agin.

  63. oyinkan

    October 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    the point is not that she was sick or not… the fanfare was wasteful and unnecessary. even the paralympic team that won gold didn’t get this kinda reception..This is the height of BS yo! Their priorities are screwed..

    • Tosin

      October 21, 2012 at 7:30 am

      I hear you. At least they won National Honours. It would have been nice to have a public reception – I bet you’d have made fun of that too 🙂 Just saying you can’t satisfy some people. That song: Ketekete by Ebenezer Obey.

  64. Xi

    October 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Maybe she’s pregnant………..

  65. cathy

    October 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    can you imagined?

  66. Naveah

    October 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    EVERY WOMAN DANCING SHOULD BE WHIPPED WITH KOBOKO! This woman’s husband NEVER said a word to address the families that lost their sons in ALUU and I know she herself will NOT visit those mothers but here are women dancing to welcome this woman? What has she done to deserve MORE FEDERAL money to be splurged on her like this? See Nigerians? See how we are easily distracted by opulence and not focused on substance? We love to be close to the celebrated, the famous, the rich and allow it to cloud our thinking.

  67. DJ

    October 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Our leaders are so shamelss,the 1st lady ought to have sneek back into the country rather than showing off.Well i dont blame them.

  68. tee

    October 18, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Pathetic bunch of thwarts!!!

  69. mfon

    October 19, 2012 at 3:15 am

    bellanaija please don’t post bad things about kids. It’s just not right. cuss out their parents, but kids should be a no go area. May God help us

  70. Tosin

    October 21, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Oya post my comment nah nah!

    First, the couple is an affectionate one jooo! For a Nigerian couple, the obvious connectedness and respect between them is a thing of beauty. Same thing my friend said when he saw their almost-kissing photo on the cover of Guardian.

    I’m glad she’s back and obviously ok. Maybe Bayelsa will query her for missing work for how long? Loool.

    As for the airport carnival, I spotted the name of Olusola Obada. As Minister of State for Defence, she’s the Acting Minister of Defence. Even if other ‘politicians’ felt they had to show face at the airport, I think Defence should be above all that. It’s serious buiness, you command the defence staff: Army/Navy/AirForce. Politics sha.

    I’m sorry Nigerians are so against our own. Allow Madam Patience. She is a fat woman. Her English is scatter-scatter. Her husband loves her. She loves her husband. She does not look for anybody’s trouble. God is blessing her. She is one of us. If it was a foreign first lady now, we’d think them superior, no be so? Look inwards. I agree, they needn’t have been so secret about her trip – we still don’t know why she was gone from Aso rock for all that time, but I’ve known loved ones more secretive about simple things – illness (cancer), perceived failures, etc. I just have to respect them, so maybe the same thing for this woman.

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