The wife of the president, Dame Patience Jonathan, has denied canvassing for the 2015 gubernatorial ambition of a former governor of Oyo State and chieftain of the Accord Party, Senator Rasheed Ladoja.
The first lady was yesterday reacting to a report in some national dailies that she summoned Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial aspirants in Oyo State and asked them to “accommodate” Ladoja.
A former governor of the state and gubernatorial aspirant, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, who was part of the meeting, which reportedly took place 10 days ago at the Presidential Villa, Abuja and had in attendance the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide; a former Senate Leader, Sen. Teslim Folarin, Chief Yekini Adeojo and Ladoja himself, confirmed that Mrs. Jonathan asked them to accommodate the ex-governor but denied being asked to step down.
“Yes, it is true that the First Lady met us. But she didn’t ask me to step down. She said we should accommodate Ladoja in our party and we said it would be difficult to do so because he is not a member of the PDP. That was what happened”, he said.
However, the first lady, who has been in the news recently over her alleged meddlesomeness in strictly party affairs, in a statement titled: “Re: Oyo PDP Crisis: Party Leaders, aspirants battle Patience Jonathan” and issued by her media aide, Ayo Adewuyi, described the report as dubious, diversionary, unfair, unkind and totally unacceptable.
She said the reports were a new twist to anchor the political fortunes or survival of certain politicians on a deliberate demonization of her personality.
Mrs. Jonathan said she was neither an elected state official nor a party functionary to make such a request.
The statement reads: “It has come to our notice that a new twist has been introduced to the carefully orchestrated scheme to anchor the political fortunes or survival of certain politicians on a deliberate demonisation of Mrs Patience Faka Jonathan, who has continued to preach the gospel of peaceful atmosphere for the conduct of 2015 elections.”
“This was demonstrated in a newspaper report. According to the report, the First Lady, is being alleged to have requested PDP leaders in Oyo State to “accommodate” former Governor Rashidi Ladoja, who is an Accord Party chieftain in the PDP and be “supported to realise his Governorship ambition”.
“We consider it preposterous that it can be assumed that the First Lady would possibly make such request on behalf of someone who is not even in the PDP. We ask again, on what platform? Within what context? And to achieve what? Is Ladoja in PDP?
“This is another attempt by mischief makers to loop their self-induced political travails around the First Lady, to develop another strategy for their survival.
“Let us state once again, that Mrs Jonathan is not an elected state official, neither is she a party functionary. She therefore recognises very clearly her place in the scheme of things and acts always accordingly.
“If anything, she has continued to preach for peaceful conduct of all aspirants before, during and after elections, since she believes that Peace is prerequisite to a free and fair election and ultimately, development and unity of the country.
“The First Lady is of the opinion that we need peaceful environment for the election itself and when there is likelihood of crisis brewing; performing her role as the President of the African First Ladies Peace Mission becomes inevitable, since charity must begin at home.
“She believes the elections can only be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere and the aspirants must be alive to contest and win election. She only preaches peace because she is a mother of peace.
“Dame Jonathan was in Ibadan only for the purpose of inaugurating the Oyo State office of Women for Change and Development Initiative, one of her NGOs seeking for the upliftment of the status of Nigerian women, during which women of Oyo State were equally empowered.”
“To therefore say that the First Lady summoned PDP governorship aspirants asking them to “accommodate” an Accord Party aspirant is to say the least dubious, diversionary, unfair, unkind, and therefore totally unacceptable”.