The announcement by the Bayelsa State Government of the appointment of the First Lady of the country, Patience Jonathan, as a Permanent Secretary in the state was accompanied by a lot of criticisms, with the state government coming up with a statement in defense of its decision. The office of the First Lady too came up with a release on how the First Lady intends to carry out her responsibilities as a permanent secretary.
No release, either from the First Lady, or from her office has talked about her “humbly” rejecting the appointment, and appreciating the gesture on the part of the state government, thereby pledging to do all she can to contribute to the development of Bayelsa State, using her position as the wife of the president of the country (and the office of the wife of the president does not have to be legalized in order to achieve this!). This sounds like the most logical thing to do in the circumstances.
Coincidentally, one of the recommendations of the Justice Belgore-led Committee on the Review of the Constitution of the country, is the scrapping of the offices of the First Lady in all levels of government in the country. It is believed that they wield so much power already, even though their office is not recognized in the constitution of the country.
Interestingly, one of the excuses given by the Bayelsa State Government is that the office of the First Lady is not constitutionally recognized, hence we should not make them feel deprived. Perhaps Justice Belgore’s should have recommended the recognition of these offices in the constitution, but with clear cut responsibilities. A substantial part of our resources go into the “upkeep” of these First Ladies already. And with latest developments, will they even be blocking civil servants from rising to attain their well deserved positions?