In response to the harsh criticisms that have been pouring in since the appointment of the first lady of the country as a permanent secretary in Bayelsa State, state government has stated that the appointment of the wife of the President, Dame Patience Jonathan, is in accordance with ongoing general reforms in the state’s public service.
According to statement credited to the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Seriake Dickson on Media and Public Affairs, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the state government believes that the services of the first lady to the development of Bayelsa State and Nigeria are essential services, which should be recognised and rewarded, hence this step by the state government.
The governor’s spokesperson further pointed out that wives of governors, vice-presidents, presidents, and all other spouses whose positions were not recognised by the laws of the country should be encouraged to pursue and maintain their independent careers.
He continues, “Unknown to a number of people, the First Lady joined the Rivers State Civil Service in the 90’s and upon the election of her husband as Deputy Governor in 1999 transferred her service to the civil service of Bayelsa State… She rose through the ranks of the public service of Bayelsa State and was last appointed into the directorate cadre as a level 15 officer in 2005.
“By the traditions of the Bayelsa State Civil Service, officers on directorate level, some of whom are even junior to her present position have been appointed as permanent secretaries before now. Even among the list of those currently appointed, not all of them are the most senior officers.” He then concludes, “Wives of public officers should not suffer prejudices or deprivation merely as a result of the positions occupied by their husbands.”