The Presidency has reacted strongly to the July 1 editorial by the Punch newspapers which criticized the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan’s penchant for causing discomfort to ordinary Nigerians with her elaborate security details during her visits to Lagos, Warri and recently, Port Harcourt.
The editorial titled “Patience Jonathan’s excesses must be curbed” berated Mrs Jonathan’s extravagant security arrangements and recalled her recent visit to Rivers State saying among others, “Armoured personnel carriers were deployed at two points, while gun-wielding operatives manned the points leading to her private residence. Many people missed their appointments because they were prevented from moving in and out of their houses.”
But obviously rattled by the editorial, the Presidency rose to the Mrs. Jonathan’s defence, describing the July 1 publication as “outright falsification” and “calculated exaggerations”.
Interestingly, the rebuttal was wide-off the mark as it completely failed to address any of the issues raised in the editorial, instead the media aide to the First Lady, Ayo Osinlu, accused the newspaper of being recruited into a “hit squad” made up of people he described as having “tottering political careers.”
“These syndicated attacks are not exactly surprising, especially for those who are familiar with the fact that it is a well-known trait of the arrowhead of the attacks to be disrespectful of all forms of authority, including those who gave him his most substantial opportunities in life,” he says.
“It is however worrisome that these trench men are finding partnership in a sensitive organ of society such as the media, to cast aspersions on carefully selected members of the society, as a design to inspire public sympathy to accumulate for them. And tell us a better catch in this calculation than the illustrious First Lady of the nation, affectionately well-received by the people for her evident accomplishments in charity, philanthropy and the general promotion of the values of humanity.”
“This is why we are persuaded to once again alert the media about the lucre-for-news strategy of these desperados, whose ultimate plan is to tie the hands of the media behind its back, in order to induce it to echo their faulty sentiments,” Mr Osinlu adds.