Patience Jonathan resigns as Bayelsa Permanent Secretary

By The Citizen
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Wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, has resigned her appointment as Permanent Secretary in the Bayelsa State Civil Service.

The 57-year-old Patience was said to have left the service voluntarily.

She was one of the appointed 17 permanent secretaries in the state civil service in July 2012.

The appointment had caused outrage in the state at the time with some Bayelsa residents accusing Governor Seriake Dickson of politicising the civil service in the state.

Though Ministry of Education sources said Patience disengaged from service voluntarily, there were speculations that she resigned because of alleged rift between her and   Dickson.

The alleged frosty relationship between the governor and the President's wife was said to have been triggered by Patience unwillingness to support Dickson's second term bid.

Instead, it was learnt that Jonathan's wife had expressed her preference for the Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters, Mr. Waripamowei Dudafa.

It was learnt that Patience resigned her appointment to enable her to have the moral justification to push her candidate.

At the state's Ministry of Education on Thursday, many of the civil servants refused to comment on the development.

But our correspondent learnt from reliable sources that the ministry had computed her terminal benefits already.

One civil servant, who agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity, said, 'The whole thing is political. It appears Madam (the President's wife) is not happy with the governor. With her resignation, the battle line has been drawn.

'I feel the President's wife resigned to enable her to have the moral right to slug it out with Dickson ahead of the governorship poll in the state. Let no one deceive you, the whole thing is politics. After all, she is 57 and the retirement age is 60.'

When contacted, Chief Salo Adikumo, who resigned during the week as Commissioner for Education, said he was no longer the commissioner.

'I resigned recently as commissioner to enable me to pursue my political ambition. Please direct all your enquiries to the ministry, ' he said.

However, a ranking official of the ministry said it was true Patience had resigned voluntarily.

The official, who did not want her name in print because she was not authorised to speak on the matter, said she was not aware of the resignation having political undercurrents.

She said, 'I can say Patience Jonathan has voluntarily retired. But whether there is political undertone in her resignation or not, I cannot say.

'I think the First Lady felt that her continued stay as Permanent Secretary will be depriving others. Now that she has resigned, it will afford others the opportunity to take over her position.

'Already, in accordance with the civil service rules, we have prepared all her entitlements. Whatever is due her will be given to her. She will also be receiving her pension.' - Punch.