The First Lady, Dame (Dr.) Patience Jonathan, has decried what she termed a campaign of calumny against her following recent media reports that she summoned some Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, governors and coerced them into dropping their agitations for the removal of the party’s national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
The statement particularly noted a damning report which was published on the front page of the Thursday edition of This Day newspaper with the title “First Lady Threatens PDP Governors Over Tukur”, saying the article made reference to an unnamed source which purported that the First Lady was interfering in the affairs of the PDP.
The said article had narrated how Dame Jonathan discussed with the governors of Kogi, Akwa Ibom and Abia States respectively on why they should back-pedal on the removal of Tukur as national chairman of PDP, saying it would affect President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 ambition.
But the First Lady’s spokesperson urged members of the Forth Estate of the Realm to be more mature in their reportage and adhere to the basic ethics of journalism by being fair, factual and balanced.
According to the statement, “The article made reference to a vague source with no name. No reporter approached the First Lady or her office for comments or at least to ascertain the veracity of the story. In that respect, the story was not balanced.
“The language used in the report cannot be called fair. In fact, it should draw consternation from all well-meaning individuals as being uncharitable. Words like “haranguing the party’s governors” and “Threatens PDP Governors” are not only untrue but capable of causing disaffection and portraying the First Lady in a bad light.
“We wish to restate that the First Lady, like any other Nigerian is guaranteed the freedom of expression and freedom of association as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. The First Lady has always exercised this basic right maturely and patriotically by advocating peace, tolerance and dialogue as demonstrated in all her public speeches and statements.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it must be stated clearly that the First Lady has never harangued or threatened anyone, needless to say, serving governors”.
The statement said in continuation of her efforts towards a peaceful nation, Mrs Jonathan, last Tuesday led a National Women Fasting and Prayer for Peace and Unity in Nigeria event in Abuja.
It recalled that both Christian and Muslim women came together as agents of peace, carrying olive branches, “beseeching the Lord to uphold the peace and unity of Nigeria; peace in all the political parties; peace in the National Assembly and peace in the Presidency, as only peace and unity can move our nation, Nigeria forward”.
The statement added that “Nobody should, under any guise, use the name of the First Lady to cause division or discord in the nation as she has committed herself to fasting and praying for the peace and unity of Nigeria.
“The First Lady will continue fasting until we achieve unity and peace in our Fatherland”, it concluded.