Patience Jonathan to quit as African First Ladies President


President Goodluck Jonathan’s loss in the March 28 presidential election has started taking its toll on his wife, Patience.

Arrangements had been concluded for her to quit her position as the President of the African Ladies Peace Mission, two months before the expiration of her tenure.

The mission comprises of wives of Presidents of all African countries.

Mrs. Jonathan was elected the mission’s President at its seventh summit held in Abuja in July 2012 and her tenure would have expired in July 2015 when a new president would have been elected.

But because she will cease to be Nigeria’s President’s wife from May 29 when her husband will hand over power to the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari , Mrs. Jonathan had summoned an emergency summit of the mission for May 15 for the purpose of electing her successor.

According to a copy of the invitation to members dated April 6 and personally signed by the President’s wife, she explained that she summoned the emergency summit to ensure that there would not be leadership vacuum in the organisation as it happened in 2010 when her predecessor left office without handing over.

She said her desire was to put in place a standard that would strengthen the organisation and ensure effective mechanism to guarantee seamless takeoff for the incoming leadership.

The invitation partly read, “…Your Excellency may recall that Nigeria was re-elected President of the AFLPM at the 7th Summit in Abuja in July 2012. With the recent election in my country and a new government coming on board from May 29, 2015, it has become necessary to convene an emergency summit of the AFLPM to facilitate a smooth and formal hand over to the new Executive Committee that will pilot the affairs of the Peace Mission for the next two years.

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“The Emergency Summit is proposed for Friday, May 15, 2015 at the Interim Secretariat of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, Abuja by 2pm. The Summit will, however, be preceded by the 4th meeting of the Executive Bureau by 9am, on May 15 at the same venue. The Bureau Meeting is for members of the Executive Bureau, comprising South Africa, Sudan, Cameroon, Libya and Congo Brazzaville.

“…In the light of the above, may I appeal to Your Excellency to give utmost consideration to attending the Emergency Summit in order to ensure that our organisation maintains its current momentum.

“We will deeply appreciate your kind early response to help us in planning the Summit, in view of limited time available to us.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Special Assistant to the President on Peace Mission, Mrs. Martha Onwuzurumba, was hesitant.

She demanded to know the source of the information from our correspondent.

Mrs. Onwuzurumba who is the wife of the President’s Chaplain, Ven. Obioma Onwuzurumba, is said to be in charge of the Mission’s secretariat.

She said she would not speak on the matter.

“The African First Ladies Peace Mission is not a Non-Governmental Organisation for Nigeria, so I won’t be able to answer your question,” she said.

The AFLPM, which aims at promoting peace and harmony in Africa, was established in 1995 after the United Nations’ Conference on Women in Beijing, China.

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