Dame Patience Faka Jonathan
Segun James and Okon Bassey
The First Lady, Dame Patience Faka Jonathan, will be sworn in as a permanent secretary in the Bayelsa State Civil Service tomorrow.
Mrs. Jonathan, who was appointed permanent secretary in the state civil service by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson last week, is expected to arrive the state capital Yenagoa Thursday, for the swearing in.
But despite the criticism that has followed the announcement of her appointment, the first lady got support from the most unlikeliest of places Wednesday.
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, threw his weight behind her appointment, stating that the first lady was not constitutionally disqualified from the office of permanent secretary.
THISDAY gathered that all the new permanent secretaries, including Mrs Jonathan will be formally posted to their various ministries the same day.
Although it could not be confirmed at press time if Mrs. Jonathan would be moving back to Yenagoa after being sworn in and allotted a ministry, indications that the first lady will be accepting the position has emerged with the arrival of some State House personnel in Yenagoa Wednesday.
On her appointment, Soyinka, who spoke at a lecture at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Uyo, disagreed with the condemnations that have trailed Mrs. Jonathan’s appointment.
While making it clear that the first lady was not constitutionally disqualified from the office (of Permanent Secretary), Soyinka also expressed support for the call for regional cooperation and autonomy, devolution of powers from the centre, community policing and the non-posting of youth corps members to violence-ridden areas.
In his lecture titled, ‘Celebration of Good Governance’, Soyinka condemned the Boko Haram insurgency, describing it as “a manifestation of virulent religious backwardness”.
He also called for the streamlining of education in Nigeria especially at the tertiary level, adding that the administration of Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State had taken a “quantum leap in the development” of the state he last visited 12 years ago.
Soyinka noted that the governor had given equal attention to both the federal and state roads in the development of the state.
The deputy governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere, in his remark, attributed the transformation of the state to the leadership provided by Akpabio, stressing that good leadership was the real ingredient of good governance.
Ekere said that the state government had organised the interactive session between the students and Soyinka to enable the students learn from the Nobel Laureate.
He advised them to read and study Soyinka’s books, shun all forms of cultism and strive to become responsible citizens of the country.