Nigerian First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, yesterday, disclosed why she was absent from the country for almost three months during which the presidency tried to hide her whereabouts and her state of health. She said she died and woke up after seven days while she battled the ailment that took her out of the country.
Testifying to God’s goodness during a thanksgiving service held at the State House chapel in Abuja, the First Lady said the prayers of Nigerians sustained her, adding that some people who thought she was dead and never expected her back started to sell her property.
The First Lady said she underwent seven surgical operations within one month and even the doctors didn’t think she was going to survive.
“I remember when Chief Obasanjo was the President of the country; I was close to his late wife, Stella. We worshiped together in this chapel. It was a painful moment for me that time when she (Stella) died and her corpse was brought here,” Patience Jonathan said.
“That was how my corpse would have been brought here. It was not an easy experience for me. I actually died; I passed out for more than a week. My intestine and tummy were opened.
“I am not Lazarus but my experience was similar to his. My doctors said all hope was lost.
“A black doctor in London who is with us in this service was flown in when the situation became critical. It was God himself in His infinite mercy that said I will return to Nigeria. God woke me up after seven days.
“I know that some people somehow leaked the information that I was dead. They are people that I trust and rely on; to them, I was dead and I would never return to the country alive. Some of them even sold my things off.
“I won’t say everything here. It is the Lord’s doing that I returned alive. When God says yes, nobody can say no.
“People are always afraid of operation (surgery) but in my own case, while my travail lasted, I was begging for it (surgery) after the third operation because I was going to the theatre every day.
“It was God who saw me through. I did eight or nine operations within one month. It was not an easy one.
“The day I came back, I said God I have nothing to say, I offer myself to you. I will be doing things that will touch the lives of the less privileged.
“God gave me second chance because I reached there. He knew I have not completed the assignments He gave me; that was why I was sent back,” she said.
President Goodluck Jonathan also said when he became president, some people had predicted that either he or his wife would die in office.
President Jonathan said the day was a special one for him and his family, bearing in mind that rumour of death in his family has always been in the air since he was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State.
“I thank God for keeping the life of my wife. If anything had happened to her there would have been many stories and the fake prophets would have had their predictions fulfilled,” the president remarked.
The thanksgiving reception had in attendance, former heads of state, governors, members of the National Assembly, ministers and other dignitaries.
The president then urged Nigerians not to relent in their prayers for the good of the country. “If you love this country, you will not talk about divisions. God willing we will begin to turn things around,” he prayed drawing inspiration from the recent victory of the Super Eagles at the just concluded African Cup of Nations.
The thanksgiving however has been criticised by some Nigerians who wondered if the alleged N500 million used for thanksgiving couldn’t have been used for better developmental projects.