FIRST Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, yesterday in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State made history, as she became the first wife of a serving president or governor to be sworn in as permanent secretary.
Mrs. Jonathan, alongside 18 other permanent secretaries, was sworn in by the Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri at the State
Banquette Hall Government House in Yenagoa. Other high profile permanent secretaries sworn-in are Mrs. Linnet Tebepah, wife of the Chairman Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Mrs. Vivian Odiwei, wife of the former vice chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
The appointment of the First Lady had generated controversy both within the state and across the country, but Governor
Henry Seriake Dickson had defended his position, claiming that he reserved the constitutional prerogative to make such appointment.
Also sworn in as permanent secretary were Mr. J.E. Oye, Samson Ayibeboa, Mrs. Antonia Koroye, Ziwari Billie
Buruboyefa John, Dikuro Ayebameh, Serge Williams, Olu Kuruom and G.I. Izien.
The rest are Ohougha Maythias, James Clinton, Mrs. Linnent Tebepah, Moses Teibowei, Dr A Sanayi , Vivian Odiwei, Dr. Omietimi Kojo and Ese Izonibe.
Governor Dickson, in his charge to the permanent secretaries soon after they were sworn-in, said they should be upright and uphold the integrity of the civil service.
Dickson insisted that he followed due process in the cause of selecting the permanent secretaries, with the
strong believe that it will promote even participation in governance.
The governor however warned the new permanent secretaries not to be involved in politics as he is only concern about building a robust civil service that will unite the state.
Mrs. Jonathan who responded on behalf of the new permanent secretaries, said she considered it a great honour for finding them
worthy of such high appointment.
According to her, their appointment is a confirmation of Dickson administration’s resolve to transform the state economically, socially and
politically. She assured the governor of their resolve to deploy their collective expertise and experience to work harder for the development of the state as a way of justifying the confidence reposed in them.