Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has appointed the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience Jonathan, as one of the seventeen new Permanent Secretaries in the state civil service.
Jonathan, according to a statement from the Office of the Head of Service, Mrs. Gloria Izonfo, on Wednesday, was appointed alongside 16 senior civil servants. The statement was read on the state radio.
“By the constitutional power conferred on the state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, in section 203 sub-section 2c, Dame Patience Jonathan and seventeen others have been elevated to the position of Permanent Secretary in the state civil service,” Izonfo said.
Our correspondent, however, reports that the appointment has stirred a controversy in the state with some Bayelsans expressing misgivings about the appointment.
The other seventeen permanent secretaries are: Mr. J.E. Oye, Samson Ayibeboa, Mrs. Antonia Koroye, Ziwari Billie, Buruboyefa John, Dikuro Ayebameh, Serge Williams, Olu Kuruom, G.I.Izein, Mrs.Philomena Alodie, Dr. Omietimi Kojo, Ese Izonebi, Ohougha Maythias, James Clinton, Mrs. Linnet Tebepah, Moses Teibowei, Dr. A. Sanayi and Vivian Odiwei.
Jonathan, a native of Okrika in Rivers State, had served in the Rivers and Bayelsa states civil services before her husband’s election as deputy governor. However, our reporter couldn’t confirm if she had been due for appointment as permanent secretary before her husband’s first election.
The wife of the President has a National Certificate of Education in Mathematics/Biology, which she obtained in 1989 from the Rivers State College of Education. She also has a degree in Biology and Psychology (Education) from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Seriake, on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Mackson Iworiso, confirmed the appointment, adding that the development was a ‘routine action’ in the civil service.