Wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience Jonathan, has resigned her appointment as Permanent Secretary in the Bayelsa State Civil Service.
The 57-year-old Patience was said to have left the service voluntarily.
Dame Patience Jonathan was one of the appointed 17 permanent secretaries in the state civil service in July 2012.
The appointment had caused outrage in the state at the time with some Bayelsans expressing misgivings about it and the extent to which the civil service was politicised.
Though Ministry of Education sources said Patience disengaged from service voluntarily, there is speculation that she resigned because of alleged rift between her and Governor Seriake Dickson.
The alleged frosty relationship between the duo was said to have been triggered by Patience unwillingness to support Dickson’s second term bid.
Instead, it was learnt that the First Lady had preference for the Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters, Mr. Waripamowei Dudafa.
It was gathered that Patience threw in her towel to enable her to have the moral justification to fight with the governor for the soul of Bayelsa State.
At the state’s Ministry of Education on Thursday, fear pervaded the entire place as many civil servants were afraid to comment on the issue.
But our correspondent learnt from reliable sources that the ministry had computed her terminal benefits already.
For those who agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity, they said, “The whole thing is political. It appears Madam Peace is not happy with the governor. With her resignation, the battle line has been drawn.
“I feel the President’s wife resigned to enable her to have the moral right to slug it out with Dickson ahead of the governorship poll in the state. Let no one deceive you, the whole thing is politics. After all, she is 57 and the retirement age is 60.”
When contacted, Chief Salo Adikumo, who resigned during the week as Commissioner for Education, said he was no longer the commissioner.
“I resigned recently as commissioner to enable me to pursue my political ambition. Please direct all your questions to the Ministry,” he said.
However, a high ranking official of the ministry said it was true the First Lady had resigned.
The official, who did not want her name in print for fear of witchhunt, dismissed political undercurrents in her resignation.
He said, “I can say Dame Patience Jonathan has voluntarily retired. But whether there is political undertone in her resignation, I cannot say.
“I think the First Lady felt that her continued stay as Permanent Secretary will be depriving others. Now that she has thrown in the towel, it will afford others the opportunity to take her position.
“Already, in accordance with the civil service rules, we have prepared all her entitlements. Whatever is due her will be given to her. She will also be receiving her pension.”
The Street Journal had exclusively reported two weeks ago that both Dickson and his Cross Rivers counterpart Lyme Imoke, were the two governors that objected to the endorsement of Jonathan as the sole candidate of PDP during the PDP Governors’ Forum meeting where the decision was taken.
It was reported that the two Governors had objected to the idea of endorsing the president as the ruling party’s sole candidate for the 2015 presidential election, arguing that wider consultations needed to be done before such step could be taken by the body.
It was learnt that the president’s kitchen cabinet there and then marked the two governors as opponents of the president’s ambition to rule the nation for another four years starting from next year.
A school of thought says, there rift had been on before the endorsement of the president. This school is of the opinion that Mr President was not too happy with the way funds were being disbursed in the state compared with the few physical projects to show for them. It was learnt that the president was piqued by the way Dickson’s body language was rubbishing his predecessors’ achievements in the state, including the president, in a manner that magnifies the incumbent’s feats as unprecedented. .
The development, it was learnt has led to a serious rift between the president, particularly the first lady and Dickson, which precipitated shopping for the Bayelsa Governor’s successor even when he still has a constitutional right for a second term.
Like former president Olusegun Obasanjo who fought tooth and nail to en-throw his Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs, (an office popularly dubbed ‘’President’s House-boy’) Andy Uba’, as Governor of Anambra State without luck, it was learnt that the occupant of the same office is being rooted for the Bayelsa State Governor’s seat come 2015 by the first family.