GOOD to be here,” was the message her countenance at the Presidential Villa, Abuja passed. Yet, Mrs Patience Jonathan stayed away for the first four-year tenure of the Muhammadu Buhari Administration.
The immediate past First Lady, who was the queen at the Villa for about five years, left in 2015 when Buhari, who defeated her husband, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was sworn-in. Her surprise visit on Monday was the first during the Buhari administration.
Hajia Buhari warmly received Dame Patience. They held hands, shared jokes, whispered into each other’s hearing and laughed like friends who have missed each other’s company. Together they looked at the pictures of past First Ladies on Mrs. Buhari’s office wall and had a discussion around the portraits of ex-First Ladies from Jummai Tafawa-Balewa to Turai Yar’Adua. They also admired pottery and other art works in a shelf in the First Lady’s office.
The smile on Mrs Buhari’s face when Mrs Jonathan was whispering to her as her security aide held the door of her car for her to enter gave the inkling of an interesting last word.
The visit has raised posers: Hajia Aisha Buhari has been fiercely independent and assertive to the point of concern to some people in her role at the Villa. Mrs. Jonathan is known to have wielded so much influence during the Administration of her husband. Could it be that they are comparing notes?
Why did she visit after staying away for so long? Why didn’t she visit with her husband, who visited a number of times in the administration’s first term and twice in quick sucession of recent? Or, does it have to do with the alleged rapprochement of the Jonathan family and the All Progressives Congress (APC), which dealt the blow on the quest by outgoing Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson to install his successor? Have they now developed family friendship? Or, is she seeking an end to the seizure of cash and properties traced to her and her aides?
President Buhari and ex-President Jonathan have stuck an usually close relationship. Is the same thing being replicated by their wives?
During one of his visits, President Jonathan came with an envelope which he handed over to President Buhari. No statement was issued on the reason for the visit.
During another visit, the Presidency said Joanathan was at the Villa to thank the President for sympathising with him over the attack on his compound in his country home in Otuoke, Bayelsa State.
During his most recent visit, President Buhari saw the ex-president off – to his car – an evidence of full courtesy.
Mrs. Buhari, in a tweet, on Tuesday said this was all they discussed: “Yesterday (Monday), I received my predecessor, Her Excellency Dame Patience Jonathan at the State House.
“We discussed my efforts with regards to greater involvement of women in politics & participation of women at a lower level of governance.
“We also discussed girl-child education and her pet project “women for change”.
“I got to hear her experience during her tenure and listened to her perspectives on issues affecting women and children in society.
“It was really nice having her around and I look forward to having more of such moments.”