Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, has been appointed, by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, with seventeen others as new permanent secretaries in the state civil service. This is the first time the wife of a president has been appointed as a permanent secretary and this is generating controversy since permanent secretaries are typically senior civil servants.
Government sources claim that her appointment is justified based on her long service which was transferred from the Rivers State Civil Service to the Bayelsa Civil Service. A spokesman for the Bayelsa state governor claimed that Mrs Jonathan would have risen to the status of a permanent secretary, if she she had not taken a leave of absence after her husband became the deputy governor of Bayelsa state. However, there was no information on the level she rose to in the civil service before she left and which ministry she was working in before she went on a leave of absence.
Dame Patience Jonathan and seventeen other senior civil servants were elevated to the position of permanent secretary in Bayelsa state. The statement confirming her appointment said, “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,”
Dame Patience Jonathan obtained the National Certificate of Education (NCE) in Mathematics/ Biology in 1989 from the Rivers State College of Education and a Bachelor of Education in Biology and Psychology from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
She worked in teaching, banking and as a sports administrator in the Rivers state civil service.