By Eric Elezuo
Four years after The Boss Newspapers uncovered and published the health situation of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, her husband, a former Military Governor of old Imo and Anambra states, Rear Admiral Alison Madueke, has exonerated the paper and proved doubting Thomases wrong, confirming that the former Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company actually had cancer.
Recall that in 2015, The Boss Newspapers, in its maiden edition published a world exclusive interview with the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, facilitated by our Publisher, Chief Dele Momodu in her London, United Kingdom home. A story many Nigerians dismissed as a hoax. Today, however, Rear Admiral Madueke (rtd) has confirmed in his recently published book titled, ‘Riding the Storms with God on My Side’, that his wife ‘lost her ability to speak and subsequently fell into a coma due to the complications of the cancer she had’.
A former Chief of Naval Staff, Madueke disclosed that towards the end of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2015, Diezani was diagnosed with cancer and had to be flown to London for treatment.
“On Sunday, July 26, 2015, I stepped into my bedroom soon after our brunch to find that my phone was ringing. It was my mother-in-law, Mrs. Beatrice Agama, who was staying with Diezani while she was undertaking treatment. She was sobbing and only managed to inform me that my wife was no longer talking.
“I was in London by 5.30am the following day, Monday, and went straight to see her. Diezani was in a coma. I called an ambulance that arrived 20 minutes later, the attendants bearing a stretcher. They had to get a wheelchair since the lift could not take the stretcher.
“In less than 10 minutes, we were at the emergency intensive care unit of the Harley Street Clinic. Her doctor, Prof. Paul Ellis, a top oncologist, was out of town and had to be recalled.
“Three days later, when Diezani finally came out of the coma, she saw me by her bedside and asked what I was doing in London. She had reacted badly to her Friday chemotherapy treatment. Thank God she pulled through that nightmarish incident and is now fully recovered.”
The retired naval officer said unfortunately, while his wife was severely ill, her condition became an issue of politics.
In the well balanced and creative reportage, Dele Momodu wrote: “On top of her problems, she’s having a running battle with the most dreaded form of cancer of the breast and she’s had to undergo surgeries to remove the lumps and later some chunky tissue. The treatments have not been that successful and it’s been a ding-dong affair for this once ebullient and elegant lady.”
A lot of Nigerians had cried foul and said that the entire story was a media stunt with some even accusing the reporter of being financially induced to do the write up. This was even as the report was spiced with verifiable pictures.
With the clarification from her husband now, which proved that the former petroleum strong woman actually had cancer, it is also possible that all her claims of innocence, and saying that she never stole a coin belonging to Nigeria could well be not only the fact, but gospel truth.
Madueke also stated in the book that he initially did not want his wife to take public office having only become the first female director of Shell Petroleum Development Company in Nigeria and had a great career, but when she accepted a ministerial appointment in 2007, he told her not to focus on money but maintain the good name of the family.
“When finally she was appointed Minister of Transportation, I took further time to advise her on the topic of self protection and self preservation in the bureaucracy.
“I finally recited the advice my father had given me upon my appointment as military governor. “Go do your best, don’t bring back money, but bring back my name”
“Later in that administration, she was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources, a position she held until the Peoples Democratic Party lost the 2015 Presidential election,” Madueke wrote.
Diezani presently lives in London while she continues to face both media and court trials in Nigeria.