A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, lost her ability to speak and subsequently fell into a coma due to the complications of the cancer she had, her husband has said.
Diezani’s husband, Rear Admiral Alison Madueke (retd.), said this in his recently published book titled, ‘Riding the Storms with God on My Side’.
Madueke, who is a former Chief of Naval Staff, said towards the end of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2015, Diezani was diagnosed with cancer and had to be flown to London for treatment.
He said, “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.
Earlier in the book, Madueke said when Diezani accepted a ministerial appointment in 2007, he told her not to focus on money but maintain the good name of the family.
Madueke, who served as military governor of Imo and Anambra states in the 1980s, said 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.
The former naval officer said, “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.”
On how his wife was appointed a minister, Madueke said shortly before the inauguration of President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007, he was approached by the then Vice-President-elect, Goodluck Jonathan.
Madueke said Jonathan pleaded with him to allow Diezani to take up a job as minister as there were very few persons of Bayelsa origin who had her impressive resumé.