Patience Faka Jonathan was born 1957 into a respectable Christian family of Chief Lazarus Iwari-Oba in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. South South Nigeria. She is the current First Lady of Nigeria and a permanent secretary in her Bayelsa state. She is married to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Azikiwe Ebele Jonathan
Dame Patience Jonathan earned her school certificate in 1976, and passed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in 1980. In 1989, she obtained the National Certificate of Education (NCE) in Mathematics and Biology from the Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Port Harcourt. She then proceeded to the University of Port Harcourt and studied Biology and Psychology.
Patience Jonathan started her career as a teacher at the Stella Maris College, Port Harcourt and latter administrator at Sports Institute Isake. From there She moved to the banking sector in 1997, where she established the first community bank in Port Harcourt called the Akpo Community Bank. She served as Marketing Manager of Imiete Community Bank. She returned to the classroom briefly again as teacher. Eventually she was transferred to the Bayelsa State Ministry of Education, where she served until 29 May 1999 when her husband became the Deputy Governor of the state. On 12 July 2012, she became a permanent secretary in Bayelsa state. She and her husband have two children.
Mrs. Jonathan has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally for her philanthropic work and political pragmatism. Among the numerous awards She has received are:-
• “Beyond The Tears” International Humanitarian Award New York , USA in 2008 for her role in the global fight against HIV/AIDS;
• African Goodwill Ambassador Award ( Los Angeles , USA , 2008)
• The "Wind of Change" Award from the South/South Women’s Organization.
• A recipient of the International award for Excellence by the Yitzhak Rabin Centre, Tel Aviv, Israel 2008. This is the first of such recognition by this famous centre since its inception
• Pro-Chancellor and Fellow, African Business School (October, 2008)
• The Conferment of traditional Stool of Iyom“Ada di oha mma of Ukpo” by H.R.H Igwe Robert Eze.
• The conferment of the traditional title of Unume Wheshi Ekpeye 1 of Ekpeye Kingdom in Rivers State by the Eze Robinson O. Robinson the Ekpeyelogbo.
• A traditional Staff of office bestowed on her by the Okpahgwe Amawbia in Anambra State.
• Recipient of the Award for Excellence from the Christian Women Fellowship for upholding dignity and positive projection of womanhood in our generation.
• Recipient of ‘Defender of the Poor’ Award by Society of St.Vincent de Paul (Abuja Catholic Archdiocese)
As the first lady of Bayelsa Mrs. Jonathan founded many philanthropic and women empowerment programs, among them are the A-Aruere Reachout Foundation (AARF), which she set up to improve the status and earning capacity of women and youths. One of the foundations focus is on supporting and assisting children with heart-related problems. The Foundation has over the last eight years trained over 4000 women in different skills to enable them take care of themselves and their families.
As the First Lady of Nigeria, a position she assumed after her husband was sworn-in as President following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, she has been associated with the socio-economic upliftment of the Youths and Women of Nigeria.
This amiable woman is endeared to many people for her philanthropic and charity works. She has been described by many as a role model who has never stopped adding value to people’s lives with her charity works.
Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan displays a mindset and commitment underlying her avowed mission to help the less privileged break from the shackles of poverty, disease and underdevelopment. She is a friend of the less-privileged and a mother to the orphans who has never stopped supporting the poor through her Soup Kitchen largesse; scholarship awards to children of the less-privileged in the society and medical support and assistance to children with heart conditions. Dame Jonathan spends her leisure time swimming, reading, writing and traveling.