Minister of women affairs, Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, yesterday cancelled the birthday celebration she had earlier planned for her husband, Double Chief Kennedy Ohanenye.
The party scheduled to hold at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, did not take place at the planned venue as guests and well-wishers were not available when LEADERSHIP visited the area yesterday afternoon.
At the front office of the hotel, the officials claimed that no such event was on the hotel’s schedule.
Throughout the period that LEADERSHIP was at the facility, no dignitary or her colleagues, who were purportedly invited for the event, were seen.
The cancellation of the event may not be unconnected with the backlash that trailed the invite by the minister to her fellow ministers which generated mixed reactions last week.
The minister had allegedly sent out a memo with the theme: “Come and celebrate my darling husband’s birthday with me.”
It was gathered that the memo was only intended for ministers, and that the event was billed as a “low-key, small interaction”.
It read, “Please come celebrate my darling husband’s birthday with me.
“Birthday: Double Chief Kennedy Ohanenye.
“Date & Time: 4th February, 2024/3pm dot.
“Venue: Transcorp Hilton Hotel.”
Not much was disclosed about the minister’s husband except that he is also a lawyer, a businessman and a philanthropist.
In an interview the minister granted last year, Mrs Ohanenye said she always looked forward to spending time with her husband whenever she was not at work, describing him as her “main baby”.
“You will not believe it, and I don’t know how to explain it, he is my main, main first baby,” she said.
Following the controversy trailing the aborted birthday, the Ministry of Women Affairs at the weekend debunked a letter of invitation to Nigerian ministers and a publication by an online media, alleging that the minister was organising a birthday celebration at Hilton Hotel, Abuja, for her husband.
In a release signed by the minister’s special assistant, media, Mr Ohaeri Osondu Joseph, he said he spotted several misrepresentations in the online publication including “an unfeasible date and grammatical errors,” which he described as “all falsehood aimed at distracting the minister’s genuine intention to protect and promote the rights and wellbeing of the Nigerian women and the girl-child.
“The attention of the ministry has been drawn to a publication by the Osun Defender on February 1, 2024, with the caption: ‘Amidst Economic Hardship Minister Organises Lavish Birthday For Husband’ by one Hafsoh Isiaq.
“Having gone through the content of the publication, the need to clarify the disinformation and misleading allegation against the person of the minister of women affairs as portrayed by the author has become most pertinent.
“The publication is grossly marred with falsehood as some indices point to the fact that the author was either misled by his source(s) who is out to malign the personality of the honorable minister or did not carry out due diligence before going to press. It is even most worrisome to note the obvious shift by the management of Osun Defender from its philosophy which is anchored on integrity and journalistic balance which is the hallmark of true and fair journalism.
“It is common knowledge that modern day information technology provides wider latitude for most documents to be forged, make alterations, clone signatures and other manipulations which cannot be visible to the human eye.
“Without dwelling much on the attached letter of invite purportedly linked to the honorable minister, the author was quick to assert that Osun Defender understands that the year ‘2023’ as written on the invite was a typographical error that should have read as ‘2024’. However, this is a strong pointer to the fact that the attached letter of invite was the handiwork of mischief makers with latent mission to whittle down the remarkable feats of the Women Affairs Ministry in the last five months under the watch of the present minister, Barr Uju Kennedy Ohanenye. Otherwise, how can one explain the 29th January, 2023 date on the purported letter when the present dispensation was yet to assume office?”
The statement further queried the use of the phrase “has allegedly organised’ for an event which is yet to take place, adding that it showed that the said publication was fraught with obvious contradictions in the author’s bid to push falsehood into the public space.
It urged Nigerians to disregard the said online publication by the Osun Defender, describing the report as a figment of falsehood and a calculated attempt to distract the minister from sustaining her ministry’s genuine and undiluted course to protect and promote the welfare and wellbeing of Nigerian women and the girl child.