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Etteh moves birthday party to US - She went to deliver lecture - Source

By Our Reporter - 15.08.2007

A good number of members of the National Assembly have been arriving in Maryland/Washington DC area of the United States to attend a birthday bash planned by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, Empowered Newswire has reported.

Etteh, who would be turning 54 on Friday, has invited almost all members of the National Assembly to attend the event expected to be held somewhere in Bowie, Maryland, where the Speaker is said to have a family home.

A member of the House of Representatives confirmed that almost half of the members of the National Assembly are expected at the bash, among other top Nigerian public officers like governors, ministers and commissioners.

A source confirmed that the Senate President, David Mark, is also being expected at the event which is now becoming the talk of the town among some groups of Nigerians in Maryland. Mark is expected to arrive in his residence in Fairfax, Virginia. The speaker herself was being awaited as at press time from Nigeria, where the National Assembly is already on recess.

Details of the exact location of the birthday bash are being kept under wraps, but informed sources disclosed that the birthday event is beginning to raise questions as several members of the House consider the invitation a must because the Speaker is believed to have personally asked many of them to attend in what is considered as a show of support.

Many National Assembly members are said to have abandoned their constituencies and other pressing engagements in Nigeria to make a showing at the event, while several others are said to have jumped at the invitation to visit the US.

Sources said the Speaker is already receiving various kinds of birthday presents from influential and powerful Nigerians and many more are expected to follow as the event draws nearer.

Etteh was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in June, but was first elected into the House in 1999 on the ticket of the Alliance for Democracy, before she crossed to the PDP on which ticket she was elected in 2003 representing the Ayedaade/Isokan/Irewole Federal Constituency. Etteh was previously the Minority Whip of the House of Representatives.

Born August 17, 1953, she is married with two children, both of whom are also expected at the birthday bash.

A beauty therapist by profession, Etteh has a Diploma in Law from the University of Abuja and her main legislative interests, according to her, is woman/child rights, equity and fair play, while she listed her legislative target achievement thus: "to develop the rural areas.”

Meanwhile, a source close to the Speaker debunked the report, saying that Etteh went to deliver a paper in America together with the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.

The source described the news as the handiwork of her detractors, who are working against her success in the House of Representatives. The source said “if her birthday coincides with the date slated for the lecture, must she ignore the assignment and come back home for a party. That is not reasonable,” describing the rumour as evil and incredible.

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