Jonathan back home, cancels meeting with G7


President Goodluck Jonathan

Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja

President Goodluck Jonathan returned to Abuja from London on Sunday evening and declared that he is “very okay to resume work, I believe even this night,” in a brief interview with some reporters immediately he alighted from the plane at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja

The President who arrived just after 7 pm however expressed his appreciation to Nigerians for the messages they sent for his 56th birthday celebration as well as show of solidarity, concern and best wishes when the news of his sudden illness in London became public knowledge.

“I really had some health challenges. I have to thank God again because, the concern shown by Nigerians and the love: thank God that I am very okay to resume work, I believe from this night,” said the President.

“The most important thing is that I am back. You will expect that when you are holding a political office as the president of a country, anything that affects you attracts a lot of attention. So that the President is sick alone even if you don’t know the ailment, definitely it will cause apprehension,” he added.

President Goodluck Jonathan: back home from the UK
President Goodluck Jonathan: back home from the UK

Contrary to expectations, the President however declared that he will not be able to meet with the G7 Governors, in continuation of efforts to end the crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party

“Tonight, no I don’t think I will be able to meet with them. You know six hours flight is quite a distance, so and also following with the issue of my health, I don’t think I will meet with them,” the President said.

He however assured that he will meet with the Governors, probably later in the week. “Politics is about discussion. We belong to the same political party or even people from different political parties engage in political discussion and political discussion is a continuous process, even during election people discuss. So we will continue to discuss,” the President said when he was asked the necessity for continuing meeting with the rebellious governors when nothing was achieved in the previous meetings held with the group.

The President also confirmed that he has received the report of the committee set up to probe the armoured BMW cars involving the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.

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But he dismissed reports that some minister left the HIIC meeting for their private business. He explained that, except for minister of trade and investment, other ministers only attend sessions where they are scheduled to make presentations.

President Jonathan left Nigeria early last Wednesday morning to attend the 15th meeting of the Honorary International Investors Council London.

He however missed the opening ceremony of the event on Thursday due to sudden illness he developed overnight and recommendations by doctors that attended to him that he should rest for a few days, according to Reuben Abati, his spokesperson.

The President however made an unexpected appearance at the London meeting on Friday despite the “rest for a few days” advice of the Doctors.

Abati also confirmed yesterday that doctors who examined and treated the President for the sudden onset of severe abdominal pains in London have certified him fully fit to return home and continue his official duties.

According to him, after a thorough evaluation of the President’s symptoms, medically referred to as acute abdomen, the doctors concluded that no surgical intervention was required.

The president’s media adviser also described as fiction the story that he fell ill in London after a “heavy birthday party thrown to celebrate his 56th birthday” at the Intercontinental Hotel.

He expressed regrets that despite the open admittance of the president’s ill health in London, some online organs went ahead to make what he called ” scurrilous distortions of the facts of the President’s indisposition”.

“The truth”, said Abati, ” is that President Jonathan observed his 56th birthday anniversary quietly. For part of the day, he was airborne, in transit between Abuja and London. On arrival in London, he spent the rest of the day in the privacy of his hotel room. It has never been his custom to celebrate birthday anniversaries and no exception was made this year. No birthday party was therefore held for the President in London”.