President Goodluck Jonathan

The presidency has said the inability of President Goodluck Jonathan to pay tribute to late Nelson Mandela at the state funeral service held in his honour at the FNB Stadium in Pretoria was not an insult to Nigeria as speculated. The presidency has said the inability of President Goodluck Jonathan to pay tribute to late Nelson Mandela at the state funeral service held in his honour at the FNB Stadium in Pretoria was not an insult to Nigeria as speculated.

It also described the public outcry that trailed the development as a case of worrying over something that is not an issue.

According to Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, “This is obviously a further indication of a rising, minority tendency to read the negative into every official item.

“It was made clear at the occasion that the Chairman of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will speak on behalf of African leaders. And she did. I do not agree that Nigeria was insulted in any way. It was good that President Jonathan attended the Memorial service and that Nigeria is in solidarity with the South Africans”, he added.

Abati observed that if every leader who was present at the service was given the platform speak, the service would not have ended.

He added that “There were many other leaders at the event, whose countries have strong historical and political ties with South Africa, but who did not speak. I have not heard their compatriots crying like babies”.

The presidential spokesman further said, “This is a classic case of much ado about nothing. The question of President Jonathan not speaking at the Mandela funeral which you claim is giving some of your readers headache is a complete non-issue. The late Madiba’s burial is not a United Nations Debating session. It is what it is a burial: a solemn, national ceremony.

“Leaders from all over the world attended the Memorial Service to pay their last respects and to identify with South Africans in their hour of grief. It was certainly not meant to be an occasion for political grandstanding or the waving of flags. Out of about 100 world leaders who attended the event today, only six spoke at the ceremony”.

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