The Presidency has unequivocally denied reports that; President Goodluck Jonathan failed to show up to deliver a speech at the 50th Anniversary of the African Union in Addis Ababa.
According to Dr. Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, ‘there is nothing amiss here’; President Jonathan was perfectly in order’. He did not abandon his duty post’.
In a chat with the PSN late Saturday evening, he said that, ‘Mr. President was attending on the sidelines of the AU event, at the time Nigeria was called. It was a meeting on Infrastructure in West Africa.
“It is perfectly normal for Presidents to meet on the sidelines of any international meeting, and as the AU plenary went on yesterday, many Presidents stepped out to hold bilateral meetings, and return to the hall”.
He further stated that, ‘Where they are listed to make a statement in a plenary session and as happened in our case, the President had gone to attend a meeting on the sidelines, the Minister sitting in for the President can ask for a different slot to enable his Principal return to the hall to make the statement’.
“Where he does not do this, he may opt to present the country’s statement. Yesterday, it was not only Amb. Gbenga Ashiru who presented the country statement on behalf of their principals.
“The President was in fact busy at work on behalf of Nigerians’. I see the mischief that has suddenly erupted around this matter as a classic case of much ado about nothing. President Jonathan is an accomplished diplomat; under his watch, Nigeria’s relationship with other countries has continued to grow strong. We are witnessing under this administration, a truly golden and glorious moment in Nigeria’s foreign policy process, an achievement which President Jonathan cherishes.