Embarrassment As Jonathan Misses Speaking Slot At AU Gathering

President Goodluck Jonathan today missed the opportunity to give a speech at the ongoing Special Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the African Union (AU).
thambo_obj_0Two members of President Jonathan’s delegation spoke to SaharaReporters from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia which also serves as the secretariat of the AU. They reported that there was confusion among delegates as well as embarrassment on the part of Nigerian officials when Mr. Jonathan failed to show up in the hall to deliver his speech.

Mr. Jonathan’s “no-show” reportedly set tongues wagging as delegates from other African nations asked confused Nigerian officials why their president did not appear to address the AU on an occasion as important as this year’s assembly. The AU was inaugurated 50 years ago and known for many years as the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

In the 1970s and 1980s, Nigeria was one of the organization’s most dynamic members, using international diplomacy as well as funds to push for the liberation of Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Our sources offered conflicting accounts of Mr. Jonathan’s whereabouts. One Nigerian source said he heard that Mr. Jonathan had gone to the toilet when he was called. He added that a presidential insider later said Mr. Jonathan was having a bilateral meeting with a head of state from another African country.

But another source scoffed at both excuses. “If the president was in the toilet, his aides should have informed the protocol at the summit to delay in calling him to speak. And if the president wanted to hold a bilateral meeting, why should he fix it during the time he was told he would address the assembly??” He added that somebody within Mr. Jonathan’s inner circle disclosed that the Nigerian president had stayed up till late eating and drinking with members of his inner circle.

Mr. Jonathan also reportedly spent a long time consulting with some of his governor associates back in Nigeria about ways to push back against the Nigerian Governors Forum that yesterday elected Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as their chairman. Mr. Jonathan, who has had a long-running political feud with Governor Amaechi, had backed Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State for the post of chairman of the governors’ group. Mr. Jang’s defeat rattled the president, several sources told SaharaReporters yesterday.

“Mr. President was up very, very late. But he had been up that late at night and still woke up in time to honor his appointments,” the source said. “But today, he did not seem to realize that addressing the assembly was an important obligation.”

Our two main sources said they and other Nigerian diplomats were shocked and embarrassed when Mr. Jonathan’s name was called to give his speech but the Nigerian head of state was nowhere to be found. “The official summit announcer called Mr. President a few more times, and then the program went ahead to another speaker,” said one source. Mr. Jonathan later showed up to join in the photo-op session at the meeting and disappeared shortly afterwards without offering any explanation for his absence when it was his turn to speak.

Among those at the AU’s assembly were President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as well as former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

14 Comments

  • See the kind of president we hav as he is busy drinkin ogogoro and shekpe he did not apear to make a speach.this is the true replica of his atitude in nigerian leadership and peace process…shame on u jonathan.

  • Nigerians can now see how coward their president is, what a shame for jonathan to run away from his primary assignment for him only to show up during the photo session. I don’t support Buhari but GEJ is not the best candidate come 2015, all his compatriot should call him to order and talk sense to his senses not to disgrace us around anymore because I see no reason someone like Asari dokubo, Edwin clark and the likes will be clamoring for this failure. Nigeria is never a failure before but this man called GEJ as failed us, it is better for him not to show up at all than for him to show up during photo session so all his concern about his fashion no wonder his wife is distributing aso-ebi for democracy day what a shame. Nigeria should learn from this and vote wisely come 2015.

  • What a shame! …was in the toilet… ??? …drinking. Drinking what at such an important programe with Baba OBJ in attenfdance. GEJ nees to resign now.

  • It was the fear of Amaechi emergence that made him to run away from giving the speech because that one is more important than giving a speech at the AU Summit, GEJ you are the best to come out of Nigeria including Akpabio, Mimiko, Jang and other Mumu in your camp…

  • Do not rain abuses on the no1 citizen, show some respect.am sure u are all APC members, opposition my. Foot

  • Anything could make our President to be out of Seat, at that material time, Rmb he is still a human being, but my concern is that what is OBJ doing tight-seated without any rescue mission, is shame for one not shame for all in this kind of forum?.

  • Its really. A. Shame that. MR.president couldn’t give a. Speech cos none was prepared,courtesy of my beloved governor. Amaechi.

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