Blair Visits Villa, Commends Jonathan For His Leadership Style


Abuja Feb 20, (THEWILL) – Acting President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday received commendations for his political leadership from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair during a visit to him at his official residence in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Tony Blair arrived in Nigeria earlier today as one of the guests of THISDAY newspaper's 'THISDAY Nigeria at 50 Awards.'

The former prime minister met with Jonathan for about 30 minutes and said he was satisfied with the strength of Nigeria and United Kingdom relations while also thanking the acting president for the manner he has handled the leadership crisis caused by President Yar'Adua's illness.

Speaking to State House correspondents, he said, "First of all I would say I am delighted to have seen the Acting president and to discuss with him and hear from him the situation here in Nigeria and the wider region and we were able to talk about some of the issues that are of mutual interest to the relationship between Britain and Nigeria. That relationship is a strong one, and I want it to stay strong.

"I have done lots of work with the previous president of Nigeria while I was in the office and all of Africa and we know that without Nigeria fulfilling its potentials and exerting its leadership, it will be greatly difficult for the whole of Africa.

"I said to the Acting President that I want to thank him for the wise way he and the institution of Nigeria government have handled themselves in the last few days and I want to say it has been pretty the difficult situation and I think they have handled it with skill."

On what Jonathan's response was to his comments, Blair said, "He was explaining to me the importance of maintaining the right constitutional process and we both agree that one of the greatest things to have happened is returning democratic government and we would want to see that maintained."

"There is no place for nothing else and I am actually optimistic that this will happen, there is the great desire on the part of the legislature, the acting president himself to make sure that even in what seems to be unique and difficult situation, the country has been able to function and move forward in a proper way and in a way that helps its people," he explained.

Blair is expected to join former United States 43rd president, Mr. George Walker Bush and former US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice at the Fifteenth THISDAY Annual Awards event in Abuja on Sunday, February 21st.