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Jonathan returns to Nigeria, postpones meeting with G-7 governors

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from London on Sunday, admitting that he had health challenges while in the United Kingdom.

The president equally disclosed that his meeting with the G7 governor scheduled for last night was no longer possible because of his jetlag having travelled from London to Abuja.

Speaking with newsmen at the airport, the president said he would hold the meeting with the aggrieved governors during the week.

“First let me thank and show appreciation to Nigerians for their love and concern. First on Wednesday, even though I was in London, I read how people congratulated me, remembering my birthday that I don’t normally celebrate anyway.

“But people know, so they normally congratulate me and I read it in the papers. I have to thank Nigerians and especially on the issue of my health, I really had some health challenges, but I have to thank God again because of the concern shown by Nigerians,” Jonathan said.

On meeting with the G7 governors, he said, “I don’t think I will be able to hold any meeting (tonight), you know a six-hour flight is quite a distance and also following from my health challenges, but we will meet.'

On how soon he will meet with the governors, Jonathan said: “I don’t know, I am just coming in, I believe within the week we will be able to meet. Politics is about discussions, we belong to the same political party or even people from different political parties engage in political discussions and they are a continuous process. Even during elections, people discuss. So we will continue to discuss.”

On the report on the aviation minister, he disclosed that the committee he set up had submitted its report.

When asked if it was true that ministers abandoned the conference in London, the president said: “All of them performed very well. I think there was some kind of misconception. The Honorary International Investors' Conference (HIIC) meets two times in a year, one in Nigeria and one outside Nigeria, sometimes in London; the last time it was in France or so.

“Ministers are not meant to sit throughout the period. Ministers are meant to go and make presentations even in Nigeria. The only person that normally sits throughout is the Minister of Trade and Investment that warehouses the HIIC. Some ministers don’t normally sit for two days. In a day, you may not see a minister.

“If a minister is meant to make a presentation on the second day, it is not that for the two days you will expect all the ministers, because I read some of the report in the media that the Minister of Communications Technology was not there and the Minister of Petroleum was there on Thursday.

“They were not meant to make presentations on Thursday, they appeared on Friday and made their presentations. Even in Nigeria, I even sit in more of the meetings because it is a group that advises the president. If I’m not there the vice-president takes over,' he said.

On the gravity of his illness, Jonathan explained that the most important thing was that he was back, stating, 'You will expect that when you are holding a political office as the president of a country, anything that affects you attracts a lots of attention. So when the president is sick, it will cause apprehension.”