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Jonathan not speaking at Mandela’s funeral is non-issue – Abati

By The Citizen
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The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, ┬áhas described the reactions that has trailed President Goodluck Jonathan not speaking at the late South African President, Nelson Mandela yesterday at the FSB Stadium in Pretoria as “a classic case of much ado about nothing”.

Nigerians on social media have poured out their anger in torrents over Jonathan over what they termed the snubbing of the president, despite the sacrifice Nigerians made to see the end of apartheid regime in South Africa.

But Abati said, the late Madiba’s burial was not a United Nations Debating session but a solemn, national ceremony that had leaders from all over the world that came to pay their last respects and to identify with South Africans in their hour of grief and was certainly not meant to be an occasion for political grandstanding or the waving of flags.

He 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┬átoday, only six spoke at the ceremony. 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. If every leader who attended the service had been asked to say a word, the event would not have ended. 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. This is obviously a further indication of a rising, minority tendency to read the negative into every official item”.