72 Hours After Aso Rock Drama: Jonathan, Amaechi embrace in public

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Barely 72 hours after security personnel stopped Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State from approaching President Goodluck Jonathan at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, both men embraced publicly yesterday in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

The embrace took place at the Port-Harcourt International Airport when Jonathan was returning from his home state of Bayelsa where he commissioned a hospital facility.

Presidential Villa operatives had, on Wednesday, blocked Amaechi from getting to Jonathan  at the seat of power during a dinner, an action that was interpreted in many quarters as stemming from the crisis in the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).

The Aso Rock incident was the climax of the crisis in the NGF which saw the President disposed to Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State as chairman of the body as against Amaechi, who secured a second term as the NGF chairman with 19 votes to 16.

Jonathan, en route Abuja after the Bayelsa visit, yesterday, embraced Amaechi at the Port-Harcourt Airport.

He arrived the airport in a presidential chopper.

As the president emerged from the helicopter, he made for the tarmac where the Rivers governor stood with members of his state executive council.

President Goodluck Jonathan being received by Governor Rotimi Amaechi at the Port Harcourt International Airport . The President was on his way to Abuja from Bayelsa Sunday morning.

President Goodluck Jonathan being received by Governor Rotimi Amaechi at the Port Harcourt International Airport . The President was on his way to Abuja from Bayelsa Saturday morning.

Astonishment
Both men were locked in an  embrace after a handshake while those around watched in astonishment.
Those at the airport  included the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, the arrowhead of opposition to Amaechi in Rivers State, and the managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Chris Oboh.

Jonathan later boarded the presidential jet for Abuja.

Maternal Mortality

Earlier,  while in Bayelsa, the President commissioned a  40-bed Comprehensive Cottage Hospital in  Otuoke,  Ogbia local government area, saying the nation’s maternal mortality rate had dropped by 30 per cent in the last four years.

The multi million Naira health facility, built by the Bayelsa State Government, is located  at the president’s  home town.

Speaking at the occasion, Jonathan  put the nation’s current maternal mortality rate at 350 as against 500 deaths per one hundred thousand women recorded in 2008.

His administration, he assured, would not relent in its efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, target of 250 per one hundred thousand women by 2015.

The President, who reiterated his commitment to the MDGs, especially in the health sector, said all hands would be on deck at ensuring that the nation achieves its MDGs objectives in all the sectors by 2015.

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