President Goodluck Jonathan signing the oath book during his swearing-in at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

Why he did not attend Yar ‘Adua’s burial

By Daniel Idonor, Abuja
Contrary to speculations that  President Goodluck Jonathan refused to attend the burial ceremony of his immediate past boss, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in Katsina State because of a soured  relationship   between him and the  Yar’Adua’s family ,  it has been revealed that Jonathan’s absence at the burial was purely on religious ground.

But barring last minute change of mind, President Jonathan is expected to leave  for Katsina, the home state of his former boss, late President Yar’Adua, this morning on a one-day state visit, to condole with the people and government of the state over the death of the immediate past President.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that while the new President was  absent at the burial he dispatched a high powered Federal Government delegation led by number three citizen and Speaker of House Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed (both of whom are Muslims) to attend the event.

It was  further learnt that, in the past, whenever high profile public officers passed on,  it is only top government functionaries who share the same faith wit2h them that are sent as Federal Government delegation to attend their burial rites or ceremonies.

This, Vanguard learnt, explains why Yar’Adua’s successor, President Jonathan who shares a different faith could not make it to Katsina, but instead, sent the next highest public personalities in the persons of Bankole and Yayale to represent the government at the funeral of the late Nigeria leader who died in office; and was accorded state burial.

The same reason accounted for  the absence of  Senate President, Senator David Mark, a Christian, who is next to Jonathan presently, in the absence of a Vice President.

The late President passed on Wednesday night, after prolonged illhealth, at his official residence, Aso Rock, Presidential Villa; bringing to an end many months of political uncertainty in Nigeria.

Already, an advance party (team) of the new President, comprising security men, Journalists and protocol personnel, arrived Katsina State yesterday afternoon, as part of the presidential condolence visit.

Although details  and the itenary of the President’s visit could not be obtained, as at press time, there were strong indications that while in the ancient city of Katsina, Jonathan is expected to pay a condolence visit to Emir of Katsina, and thereafter meet with the State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, and above all, the immediate family of the late Yar’Adua.

It was also learnt that President Jonathan would use the condolence visit to re assure the Yar’Adua’s immediate family, especially the immediate past first lady, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua, that   he will continue to assist the family both as a friend and political associate.

Dr Jonathan is expected back in Aso Rock today.


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