Don King, American and foremost boxing promoter, hasÂ sent a goodwillÂ message toÂ new President Goodluck Jonathan, while offeringÂ condolences to the government and people of Nigeria overÂ the deathÂ ofÂ former President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua.
King said he considered himself a strong member of the Nigerian family following his long standing association with Nigerians in recent years; hence he was deeply touched over the death of Yarâ€™Adua.
â€œI was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, whose leadership provided great hope for the Nigerian people,â€ King said.
â€œHe was a beacon for the promise of what Nigeria can achieve. My thoughts are with his family members and the citizens of Nigeria.Â I love Nigeria and I love the Nigerian people.â€
King, who met with late Yarâ€™Adua and the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja during a visit to Nigeria in 2008, said he was highly impressed during his interaction as both showed genuine love for Nigerians.
Jonathan succeeded Yarâ€™Adua last Thursday as substantive President after serving in acting capacity after the National Assembly transferred power to him in February.
King said he was sure that new president would carry on with the good plans laid out by his predecessor, asking Nigerians to rally behind the Jonathan presidency as the country countdown to its 50th anniversary.
Said he: â€œMy great friend and Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, as well asÂ sports ambassador, Sumonu Bello_Osagie introduced me to President Yarâ€™Adua andÂ the then Vice President Goodluck during a visit to the presidential villa. We immediately formed a bond of brotherhood and respect because I could see they were dedicated to the betterment of their country and its people.
â€œHaving met with these leaders, I know the aspirations and goals they described for a better Nigeria will live on to be achieved in the future.Â During this time of mourning and reflection, I call on the Nigerian people to unite and keep hope alive for a better Nigeria.
â€œThe people of Nigeria should rally behind their new President Goodluck Jonathan.Â There would be no better tribute to and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Nigerian independence in October than for an orderly transition to President Jonathan to take place.Â This would show the world this great African country is committed to unity, solidarity and togetherness while pursuing the countryâ€™s vast potential through peace, harmony and humanity,â€ he added.