Northern governors chose to attend the wedding of the daughters of Vice-President Namadi Sambo in Kaduna over the burial of Meni Jonathan, the younger brother of President Goodluck Jonathan, both of which took place over the weekend.
Also, the funeral of Meni which took place at St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area in Bayelsa State did not have any South-West governor in attendance.
Meni had died from a cardiac arrest in Abuja on the 20th of November, said a mournful President Jonathan. He added that Meni showed no signs of death when he accompanied the President back to Abuja after his private visit to his hometown.
President Jonathan was accompanied by his wife, Patience, his mother Eunice and the wives and children of the deceased to the funeral.
He said, “What worries me is that he died suddenly. He came to my house. Nobody carried him. We discussed but he was a bit frail. I asked him to follow us so that he could do medical check-up. He drove down to Yenagoa to board the chopper to Abuja. He got to Abuja that Saturday and he was admitted in the hospital.
“The following Monday, his breathing changed. I decided to make an arrangement to let him get treatment outside. Unfortunately, he had a cardiac arrest at the State House clinic.
“We were making arrangements to move him to the National Hospital. It is a very sad thing. He has been covering the home front for us. He was a very humble person. He was a reliable and trustworthy person that you can ask to handle things for you.”
He admitted being amazed by the size of the crowd and number of personalities that came for the funeral.
He said, “In some traditions, I’m not supposed to be in the church. There is a tradition that you don’t bury your younger ones. Luckily for this community, we don’t have too many of these cultural and traditional things.
“I know that people will surely die but I believe that people should live to an age. It is quite sad that Nigerians are pulled to the community to bury my younger brother. He was very young. God knows best. It is not how long you stay on earth but the little impact you make that matters.”
While the Northern governors stayed away from the funeral, government contractors, business moguls, top actors and Peoples’ Democratic Party bigwigs were in attendance.
The Northern governors were said to be in Kaduna attending the wedding ceremonies of Sambo’s daughters which coincided with the funeral.
However, it was not clear as to why the South-Western governors did not attend the funeral, even though the condolence message of the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun was published in the funeral programme.
All South-Eastern and South-South governors attended the funeral with the exception of Liyel Imoke from Cross Rivers State who is said to be on a two-month leave, while nothing was heard of Adams Oshiomole of Edo State.
The Bishop of Ogbia Diocese, James Ayo Oruwori, who presided over the service described the late Meni as having lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation.
Condolence letters from Presidents Ernest Bai Koroma and Joyce Banda of Sierra Leone and Malawi respectively, in which they said they were saddened by the news of Meni’s death, were read at the solemn ceremony.