The Presidency last night rose in defence of President Goodluck Jonathan for not speaking at the memorial service in honour of the former South African leader, Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

The President had come under serious condemnation by critics in the social media, who wondered why he went to Johannesburg in the first place without rendering an oration in honour of Madiba as other world leaders did.

But Presidential Spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, dismissed the attacks on the President as a classic case of much ado about nothing, as Jonathan was not billed to speak at the ceremony in the first place.

According to Abati, only six out of the 100 world leaders at the event, were slated to speak and Jonathan was not one of those chosen to render any speech.

“The late Madiba’s burial is not a United Nations Debating session. It is what it is a burial: a solemn, national ceremony,” Abati said.

” 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 today, 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,”Abati said.



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