President Goodluck Jonathan's younger brother Meni Jonathan has died at the Aso Rock clinic Abuja today.
On the day that President Goodluck Jonathan clocked 55 years, amidst a blaze of newspaper adverts, the celebratory mood has been dampened with the death of his younger brother, Meni Innocent Jonathan.
His death was confirmed this afternoon by Aso Rock, following hours of speculations by bloggers.
A short statement by the President’s spokesman, Reuben Abati said:“President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan announces with sadness the death earlier today of his younger brother, Chief Meni Innocent Jonathan. Chief Meni Jonathan passed away at the National Hospital, Abuja after a brief illness.Formal burial arrangements will be announced later by the family”.
It was not clear whether the president will proceed on his scheduled journey today to Islamabad, Pakistan for the summit of D8, despite the death of his brother.
Though the president continued to hold court despite the tragedy, the death of Meni nevertheless threw the first family into mourning.
Meni reportedly served as the head of Otueke Council of Chiefs before his death.
Though the circumstances of his death remains unclear, It was learnt that the deceased said to be in his 40s brought to Abuja last week to receive treatment for a yet to be revealed illness.
Some sources indicated that Meni died some minutes before noon at the Clinic, although the presidency said he died at the National Hospital.
However, there are yet no indication that the death of Meni will stop the President’s planned trip to Islamabad, Pakistan for the D-8 Summit.
Despite the death of his half brother, President Jonathan has also continued to perform official functions as he received letters of credence from five new Ambassadors today.
The President urged the five new Ambassadors to Nigeria to focus attention on the strengthening of economic ties during their various tenures.
He spoke after he received letters of credence from the Ambassadors during different audiences at State House.
The new Ambassadors are Mr. Isaac Genesis Munlo of Malawi, Mr. Carsten Nilaus Pederson of Denmark, Mr. Shyam LalTabadar of Nepal, Mr. Myint Naung of Myanmar and Mr. Alex Lamadrid of the Philipines.
President Jonathan told the new Malawian Ambassador that the Administration was working hard to make agriculture a business in Nigeria, instead of a subsistence occupation, in order to attract younger farmers and provide more jobs.
The President told the Ambassador of Denmark that Nigeria wanted more robust economic relations with the Nordic countries.He acknowledged and welcomed the ongoing cooperation with Phililpines and the training of Nigerian seafarers in that country.
The new Ambassadors acknowledged the positive leadership role Nigeria has played in the African continent and commended
President Jonathan for sustaining the tradition.
They expressed their commitment to strengthening relations between their countries and Nigeria, for the mutual benefit of the people on both sides.
The new Ambassadors, whose presentation of letters of credence coincided with the President’s birthday, wished President Jonathan happy birthday.