Jonathan Returns Today, Says Alcohol Not Cause Of Illness
The Presidency has stated that President Goodluck Jonathan will return to Nigeria on Sunday evening (today) from London, where he attended the 15th meeting of the Honorary International Investors Council.
Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, who announced the President’s return via a statement, also disclosed that Jonathan’s illness while in London was due to severe abdominal pains.
He added that doctors who examined and treated the President certified him fully fit to return home and continue his official duties.
He said, “The President is scheduled to depart from London at about 1400 hours GMT and arrive at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at about 2000 hours.
“He seizes this opportunity to thank all Nigerians once again for their sympathy, support and prayers for his quick recovery following the announcement of his indisposition,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Jonathan on Saturday denied reports in a section of the media that his health broke down in London after engaging in drinking spree during a bash organised to mark his 56th birthday.
He said contrary to the claim, he observed his birthday on Wednesday quietly with better part of the day spent on air from Abuja to London while the remaining part was spent in the privacy of his hotel room.
The clarification was contained in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.
Jonathan said the section of the media with the wrong information were not beyond the bounds of legal action for libel and wilful defamation of the character and reputation of the President “who has courageously stepped forward to serve his country.”
The President, however, thanked Nigerians, including his supporters, friends and political associates who expressed and conveyed their sympathies and solidarity with him, through various means.
He observed that his sudden indisposition came while he was on a mission to attract investments to Nigeria in keeping with his agenda for national transformation.
He also commended the generality of the mainstream media, whose coverage of his health challenge in London, he described as mostly factual, objective, fair-minded and supportive.
The statement read, “We however condemn the utterly irresponsible, deplorable, highly unprofessional and unethical antics of certain fringe elements operating in the nebulous sphere of cyberspace, who persist in seizing every opportunity to unjustifiably malign and impugn the character and integrity of the elected leader of their country.
“It is very regrettable indeed that after complying with President Jonathan’s standing instruction that Nigerians must never be kept in the dark about the state of his health, the public was duly informed that the President had received precautionary medical attention for an unexpected indisposition in London, Sahara Reporters and some other reckless, lawless, impudent and unpatriotic internet-based media chose to assault the sensibilities of all decent Nigerians again with their entirely fictional, malicious, hate-driven and scurrilous distortion of the facts of the President’s indisposition.
“The suggestion by Sahara Reporters that President Jonathan took ill following a ‘heavy birthday party thrown to celebrate the President’s 56th birthday at his Presidential suite in the InterContinental Hotel in London’ is fictional nonsense as there was definitely no party in London to celebrate President Jonathan’s birthday on Wednesday night.
“The truth is that President Jonathan observed his 56th birthday anniversary quietly. For part of the day, he was airborne, in transit between Abuja and London. On arrival in London, he spent the rest of the day in the privacy of his hotel room. It has never been his custom to celebrate birthday anniversaries and no exception was made this year. No birthday party was therefore held for the President in London and there was certainly no drinking spree as Sahara Reporters claimed.
“As unregulated as they are, Sahara Reporters and their ilk are not beyond the bounds of legal action for libel and wilful defamation of the character and reputation of a President who has courageously stepped forward to serve his country.
“They know very well that they can never substantiate or prove the constant false allegations and innuendoes they publish for the sole purpose of negatively portraying President Jonathan and his administration.
“Their incessant claim of a bibulous President is pure fiction and blackmail, and the product of malicious imagination. We warn that our forbearance of their disrespectful caricaturing of the President is not limitless.”
The President maintained that nobody was beyond health challenges irrespective of their station in life.
He said that, sadly, this commonplace fact appeared to be beyond the understanding of the publishers of the online medium who he said seemed to have lost all sense of propriety, decency and human compassion.
“The President is comforted by the prayers, support and overwhelming goodwill of the people of Nigeria, fully assured that the forces of good will continue to triumph over the forces of darkness in our land,” he concluded