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"Boko Haram" Stops President Jonathan From Attending His Brother's Wedding

•As he orders tighter security

Written by Taiwo Adisa, Leon Usigbe and Oluwole Ige Sunday, 06 November 2011

Strong indication emerged on Saturday why President Goodluck Jonathan decided to call off a private visit to Bayelsa State.

Jonathan, who was billed to attend the wedding ceremony of his younger brother, which kicked off on Friday at Udeme Hotel, in Yenogoa, jolted thousands of Bayelsans, who had gathered at Peace Park, opposite the state government house, on Saturday, for the reception ceremony of the wedding.

According to the presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, the president decided to cancel his planned trip to Bayelsa on Friday, when he heard of the bomb incident at a military base in Maiduguri and another attack in Yobe State.

Dr Abati, who stated this in a chat with newsmen, said President Jonathan had ordered security agencies in the country to renew a fresh manhunt for perpetrators of the suicide bomb attempt at the Maiduguri military base as well as another attack in Yobe State.

He stated that contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the cancelation had to do with the political situation in Bayelsa State, the president's action was as a result of the decision to devote more time to the search for peace in the troubled North Eastern states.

Dr. Abati noted that what the president was going for in Bayelsa was a social event which was also a family affair, adding that the president felt that it would be a wrong priority if he left the pressing security challenge of the nation unattended to, only to head for his brother’s wedding.

"The president does not feel that he should be seen attending a wedding when such incidents are happening, and he has renewed his charge to security agencies to renew the search for those behind the dastardly acts. He believes that for anyone to carry out such acts of destruction of lives at this season of peace deviates from the message of peace and love that ordinarily radiates around Eid-il-Kabir.

"It is clear that perpetrators of such acts are out on selfish agenda which cannot be allowed to fester," Abati said.

He explained that “the president cancelled all engagements when the report of the incident reached him, including the wedding of his younger brother in Bayelsa State and another appointment at the airport at 4pm. He said it would be wrong and insensitive to be seen to be celebrating when such tragedy occurred.”

Abati added that Jonathan opted to stay back in Abuja and mourn with the families of the victims of the blasts while assuring all Nigerians and the international community that his administration was doing everything to secure lives and property in the country.

The president wondered in whose interest the Boko Haram were fighting, noting that from their timing of the attack and targeting of innocent lives, they were pursuing selfish agenda that was detrimental to the well-being of the country.

Jonathan was particularly pained that the attacks were coming during the holy festivity of Eid-el-Kabir, saying this made him to cancel all his engagements as a mark of respect for victims of the latest bomb blasts.

He observed that the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, which claimed responsibility over the last weekend’s attacks in Borno and Yobe states, were pursuing a selfish agenda, noting that that explained why they went for innocent civilians.

Jonathan, however, condemned the attacks and warned the perpetrators to desist from it as no efforts would be spared to bring them to book, if they continued.

Meanwhile, fresh facts have emerged that the PDP governors have also dumped Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State, making his ambition of flying the party’s flag next year a tall dream.

The governors, Sunday Tribune gathered, took the decision because the party has told them its direction in Sylva’s matter and they could not contravene the position given their situations and the fact they are party loyalists.

According to a competent source in the PDP Governors’ Forum, the governors chose to allow the wish of the party to prevail in the case because the party told them its stand and might have seen what they (governors) failed to see. “We cannot move against the party’s wish because we think the party knows better,” the source said.

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