The late Meni, younger brother of President Goodluck Jonathan was on Saturday laid to rest in the absence of northern governors who preferred to attend the wedding ceremonies of Vice-President Namadi Sambo’s daughters in Kaduna.
Also, no South-West governor attended the funeral of Meni which was held at the St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Otuoke in Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
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Jonathan, who was in a pensive mood, said his brother, 47, who passed on in Abuja on November 20, suffered cardiac arrest.
Jonathan, accompanied by his wife, Patience, his mother, Eunice, his children, wives and children of the late Meni, said there were no signs of death when the late Meni accompanied him to Abuja after his private visit to his hometown.
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.”
The President said he was surprised at the crowd and personalities who turned up for the burial.
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.”
Our correspondent observed that while government contractors, business moguls, actors, Peoples Democratic Party top shots and members of Jonathan’s cabinet flooded the state for the burial, northern and south-western governors stayed away.
The northern governors were said to have attended the wedding ceremonies of Sambo’s daughters which coincided with the funeral service.
It was not clear why South-western governors were not at the programme, but the condolence message of the Governor of Ogun State, Mr, Ibukunle Amosun, was published in the programme.
The solemn ceremony was, however, attended by the South-East and South-South governors apart from Mr. Liyel Imoke of Cross River State who our correspondent gathered was on a two-month leave.
Nothing was heard about the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.
In his sermon, the Bishop of Ogbia Diocese, James Ayo Oruwori, said the late Meni lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation.
Meanwhile, President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone and President Joyce Banda of Malawi have sent condolence letters to the President.
In their letters, they said they were saddened by the news of Meni’s death.