In the present administration’s effort to reduce cost and waste of public funds, the number of Nigeria’s delegates to the ongoing 2014 United Nations General Assembly in the US was drastically reduced to 100, The Street Journal can authoritatively reveal.
It was gathered that Nigeria was a focus of ridicule during the previous edition of the global event last year when Nigeria had the largest size of delegation amongst the participating countries.. A top Presidency official disclosed that president Jonathan was miffed by the usually large number of delegates from Nigeria to international events particularly with the attendant public resentments back home.
The Street Journal learnt that the president specifically directed a drastic reduction in the number of delegates to the on-going United Nations General Assembly in the USA.
So far, only 76 Nigerian delegates have officially arrived in New York. President Jonathan is traveling with 20 aides while ministers accompanying him were told to include only one technical aide each, a drastic departure from the previous practice where each minister would attend such meetings with a retinue of aides such as special assistants to the special advisers to the minister.
Meanwhile Patience Jonathan, the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, will not be traveling with her husband to the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York, Instead, Helen Mark, the wife of Nigeria’s Senate President David Mark, has been penciled in to stand in for Nigeria’s First Lady in a series of meetings during the General Assembly.
A number of Nigerian Presidency officials said they were unable to explain why Mrs. Jonathan was dropped from the New York leg of her husband’s trip. One of the sources disclosed that Mrs. Jonathan arrived with the president in London. He added that she would remain in London and then return to Abuja with Mr. Jonathan on his way back from his New York trip. The President is scheduled to return to Nigeria on Thursday.
Mrs. Jonathan was also conspicuously absent from her husband’s side when he made a high-profile trip to the US to attend the US-Africa summit convened by President Barack Obama.
Jonathan will make a secret trip to Germany to former Nigerian dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, who is hospitalized in a German hospital.
Among those accompanying Mr. Jonathan to New York is Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Foreign affairs minister, Ambassador Aminu Wali amongst others. They will be staying on the same floor of The Pier, one of New York’s luxury hotels, throughout the week of the UN General Assembly.