President Goodluck Jonathan has described the death of his younger brother, Meni Jonathan as “particularly too painful to bear”.
Mr. Jonathan made the statement on Saturday at Meni’s funeral, held at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Otuoke in the Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
Mr. Meni died on Nov. 20 at the National Hospital, Abuja, the News Agency of Nigeria says, although other reports say the president’s brother died right inside the presidential villa.
“My younger brother, Meni lived a good life, his death is particularly too painful to bear.”
Mr. Jonathan said that traditionally, it was expected that the younger ones should bury the older ones.
“Meni is supposed to bury me and not for me to bury him but no matter the pain, with people coming to sympathise with me and my family, it gives us hope and courage,” Jonathan stated.
President Jonathan said he had ordered that Meni be flown to Abuja after he noticed that the young man was looking frail when he visited home on a Friday, sometime last November.
“This was a young man I came home on a Friday, he came to my house, nobody carried him, he moved down just from his house across the road. We discussed, I noticed he was a bit frail so I told him to follow us to Abuja for a medical check up.”
The President said that Mr. Meni drove himself to Yenagoa, before boarding a chopper to Abuja.
President Jonathan said he would particularly miss his younger brother as he “has been covering the home front for us.”
Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Martin Elechi of Ebonyi, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta and Peter Obi of Anambra were at the funeral.
It was also attended by service chiefs and other top government functionaries and dignitaries.