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Obasanjo back at work, visits the bereaved

Posted by By Charles Ozoemena, Kolade Larewaju & Kenneth Ehigiator on 2005/10/25 | Views: 1483 |

Obasanjo back at work, visits the bereaved

PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo was back at his desk yesterday and ordered a review of the safety of aircraft operating on domestic routes following the crash, last Saturday, of the Bellview Flight 210.

*Orders review of domestic aircraft

*Ogun declares Friday public holiday

ABUJA ó PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo was back at his desk yesterday and ordered a review of the safety of aircraft operating on domestic routes following the crash, last Saturday, of the Bellview Flight 210.

A hundred and seventeen people died in the crash, just a few hours before his wife, Stella, passed on at a Spanish hospital.

The president also asked Nigerians to observe a minute silence at 12 noon today in honour of the dead. He himself visited families of some of the crash victims in Abuja to condole them.

These were the families of Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhaji Waziri Mohammed; Chairman, Bolingo Hotels, Abuja, Chief Joseph Igweh; and Post Master General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Argugu.

President Obasanjo in a radio/television broadcast yesterday described the crash and the death of his wife as Godís decisions. Nigerians, he said, should therefore use the period to forgo their differences and "come together, grief together, console each other, strengthen our faith, consolidate our hopes and rededicate ourselves to the cause of our country and humanity.

"Those who have lost their lives may not be with us physically, but you can be rest assured that they are with us in spirit and would want us to be strong at all times. We must draw strength from this adversity and show to ourselves, communities and the world that we are a people with a goal and with the will to put our past behind us and move forward together.

"While I take this opportunity to thank all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria who have expressed condolences and are observing the period of national mourning, I will also implore Nigerians to redouble our efforts along the lines of implementing our reforms, the result of which are becoming obvious.

"I also wish to, as a mark of respect to the memory of all those who lost their lives on the night ofSaturday to Sunday, the 22nd and 23rd of October 2005, implore all Nigerians wherever they may be on Wednesday, the 26th of October 2005, at mid-day, to stop whatever they may be doing wherever possible,maintain a one minute silence and pray for the repose of the souls of the departed, the comfort andconsolation of the bereaved, and for peace, security and protection of our dear country." Stressing that he was personally touched by the double tragedy, he consoled the families, relations,friends, acquaintances, associates, co-workers, and loved ones among the victims of the air crash,declaring:

"I believe that the accident must have impacted on many lives in unexpected ways. My brothersand sisters, let me assure you that I personally feel and share your sorrow and pain. I can imaginepositive plans that have become suddenly terminated.

"That is our family experience in the demise of the mother of our own household. I can see hopes for thefuture that have unexpectedly receded into seemingly unattainable horizons. The nation shares in thismoment of grief and our prayers are with you.

"Let us take solace in the fact that only God, our Creator understands the reasons for everything. Wecannot because we are limited in vision and comprehension. God never makes mistakes and has aplan for everyone. We must be strong and never give Satan the opportunity to negate our faith, corrupt oursouls, and divert us from the strong bonds of unity and love that bind us together as a people. My condolence goes to the families of non-Nigerians who were victims of the air crash," he said.

Revealing that his wife travelled on holiday without noticeable illness, he directed the Ogun State Government to organise an Inter-Faith Memorial Service at the site of theBellview flight crash at Lisa, Ogun State on Thursday, October 27, 2005.He thanked Nigerians and foreigners alike who have sympathised with him on the tragic incidents, saying he appreciates "the outpouring of condolences, sympathy, visits and solidarity from all quarters in the country and from outside the country. I believe that this adversity should strengthen our resolve to remaincommitted, strong and unshaken in our effort to make Nigeria a great country that God has created toactualise her potentials. We are already on the path to greatness through our comprehensive reform agenda.We must not waiver or get diverted, distracted, confused, or discouraged.

"After the period of mourning, let us move on. My experience in life tells me that the departed wouldhave wanted it so for Nigeria, a country that most of them had lived and died for. Let our sharing ofsorrow and solidarity translate to our resolve not to look back or slide in our collective commitment toreform and the repositioning of our country for peace, security, stability, harmony, growth, development and progress."I pray that God will give us all the inner strength, peace of mind, and capacity to bear the losses that wehave experienced and empower us to come out of this situation, stronger, more united, more determined to love one another, and closer to God in all that we speak and do," he said.

Ogun declares Friday public holiday

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Government yesterday announced that it would tomorrow organise an interdenominational service for the repose of the souls of the 117 passengers and crew of the plane. The service is scheduled for Lisa Igbore village where the accident occurred, and time is 8a.m.

Meanwhile, Governor Gbenga Daniel has declared Friday a work free in honour of the First Lady, late Mrs Stella Obasanjo, whose remains will be interred in Abeokuta on that day.

The governor appealed to the people of the state to come out en masse to "honor a golden heart who throughout her life was dedicated to the cause of humanity, especially the care of children."

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