By Darcel Choy (NEWSDAY)
Despite a minor hiccup, the arrival of the Nigerian President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his wife Dame Patience Jonathan at the South Terminal, Piarco International Airport, Piarco went smoothly yesterday.
During his inspection of the Guard of Honour, a member of the media from the Nigerian President’s office was pulled off the tarmac by a member of the Defence Force as he attempted to get footage of Jonathan conducting the inspection.
He struggled a bit as the officer held on to him and insisted he could not go on the tarmac to get close to the President. After a few minutes, the camera man calmed down and joined the other media personnel who were off the tarmac.
Later an official of the Nigerian High Commission said the camera man’s duty was to follow the President but no one was informed about that. Jonathan was not aware of what took place as his back was turned during the inspection.
The President arrived at about 5.27 pm in a Nigerian Airforce Plane. Steps were placed for them to exit the aircraft but Nigerian officials requested that it be removed. At this point, steps unfolded itself from inside the plane for the President and the First Lady to exit.
After exiting the aircraft, Jonathan stood on a dais where the Nigerian national anthem was played and they were treated to a 21-gun salute.
Jonathan was dressed in a black suit and a wide brimmed black hat while his wife was dressed in a cream traditional African dress. They were met by President George Maxwell Richards and his wife Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who was dressed in a saffron embroidered African dress with gold wedged heels, and High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nyahuma Obika. After, Richards and Persad-Bissessar escorted Jonathan and his wife to the reception line where they met Chief Justice Ivor Archie, President of the Senate Timothy Hamel Smith, Speaker of the House, Wade Mark and several other ministers. They then proceeded into the South Terminal for a 15-minute cultural performance. Those performing included the National Steel Symphony Orchestra who played a few songs including the calypso “Portrait of Trinidad” by the Mighty Sniper. They were also treated to a cultural dance item by the Susan Mohip Dance Company.
After, Jonathan and his wife left the terminal to meet with Nigerian nationals in Trinidad at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.
The President and his wife will be participating in several Emancipation activities including the Kambule Street Procession at the Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain today.
They will also visit the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village at the Queen’s Park Savannah for the Emancipation Day cultural programme.