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Ex-Nigerian president’s Sacramento visit canceled because of illness

FILE - In this Thursday, May 8, 2014 file photo, Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during the World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja, Nigeria.
FILE - In this Thursday, May 8, 2014 file photo, Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during the World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja, Nigeria. AP

Goodluck Jonathan, the former president of Nigeria, has canceled a scheduled appearance in Sacramento on Saturday because of illness.

Jonathan was to have been the keynote speaker at the Africa Peace Awards Dinner, the closing event of the 25th annual Africa/Diaspora Conference sponsored by the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution at California State University, Sacramento.

Organizers of the event announced that Reno Omokri, Jonathan’s former special assistant on new media, will deliver remarks on Jonathan’s behalf. Omokri also will participate in a discussion of U.S.-Africa relations and conduct a meeting with students to discuss LGBTQIA issues.

Jonathan’s appearance had stirred controversy because of Nigeria’s anti-gay law, which punishes not only gay marriage but public support of it. He signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2014 into law after it was unanimously approved by the Nigerian Assembly. Jonathan has been hailed, however, for peacefully leaving office after his party lost the 2015 election, avoiding what many predicted would be a bloody civil war.

This year’s conference theme is “Peace & Conflict Resolution in Africa, 25 Years Later: Lessons, Best Practices and Opportunities.” The annual Peace Awards honor Africa and Diaspora peace heroes who have demonstrated a commitment to serve the community and promote peace, according to a news release.

Ernest Uwazie, director of Sacramento State's Center for African Peace & Conflict Resolution, reacts to criticism over the planned appearance on campus Saturday of former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who in 2014 signed a law prohibiting g

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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