Nigerian parliament votes to make vice president acting president

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Goodluck Jonathan, vice-president of Nigeria, has become the country's acting president after president Umaru Yar'Adua travelled to Saudi Arabia last November to receive medical treatment for a heart condition.

File photo of President Umaru Yar'Adua, reportedly in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.
Image: World Economic Forum.

In a televised address, Jonathan commented, "I am fully aware of the responsibilities reposed in me, and I want to reassure all Nigerians that this is a sacred trust, which I shall discharge to my fullest abilities. [...] The circumstances — in which I find myself assuming office today as acting president of our country — are uncommon, sober and reflective."

He added, "[m]ore than ever therefore, I urge all Nigerians as a people who have faith in God to pray fervently for the full recovery of our dear president, and his early return". Yesterday saw both houses of the Nigerian National Assembly approve a motion for Jonathan to become president until Yar'Adua is able to return. Under the country's constitution, executive power can be transferred when parliament is formally informed by the president that he is absent. Yar'Adua apparently had not done so; however, senate leader David Mark said that Yar'Auda's comments in an interview with the BBC last month were sufficient notice.

Some political analysts, however, have indicated the assembly's move might not be legally binding, and could face a court challenge.


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