May 6, 2010

NIGERIA: Oil-Nigeria's President Yar’Adua, 58, dies

LONDON, England / The Times / Africa News / May 6, 2010

By Jonathan Clayton, Africa Correspondent

LAGOS, Nigeria -
President Yar’Adua’s death may spark power struggle in oil-rich Nigeria

President Yar’Adua of Nigeria, whose long sickness plunged Africa’s most populous country into a constitutional crisis, has died, the Office of the Presidency announced last night.

A spokesman said Mr Yar’Adua, 58, passed away at 9pm at Aso Rock presidential villa, with his wife Turai by his side. He will be buried today in accordance with Muslim custom.

The official news of his death will surprise few Nigerians, many of whom believed the President — who was last seen in public half a year ago — died many weeks ago. It is almost certain to renew a vicious power struggle at the heart of Government.  The late President, a Muslim from the north, will be succeeded by his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the oil-rich south, who was nominated Acting President earlier this year.

Photo: Pieter Bauermeister/EPA

Mr Yar’Adua’s wife brought her husband back to the country from a clinic in Saudia Arabia, where he had been receiving treatment for heart problems in February in what was seen as an attempt to stop Mr Jonathan cementing his position and becoming the ruling party’s next candidate.  [rc]

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