Fears of Crisis Over Yar’Adua’s Health


It seems President Yar’Adua is still beset my more health problems. The President has been in Saudi Arabia receiving treatment and public discourse is awash with rumours about his current health. The fact that the President, and his government operate so secretively, does not help matters and encourages the public to manufacture wild rumours to fill the news vacuum.  Already power brokers are positioning likely successors in case the worst happens.

The problem is that the Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan is an Ijaw from the south. With a northern Muslim in power for the first time after eight years of rule by a Christian southerner, succession is not s simple issue. Allowing Goodluck Jonathan to step in and act as President in Yar’Adua’s absence (even temporarily) would make the north apprehensive. They feel that the south had its”turn” in power under former President Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007. Since Yar’Adua came into office in 2007, it is presumably the north’s turn to produce Nigeria’s candidate for the next two terms of office (2007-2011 and 2011-2015). Allowing Jonathan into office would interrupt that sequence and stunt the north’s “turn”. The issue is compounded by the fact that the Igbos are clamouring that it is their “turn” to produce the President come 2015.  That makes it all the more important that Yar’Adua either recovers and returns, or from some people’s point of view, that a northerner remains President until 2015.

Worryingly, his ill health is causing constitutional and procedural issues, as highlighted in this BBC article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8413928.stm

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