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Vol 51 No 4

Published 19th February 2010


Acting President Jonathan sets out his plans

From the surrealism of ‘missing president’ Umaru Yar’Adua, linked to the outside world via a ghostly voiced interview with the BBC, and with attendant disputes of legitimacy and sovereignty, Nigeria has solved the crisis in its own way, by effecting what some call a ‘democratic coup’. One by one, the elected institutions of state (the powerful governors’ forum and both houses of the National Assembly) and several non-elected regional councils met and agreed to support the handover to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Whatever the constitutional doubts that remain, the 9 February resolution by the National Assembly, citing the ‘doctrine of necessity’, to recognise Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President was warmly welcomed by Nigerians who had watched the country teeter for over 70 days. A deciding factor was Jonathan’s own base in the Niger Delta: the prospect of a return to widespread militant attacks against oil installations there in protest at the blocking of his political elevation was enough to convince most of the political class that it was time to suspend Umaru Yar’Adua’s attempts at ruling from a hospital ward in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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