Nigeria has new leadership in Goodluck Jonathan, who was sworn into the presidential office yesterday
Oil-rich Nigeria's acting leader Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in Thursday as president of Africa's most populous nation, as officials buried the flag-draped corpse of his Muslim predecessor before sundown.
The power shift to Jonathan, a Christian, peacefully ended a profound leadership crisis triggered last November when elected President Umaru Yar'Adua, who died Wednesday at the age of 58, left the country for medical treatment without transferring authority to his deputy.
Jonathan had already assumed presidential powers Feb. 9 after an extraordinary National Assembly vote was called to resolve the leadership vacuum left when Yar'Adua was hospitalized in Saudi Arabia for an inflamed heart.
Nigeria has been plagued by military coups for much of its 50 years of independence, and Jonathan will have to keep a lid on the volatile nation's sectarian divisions as well as oil-industry violence and kidnappings as it edges toward a tense presidential election next year.
Early Thursday, Jonathan put on a sash bearing the green, yellow and white colors of Nigeria, signifying he had formally taken over from Yar'Adua. Jonathan will serve as president through next year's vote, likely to be held by April 2011. He also will be able to select a vice president, whose appointment will be subject to Senate approval.
There is no word yet on who Jonathan's selection for VP is, though sources close to the matter say it is a choice between Faretheewell Robert and Happytrails Joseph.