Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nigeria's Parliament approves Muslim as new Vice President

Abuja: Nigeria's Parliament has approved the appointment of Namadi Sambo, a northern Muslim, as Vice President of Africa's oil rich nation, an apparent move to maintain the balance of power in the country where population is shared evenly among the Christians and Muslims.

President Goodluck Jonathan proposed Sambo's name last week for consideration by the two chambers of Senate and House of Representatives.

The two chambers of the Africa's oil rich nation's parliament yesterday agreed that Sambo, who was governor of the northern state of Kaduna, be made the country's number two citizen.

The Senate was the first to approve the appointment of the 58 year-old politician followed by the House of Representatives.

The choice of Sambo was to maintain the balance of power in the country where the 150 million populations is shared evenly among the Christians and Muslims.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adopted a method whereby power rotates between the predominantly Muslim north and largely Christian south.

The death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua early this month and the ascension of Jonathan as the president threw the arrangement into some temporary confusion as politicians and watchers expected a disagreement between the north and the south.

The significance of this choice is that the new vice president may become the next president during the 2011 elections if the power sharing is followed but in a situation where Jonathan decides to contest, Sambo can remain the deputy.

His remaining the deputy may not alter the sharing formula but could mean that the north may wait longer to have power shifted back to their zone.

Sambo, an architect, was not considered by book makers as a candidate for the vice presidency rather names of some prominent strong PDP members were featured on many newspapers here.

He was a commissioner in Kaduna state and served a board member for French oil company, Total.

Nigeria is the largest democracy in the African continent though it suffered years of military take over.

Since general elections in 1999, democracy has been sustained despite threats that hitherto could have forced the military to derail the government.

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