May 6th, 2010
07:36 AM ET

New president sworn in as Nigeria mourns

Nigeria's acting president, Goodluck Jonathan, took the oath of office Thursday morning, hours after Africa's most populous nation woke up to news its elected leader had died.

Jonathan will serve as president until the next election, expected to be held next year.

President Umaru Yar'Adua died Wednesday after battling a heart ailment that had kept him out of the public eye since November. A state funeral will be held in his native Katsina, followed by seven days of national mourning.

The 58-year-old leader went to Saudi Arabia for treatment in November, creating a power vacuum in the West African nation. He was treated for an inflammation of tissue around his heart and returned to Nigeria in February.

However, he remained out of sight, and Jonathan has served as the country's acting leader since his return.

Yar'Adua took office in 2007 in an election mired in controversy and accusations of vote-rigging.

"There was ballot snatching, voters were molested, voters were beaten ... and also payment inducement to vote for certain candidates," said Eneruvie Enakoko of the Civil Liberties Organization, a human rights group in Lagos.

Despite the accusations, the president - a soft-spoken and unassuming figure who did not bask in the media spotlight like past leaders of the West African nation - pledged to fight to improve the country of 150 million people.

"Our collective goal is to deliver for our children a Nigeria better, stronger, more peaceful, more secure and more prosperous than we met it," Yar'Adua said.

U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon expressed their condolences over Yar'Adua's death.

They applauded his quest for stability, especially in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta, where he offered amnesty to rebels battling government forces.

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Filed under: Nigeria • World
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Nurudeen

    Rest in peace d people president

    May 6, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • SHADIA

      IF GOD SAY SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      May 27, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. SHADIA

    NO rigging for next year election in jesus name.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Paul Dedah

    Nigeria needs electoral reform in other to go forward by abolishing political parties and form two party system >>>Paul

    August 11, 2010 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Paul Dedah

    God will our country Nigeria in Jesus name amen

    August 11, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. Paul Dedah

    Nigeria needs electoral reform

    August 11, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. Paul Dedah

    Farewell 2011 election

    August 11, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |