Nigeria’s Ailing President Returns, Renewing Fears of Instability

Nigeria faced a renewal of political instability Wednesday after Umaru Yar’Adua, the ailing president, returned to sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest energy producer under a cloak of secrecy after a three-month absence.

The 58-year-old ruler’s spokesman said that Goodluck Jonathan, the vice president granted full interim powers by parliament two weeks ago, would continue to run state affairs while Yar’Adua recuperated.

The president’s unexpected return came as Jonathan was beginning to assert himself in Nigeria’s treacherous political terrain, prompting suggestions that the Yar’Adua camp, led by his wife, had rushed the president back in a bid to keep his deputy from consolidating power.

Johnnie Carson, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said in a statement Wednesday, “We hope that President Yar’Adua’s return to Nigeria is not an effort by his senior advisers to upset Nigeria’s stability and create renewed uncertainty in the democratic process.”

~World Digest

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