News / Africa

Acting Nigerian President Dissolves Cabinet

Nigeria's Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, has dissolved the Cabinet that was assembled by the country's ailing leader.  

Just more than a month after taking power in Nigeria, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has dismissed the Cabinet appointed by President Umaru Yar'Adua.

Following the weekly Cabinet meeting, Information Minister Dora Akunyili told reporters the acting president gave no reason for dissolving the Cabinet.  Permanent secretaries will take charge of ministries beginning Thursday.

Nigeria's powerful state governors and members of the ruling party will now nominate new Cabinet ministers who must then be ratified by the Senate.

This is Mr. Jonathan's biggest move yet to show that while he is only an acting president, this will be his government until President Yar'Adua sufficiently recovers from a heart condition.

The president has not been seen in public since late November when he left for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.  His return to Abuja three weeks ago has led to several demonstrations calling for him to resign.

Nigeria's National Assembly made Mr. Jonathan the acting president despite the absence of  a constitutionally-mandated written notification from President Yar'Adua that he was unable to continue in office.

On his first day as acting president, Mr. Jonathan sacked the country's controversial justice minister.  Following religious violence near the city of Jos, he fired President Yar'Adua's national security advisor and appointed a former defense minister to lead a new council of advisors.

With presidential elections scheduled for next year, Mr. Jonathan is not expected to be the ruling party's candidate because he is from southern Nigeria.  The unofficial power sharing agreement between the country's regions gives the north another four years in office.   

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