News / Africa

Jonathan Sworn in as New Nigerian President

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Goodluck Jonathan is Nigeria's new president. He was sworn in Thursday, hours after the death of President Umaru Yar'Adua.

It was a somber swearing-in for the new president, who has been running the country for several months because of the late president's prolonged medical absence.

"I, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, do solemnly swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance  to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria."

President Jonathan promised to abide by all laws and rule always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being, and prosperity of Nigeria.

"I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions," said Mr. Jonathan.

President Yar'Adua died in Abuja late Wednesday at the age of 58, ten weeks after returning from medical treatment in Saudi Arabia for enlarged membranes around his heart.

President Jonathan says he received the news of Mr. Yar'Adua's death with a deep sense of loss and profound sorrow, saying he has lost not only a boss but a brother.

"Having taken the oath of office in line with the Nigerian constitution under these very sad and unusual circumstances, I urge all fellow citizens to remain steadfast and committed to the values and aspirations of our nation," he said.

In the midst of what he says is great adversity, President Jonathan says Nigerians must work to uphold the values that Mr. Yar'Adua represented.

"President Yar'Adua's contribution to political development and good governance will never be forgotten and will therefore always occupy a pride of place in the political history of our dear nation," said Mr. Jonathan.  "He was a man of great personal integrity, deep devotion to God, and outstanding humility."

Mr. Jonathan says the late president's commitment to good governance, fighting corruption, and enacting electoral reform will be pursued with even greater vigor.

"We must enshrine the best standards in our democratic practice," he said.  "One of the true tests will be to ensure that all votes count and are counted in the upcoming general elections."

Next year's elections are dividing the ruling People's Democratic Party because President Jonathan has not ruled out running for his own mandate. He is from southern Nigeria.

Ruling party chairman Vincent Ogbulafor says the next candidate should be from northern Nigeria in keeping with an informal power-sharing agreement that rotates the presidency between the mainly-Muslim north and largely-Christian south every two terms.

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