News / Africa

Nigeria's New President Chooses VP Candidate

Nigeria's new president has chosen his candidate for vice president from the country's largely Muslim north.

Regional media reported that President Goodluck Jonathan tapped Kaduna State governor Namadi Sambo for the job after meeting Wednesday with Nigeria's governors at the president's villa in Abuja.

The nomination of Mr. Sambo is expected to be forwarded to the Nigerian parliament Thursday for approval.

Sambo, an architect, has worked in the public and private sector in Nigeria.  He helped develop agriculture in Kaduna State as well as improve the water and electricity infrastructure in the region.

President Jonathan was sworn in last week, hours after the death of his predecessor, Umaru Yar'Adua.  Then the vice president, Mr. Jonathan had been acting president while Mr. Yar'Adua was incapacitated by a long illness.

The choice of Sambo, a northern Muslim, brings back a religious and regional balance to the top office.  Mr. Jonathan is a southern Christian.

The ruling People's Democratic Party traditionally rotates the presidency between the mainly Christian south and the mainly Muslim north.  The vice president has typically been chosen from the opposite background as the president.

Questions remain over who will run as the PDP candidate in the next election, expected before April 2011.

An aide to Mr. Jonathan has said he hopes the new president will run.  But an election bid by Mr. Jonathan could stir controversy.

Mr. Yar'Adua, a northerner and a Muslim, died only two-and-a-half years into what was expected to be a two-term, eight-year presidency.  

Some ruling party officials have said the next presidential candidate should be another northerner, and a number of Muslim candidates have said they may seek the nomination.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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