Muslim politician sworn in as Nigeria`s VP

Namadi Sambo, a Muslim politician, will replace Goodluck Jonathan.

Updated: May 20, 2010, 09:46 AM IST

Abuja: Namadi Sambo, a Muslim politician, was on Wednesday sworn in as Nigeria`s vice president, a move aimed at maintaining the delicate religious and geographical power balance in Africa`s oil rich nation.

Sambo will replace Goodluck Jonathan, who was elected as the president of the country after the death of President Umaru Yar`Adua two weeks ago.

The appointment of 55-year-old Sambo, a governor of northern state of Kaduna, was approved by the Nigeria`s Parliament on Tuesday.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by the President, ministers, state governors and members of the diplomatic community.

After the ceremony, the President told him: "You will be meeting with the economic team regularly to make sure that our commitments to Nigerians are kept. I promise you full cooperation with you".

The appointment of Sambo is a move by the President to maintain balance of power between the largely Muslim north and Christian south.

Jonathan is a southerner while late Yar`Adua to whom he was deputy hailed from the north.

An agreement within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeks to rotate power between the two zones. The vice president who is an architect, was not considered by book makers as a candidate for the vice presidency rather names of some people considered to be stronger PDP members were featured on many newspapers here.

He has been a commissioner in Kaduna state and served a board member for French oil company, Total.

Nigeria is the largest democracy in the African continent though it suffered years of military take over.

Since general elections in 1999, democracy has been sustained despite threats that hitherto could have forced the military to derail the government.