Nigeria`s Parliament approves Muslim as new Vice President

Nigeria`s Parliament has approved the appointment of Namadi Sambo, a northern Muslim, as Vice President of Africa`s oil rich nation.

Last Updated: May 19, 2010, 14:46 PM IST

Abuja: Nigeria`s Parliament has
approved the appointment of Namadi Sambo, a northern Muslim,
as Vice President of Africa`s oil rich nation, an apparent
move to maintain the balance of power in the country where
population is shared evenly among the Christians and Muslims.

President Goodluck Jonathan proposed Sambo`s name last
week for consideration by the two chambers of Senate and House
of Representatives.

The two chambers of the Africa`s oil rich nation`s
parliament yesterday agreed that Sambo, who was governor of
the northern state of Kaduna, be made the country`s number two
citizen.

The Senate was the first to approve the appointment of
the 58 year-old politician followed by the House of
Representatives.

The choice of Sambo was to maintain the balance of
power in the country where the 150 million populations is
shared evenly among the Christians and Muslims.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adopted a
method whereby power rotates between the predominantly Muslim
north and largely Christian south.

The death of President Umaru Musa Yar`Adua early this
month and the ascension of Jonathan as the president threw the
arrangement into some temporary confusion as politicians and
watchers expected a disagreement between the north and the
south.

The significance of this choice is that the new vice
president may become the next president during the 2011
elections if the power sharing is followed but in a situation
where Jonathan decides to contest, Sambo can remain the
deputy.

His remaining the deputy may not alter the sharing
formula but could mean that the north may wait longer to have
power shifted back to their zone.

Sambo, an architect, was not considered by book makers
as a candidate for the vice presidency rather names of some
prominent strong PDP members were featured on many newspapers
here.

He was 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.

PTI