Nigerian leader likely to name deputy by Tues-source

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to nominate his deputy and seek parliament’s approval by Tuesday, a presidency source told Reuters on Friday.

Jonathan, who was sworn in on Thursday hours after the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, met with former Nigerian heads of state, governors, and top officials from the ruling People’s Democratic Party to consult on picking a vice president.

His choice could alter the course of elections due by next April because the new vice president may go on to be a contender in the presidential race.

“The president is holding consultations as part of efforts to arrive at who will be the nominee for vice president,” the source said.

“He will likely send the name to the National Assembly for approval, according to constitutional requirements, by Monday or Tuesday.”

Local Nigerian media speculated on a short-list of possible vice presidential nominees including Secretary to the Government of the Federation Yayale Ahmed and National Security Adviser Aliyu Gusau.

Many expect Jonathan, who is from the southern Niger Delta, to pick a northerner as his deputy to maintain the OPEC member’s political balance.

Former military ruler Yakubu Gowon and ex-heads of state Shehu Shagari and Ernest Shonekan were among the long list of visitors who consulted with the president in the capital Abuja on Friday.



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