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Nigeria’s acting head says not spoken to president

By on April 14, 2010

Nigeria’s Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said he has not seen or spoken to ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua since he returned home from hospital in Saudi Arabia two months ago.

Yar’Adua’s health status remains a mystery in Africa’s most populous country as the president has not made a public appearance since receiving treatment for a heart ailment last November.

Jonathan, who has assumed executive powers in Yar’Adua’s absence, has quickly asserted his authority in the oil producer by installing a new cabinet and replacing some of Yar’Adua’s key allies.

“He left in the early hours of the 24th of November, then on the 26th we spoke extensively. Since then, we have not really had any sustained discussion,” Jonathan, who is in Washington on his first foreign trip as acting president, told the BBC in a report published on Wednesday.

Asked if he has seen or spoken to Yar’Adua since his return to Nigeria two months ago, Jonathan said “No, I have not.”

Yar’Adua’s inner circle, led by his wife Turai, has allowed select groups of guests to meet the ill leader, including two religious delegations this month.

But Jonathan and the heads of parliament have yet to have their own meeting with the president, reviving concerns of a possible power struggle in sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest economy.


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