African business, politics and lifestyle
What can Nigeria expect now?
The return of Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua three months after he left for a Saudi hospital might normally have beeen seen as a sign that a long spell of debilitating uncertainty was over.
But this was no ordinary return for a long absent president with an army band and a red carpet.
Yar’Adua was moved under cover of darkness from a plane to an ambulance and then driven to the Aso Rock presidential villa in Abuja. No pictures. No comment.
In fact, nobody outside his immediate circle has had a chance to see him and that apparently includes Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, who two weeks ago assumed executive powers with the support of parliament to end a power vacuum.
A statement from Yar’Adua’s spokesman thanked Jonathan for his help and said he would continue running affairs of state while the president convalesces. Before seeing the president, he was due to meet his wife, Turai.
Yar’Adua’s return was welcomed by many in the country of more than 140 million although there were widespread doubts about whether he would return to office and questions over what would be the role of his aides and powerful wife.
What will the new arrangement mean for chances of addressing problems such as unrest in the Niger Delta, power shortages, ensuring fair elections and corruption? What will it mean for the political intrigues ahead of an election due within just over a year?