Factbox: Reaction to death of Nigerian President Yar’Adua

ABUJA (BestGrowthStock) – Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua died late on Wednesday aged 58. Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has been sworn in as head of state.

Following are some reactions:

TARA O’CONNOR, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AFRICA RISK CONSULTING

“News of President Musa Yar’Adua’s death is unlikely to destabilize Nigeria. The transition of power to then Vice President Goodluck Johathan had already taken place and was secured by February. On assuming office Jonathan moved swiftly to appoint a new government to consolidate his position.

“Jonathan’s immediate swearing-in as president this morning further strengthens his position. However, Jonathan’s mandated term is short. Nigeria must elect a new president by May 2011. All eyes will be on his choice of vice-president. The real battle for power will take place among the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s aging powerbrokers – many of them former military generals.

“At issue is whether or not Jonathan – a southerner – will be able to run as the PDP’s candidate and break the unwritten rule that power should sit with a northerner for two terms before it returns to the south. Meanwhile, business will look to Jonathan to make good his promise to combat corruption, secure peace in the Niger Delta, continue banking sector reforms and to act on long awaited power sector reform.”

UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

“He will be remembered, among other things, for his efforts to bring peace and stability to the Niger Delta region and for his commitment to democratic governance and electoral reforms.”

MALLAM HASSAN, NEWSPAPER SELLER, LAGOS

“It is a great loss to the country. All of us feel sad … But we are happy about Jonathan becoming President. We want him to continue the good work. What we need from Jonathan is security.”

BOYE ABUDUNRIN, ACCOUNTANT, LAGOS

“Nobody wanted him to die but, now that he has died it will enable Nigeria to move forward. Everyone is looking to Jonathan now to perform better.”

PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA OF SOUTH AFRICA

“It is South Africa’s wish that the leadership of Nigeria will do everything in its power to ensure that this African country forges ahead with the vision of President Yar’Adua to make Africa and the world a better place to live in.”

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

“We remember and honor President Yar’Adua’s profound personal decency and integrity, his deep commitment to public service, and his passionate belief in the vast potential and bright future of Nigeria’s 150 million people.

“President Yar’Adua worked to promote peace and stability in Africa through his support of Nigerian peacekeeping efforts as well as his strong criticism of undemocratic actions in the region.

“He was committed to creating lasting peace and prosperity within Nigeria’s own borders, and continuing that work will be an important part of honoring his legacy.

“Under President Yar’Adua’s leadership, Nigeria and the United States took steps to deepen the strong bilateral relationship between our two nations and that work has continued even in recent months when President Yar’Adua’s illness forced him to step back from his governing duties.”

TANZANIAN PRESIDENT JAKAYA KIKWETE

“It’s very sad, it’s tragic, he is so young, he died too early. We join the people of Nigeria in mourning his death. Nigeria is strong enough, they will weather the storm.”

ZIMBABWEAN PRIME MINISTER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI

“It’s a great loss for Nigeria at this time, he has been ill for some time and its unfortunate that this is what has happened, I hope it provides the stability for the country to move forward.”

SOUTH AFRICA’S INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY LEADER MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI

“It’s a very sad thing that the president has passed away and I just pray and hope that this will not result in any destabilization of the country as such.”

KENYAN PRESIDENT MWAI KIBAKI

“Although Yar’Adua has sadly left us, he has bequeathed upon the people of Nigeria and Africa at large a rich legacy of integrity.”

OIL MILITANT GROUP THE MOVEMENT FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF THE NIGER DELTA (MEND)

“MEND considers the late president a genuine peacemaker whose initiatives, humility and respect began to bring confidence to the peace process. His death may leave a vacuum that may not be filled.”

ANTONY GOLDMAN, HEAD OF LONDON-BASED PM CONSULTING

“I think Nigeria is better placed to absorb the impact than on previous occasions. I don’t think this comes as a shock to too many people in Nigeria or outside the country.

“The issue now isn’t over the immediate handover but the implication it has ahead of elections. Nigeria looks ahead to next year’s election with a much more open field than has been the case in the past.”

KAYODE AKINDELE, DIRECTOR, GREENGATE STRATEGIC PARTNERS:

“The paramount issue will be who the new vice president will be. It’ll probably be a northerner and the person will be front runner for the presidency in 2011.

“The new vice president could undermine the influence of Jonathan as he will be seen as a stop-gap, especially if he doesn’t aim to run in 2011 — influence will drift gradually to the VP as we move toward the election.

“The post (of VP) will be keenly contested.”

AKINAKA RICHARD, HEAD OF GRASSROOTS INITIATIVE FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY, NIGER DELTA RIGHTS GROUP

“His death is a painful one especially for the militants in the Niger Delta. They will miss him for the brave steps he took to address Niger Delta problems, the amnesty he gave them.”

Growth Stocks

(For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://af.reuters.com/ )

(Reporting by Randy Fabi, Austin Ekeinde and Nick Tattersall; Additional reporting by Vivian Mukakizima in Dar es Salaam and Richard Lough in Nairobi; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Factbox: Reaction to death of Nigerian President Yar’Adua