Goodluck Jonathan sworn in as President of Nigeria.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jonathan, right, pledged to fight corruption after taking the oath of office in Abuja [AFP]
Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria's acting president, has been sworn in as the country's new leader following the death of Umaru Yar'Adua.

Jonathan took the oath of office at a ceremony in the capital, Abuja, on Thursday, just hours after officials announced the death of Yar'Adua following a long illness.

Yar'Adua will be buried in his northern home state of Katsina later in the day, while the country has begun seven days of mourning for the president.  Jonathan had already been running the country after assuming the position of acting president on February 9, while Yar'Adua was in Saudi Arabia receiving medical treatment.

Under the constitution, Jonathan is now the head of state until the country's next elections scheduled to be held by April 2011. He will also nominate a vice-president, subject to approval by the senate.

'Sad circumstances'
In his acceptance speech after taking the oath, Jonathan said his coming to power had occured under "very sad and unusual circumstances".

He praised his predecessor as a "man of great personal integrity ... and outstanding humility" and he said he would continue the fight against corruption and push for electoral reform during his time in office.

"Our total commitment to good governance, electoral reform and the fight against corruption would be pursued with greater vigour."

"Similarly the effort at ensuring the sustenance of peace and development in the Niger Delta as well as the security of life and property around the entire country would be of top most priority in the remaining period of this administration."

Full Speech
1. My dear brothers and sisters, it is with deep sense of loss and profound sorrow that I received the news of the passing on of His Excellency, President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

2. Our President passed away peacefully in the Presidential villa in Abuja yesterday evening, the 5th day of May 2010. While we submit to the will of God as a people of faith, this sad event has placed our nation in deep mourning.

3. On behalf of the good people of our great Country Nigeria, I stand by our First Lady, Her Excellency Hajia Turai Yar’ Adua, the Children, our Mother, Hajia Habiba Musa Yar Adua, and the entire Yar’ Adua family and offer our heartfelt condolences on the demise of our amiable leader.

4. President Yar’ Adua’s contribution to political development and good governance would never be forgotten. He will therefore always occupy a pride of place in the political history of our dear Nation. He was a man of great personal integrity, deep devotion to God and outstanding humility. In all his public service, he displayed uncommon commitment to the peace, progress and unity of our country. He has left for us a profound legacy that provides a firm foundation for Nigeria’s future. His exit has therefore created a huge vacuum in his personal contributions to the political growth and development of our nation. I have lost not just a boss but a good friend and brother.

5. Having taken the oath of office in line with the Nigerian Constitution, under these very sad and unusual circumstances, I urge all fellow citizens to remain steadfast and committed to the values and aspirations of our nation. While this is a major burden on me and indeed the entire nation, we must in the midst of such great adversity continue to garner our collective efforts towards upholding the values which our departed leader represented.

6. In this regard our total commitment to Good Governance, Electoral Reform and the fight against Corruption would be pursued with greater vigour. As I had stated time and again, we must enshrine the best standards in our democratic practice. One of the true tests would be to ensure that all votes count and are counted in the upcoming General Elections. Similarly the effort at ensuring the sustenance of peace and development in the Niger Delta as well as the security of life and property around the entire country would be of top most priority in the remaining period of this administration.

7. I want to reassure all Nigerians that the pledges which we had made to improve the socio-economic situation which we face through improved access to electricity, water, education, health facilities and other social amenities would continue to be given the needed emphasis. The welfare of our teeming workers and the unemployed youths would also be accorded a new impetus.

8. My brothers and sisters, I call on all Nigerians to pray for the repose of the soul of our departed President. May God, in his infinite mercy, and compassion grant him eternal peace.

9. God bless Nigeria.

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