Nigerian VP chairs first cabinet meeting

ABUJA - Nigerian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday chaired his first cabinet meeting as acting head of state, seeking to revive government business after more than two months of stagnation.

ABUJA - Nigerian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday chaired his first cabinet meeting as acting head of state, seeking to revive government business after more than two months of stagnation.

Jonathan assumed full presidential powers late yesterday to fill a power vacuum left by the absence of President Umaru Yar'Adua, who has been in hospital in Saudi Arabia since late November receiving treatment for a heart condition.

Parliament recognised Jonathan as acting head of state hours before he announced the takeover and Justice Minister Michael Aondoakaa said he had the government's support. But the move has no precedent and is not explicitly backed by the constitution.

"It's good news and bad news. It's good news that they finally made a decision. It's pretty clear there is political drift if a president is outside a country for two and a half months," said Richard Segal, analyst at Knight Libertas in London.

"The bad news is it's not clear if this is constitutional or not. Any document he signs could be subject to legal challenge," Segal said. - Reuters

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