Umaru Yar’Adua, the long-ailing president, died about 9 pm in the presidential villa. Some security aides notified Aliyu Gusau, the National Security Adviser, who immediately called Goodluck Jonathan. The two men then went over together to the Villa to see Turai Yar’Adua, to pray for the soul of the departed.
Mr. Jonathan automatically becomes the substantive president and, according to the constitution, must be sworn in tonight by Nigeria’s chief justice. The chief justice is expected at the Villa shortly.
Mr. Jonathan, who was hosting the president of Niger, has cancelled all appointments, including a planned trip to Port Harcourt Thursday morning.
Aides say he will declare a period of national mourning.
Mr. Jonathan will now need to have a vice president, all of which scrambles an already unsettled political atmosphere. One of the key contenders was the man who informed him of Mr. Yar’Adua’s passing, Mr. Gusau, the retired General.
Mr. Yar’Adua must be buried within 24 hours according to Muslim law. He had been ailing for many years, but his various health problems– heart, liver, lung and other conditions– took a downturn last November, when he was flown to Saudi Arabia for treatment. He never fully recovered.
The acting president Goodluck Jonathan will be sworn in as President at 8A.M on Thursday, May 6. His first function will be to see off the body of the late President when it is flown to Katsina at 10A.M. The late President will be buried in Katsina at about 2PM