EU welcomes return of Nigeria’s ailing president

The European Union on Monday welcomed President Umaru Yar’adua’s return to Nigeria, while urging acting leader Goodluck Jonathan “to foster stability”. 

“The European Union welcomes news of the return of President Yar’Adua to Abuja. The EU extends its best wishes to the president,” a spokesman for EU foreign affairs Chief Catherine Ashton said.

Yar’Adua arrived back in Nigeria last week after three months abroad for medical treatment, throwing the country into confusion and reviving concerns of a leadership squabble just two weeks after Vice President Jonathan was installed as acting president.

“The EU acknowledges the challenge posed by uncertainty in the political process in Nigeria at the present time, and commends the will of the democratic institutions of Nigeria to remain faithful to the principles of democracy, responsible governance and the rule of law,” Ashton’s spokesman stressed.

The EU encouraged Jonathan and the Nigerian government “to foster stability in the country and sub-region”, while underlining Europe’s support for government “resolve to ensure the continuity of democracy”.

Yar’Adua returned from Saudi Arabia where he was treated for a serious heart condition for three months.

Last week Washington voiced concern that the ailing president’s return may be “an effort by his senior advisers to upset Nigeria’s stability in an effort to forward their own personal interests”.

Britain has thrown it’s us weight behind Jonathan, joining a chorus voicing concerns that Yar’adua’s return could add to uncertainty in Africa’s most populous country.

Credit: AFP