Politcs Crisis When Yar Adua Was Ill

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Date Submitted: 05/26/2012 09:08 AM

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Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has returned to the country after three months in hospital in Saudi Arabia.

Rival factions have been vying for influence in the power vacuum he left behind - provoking a political crisis.

Will his return solve the crisis?

In a clear-cut scenario, a fit and healthy Umaru Yar'Adua will resume his presidential duties, his critics will be satisfied and the crisis will pass.

His powerful backers will be doing all they can to get him back on his feet to ensure that this happens.

They will be looking for the president to make it through to an election planned for next year to avoid any more wrangling.

However, Mr Yar'Adua has not been seen in public since November.

His return to the country was shrouded in secrecy, being rushed away from the airport in an ambulance in the middle of the night. Even ministers have been kept in the dark.

Although officials say his health has "greatly improved", many Nigerians are deeply sceptical that he will ever be able to resume his duties - some have even suggested that he has already died.

The manner of his return to the country is unlikely to placate them.

The crisis is likely to continue for some time yet.

What has happened in his absence?

All sorts of rival groups have had a tilt at grabbing a little bit of power, influence, or fame.

Goodluck Jonathan has taken over leadership on a temporary basis

Members of the National Assembly became embroiled in a row over whether or not Mr Yar'Adua needed to formally hand power to his deputy.

Rights groups launched legal bids to clarify the constitution - one group suggesting the president should be declared "missing" and a search party be sent out.

For weeks, the country stagnated and no-one was really sure who was in charge.

Ultimately, politicians decided that an interview the president conducted with the BBC from his sick bed was notice enough, and declared Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan to be acting...