Nigerian television has announced the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua after a long fight against heart and kidney problems.
The 58-year-old died at his presidential residence in the capital, Abuja. He will be buried in his northern home town of Katsina at 1500 CET on Thursday.
Yar’Adua took office in 2007, promising to pursue free-market reforms, boost agriculture, and fight corruption.
Last November he became ill with a heart condition and went to a hospital in Saudi Arabia for several months, during which time he was not heard from. When he returned he was too ill to govern.
Yar’Adua will probably be best remembered for brokering a ceasefire in the restive Niger Delta, the
heartland of Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry.
Militant attacks rumbled on during the early part of his tenure, but his offer of amnesty last year led thousands of gunmen to lay down their weapons and has brought more than six months of relative peace in the region.
Since February his vice president, Goodluck Jonathan has assumed the presidency.
Jonathan has consolidated his hold on power, appointing a new cabinet and his own team of advisers. But Yar’Adua’s death raises the stakes in
the run-up to the next elections.
It is unclear if Jonathan, who is from the southern Niger Delta, will run for president because of an unwritten agreement in the ruling party that power rotates between north and south.
The next four-year term is due to go to Yar’Adua’s Muslim north.