Nigerian president treated by Saudis for heart problems

By Branko Brkic 27 November 2009

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua is being treated in Saudi Arabia for an inflammation of the membrane surrounding his heart that can restrict normal beating. Vice President Goodluck Jonathan has assumed presidential powers in his absence. Yar'Adua, who is 58, went to Saudi Arabia on Monday for medical checks after complaining of severe chest pains. His office doesn’t know when he will return home. The president has travelled to Saudi Arabia before for treatment of a chronic kidney problem, which raises questions about whether he will be fit enough to stand for a second term in 2011 elections. If Jonathan were to assume power, it will raise constitutional issues. Johnson is from the country's southern Niger Delta region, but the ruling People's Democratic Party has a formula for sharing power with the largely Muslim north of the country, and the president must be a northerner. Read more: Reuters, BBC

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