Believers are hopeful that professing Christian Goodluck Jonathan will restore peace and balance to the troubled country, after he was sworn in as leader of the country in the run-up to elections in 2011.
The hotly-contested leadership battle, that has caught up many villages in violence and reprisals, started in November last year when former elected president Umaru Yar’Adua, who was a Muslim, left the country for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia and then died without leaving a succession plan.
According to Associated Press (AP) reports, the late president’s departure created a political ‘vacuum’ that was then filled by in-fighting and violence. AP reports that President Jonathan, who is a big name in the oil industry, will have to ‘keep a lid on the volatile nation’s sectarian divisions, as well as oil-industry violence and kidnappings, as it edges toward a tense presidential election next year’.
An unwritten power-sharing agreement within Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party calls for the presidency to alternate between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims. So far, the handover to a Christian in this interim period has been relatively calm, although there are still killings and infighting between Christians and Muslims in places such as Jos.
Quoted in the AP report, John Campbell, a former US ambassador to Nigeria, said, ‘It now revolves around what the informal power-sharing between the north and the south, the Christians and the Muslims, is actually going to work out’.