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Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 17:35 UK

Profile: Namadi Sambo, Nigeria's new vice-president

Namadi Sambo
After an understated political career, Namadi Sambo is now in the spotlight

Nigeria's new Vice-President Namadi Sambo has a good head for business, which might serve him well in a country where the line between politics and business is often quite blurred.

He owns three companies and is a qualified architect, but he has yet to prove himself as a political heavyweight.

Indeed, some believe this is precisely why he was chosen as President Goodluck Jonathan's deputy.

Mr Sambo is not seen as a great political threat should Mr Jonathan decide to run for president in elections in 2011.

Although an ally of former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida, who himself intends to seek the presidency, Mr Sambo does not have a large power base.

Presidential candidate?

But even so, he might still be a strong presidential candidate for other reasons.

Born in Kaduna state in 1952, Mr Sambo is a northerner - and a practising Muslim.

NAMADI SAMBO
Born: 1952
Married with six children
Elected Kaduna governor in 2007
Qualified architect
No personal power base
Ally of former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida

Mr Jonathan, meanwhile, is a Christian southerner.

The two men's People's Democratic Party (PDP) has said its candidate will be a northerner - continuing its practice of alternating power between north and south after two four-year terms.

Former President Umaru Yar'Adua, whom Mr Jonathan succeeded when he died in May before his first term had ended, was a northerner.

So the spotlight is now on Mr Sambo - which is a first for a quiet man whose political aspirations are not immediately apparent.

Before becoming Kaduna's governor in 2007, he had stints as the state's commissioner for agriculture, and works, transport and housing in the 1980s, and spent several years in private practice as one of the country's most prominent architects.

Mixed record

On becoming governor, Mr Sambo made several ambitious promises, but was criticised for not managing to keep some of them.

For example, he failed to make much progress on plans to improve the state's health and education facilities, water supply and roads by the time he was chosen as President Jonathan's deputy.

His main success was in the area of security - a big issue in Kaduna, which has suffered in the past from ethnic violence.

Mr Sambo presided over Operation Yaki, a task force which brought together the police, the military and other security services to deal with crime in the state.

But after three modest and relatively obscure years as a state governor, there is still a lot to learn about Mr Sambo's political skills and his motivation to use them as a possible future president.



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