* President says challenge now is to deliver on promises
* Sambo pledges “common front” against corruption
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By Randy Fabi
ABUJA, May 19 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s Kaduna state Governor Namadi Sambo was sworn in as vice president on Wednesday, filling the last major federal vacancy since President Goodluck Jonathan took over two weeks ago.
With his new team in place, Jonathan said the challenge was now to deliver on his promises for electoral reforms and economic development in Africa’s most populous nation.
“Our challenge now is to improve the economy of this country,” Jonathan said at Sambo’s swearing in ceremony in the capital Abuja. “I promise you full cooperation.”
The president, who has less than a year to deliver on his promises before national elections due by April 2011, called on his deputy to begin meeting with the economic team “to make sure that our promises to Nigerians are kept”.
The OPEC member country of 140 million people suffers from widespread poverty, endemic corruption, and insecurity in the oil-producing Niger Delta.
Sambo, who is a relative newcomer, said he shared the same priorities as Jonathan and promised their partnership would improve the lives of Nigerians.
“We shall forge a common front to see to the realisation of a credible electoral reform, a sustained fight against corruption and the rejuvenation of the power sector,” he said.
Jonathan surprised many by not choosing as his deputy a political heavyweight who would be well positioned to go on and contest the presidency in 2011.
Sambo, who was elected to his first term as governor in 2007, is not seen as an obvious contender for next year’s presidential elections and his appointment could clear the way for a run by Jonathan himself. [ID:nLDE64C0EU] (Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh; Editing by Nick Tattersall)