Nigeria vice president survives chopper crash weeks before election

February 2, 2019

By Paul Carsten and Alexis Akwagyiram

ABUJA (Reuters) – A helicopter carrying Nigeria’s Vice President crash landed on Saturday en route to a political campaign two weeks before an election, but he survived the incident in central Kogi state unharmed, saying later he was safe and sound.

Nigerian go to the polls on Feb. 16 to elect a new president in an election where the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy have been touring the country to woo voters for a second term in office.

A video on the Twitter account of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, showed him cheering to supporters after the incident. He posted: “We are safe and sound!”

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear. Spokesman Laolu Akande said the vice president was continuing his engagements in Kogi state.

“VP Osinbajo’s chopper crash lands in Kabba, but he and the entire crew safe,” the spokesman tweeted.

Nigeria’s airlines are plagued by problems – delays, cancellations and fuel shortages that are almost expected from domestic passengers. However, safety records have been improving in recent years.

Political party candidates have been campaigning across the country to market their plans on how they intend to lead one of Africa’s top economies over the next four years, with the key issues being corruption, security and the economy.

Buhari is hoping his anti-corruption agenda can win him a second term while the main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar has said he would consider an amnesty for corruption suspects and privatize the state-owned oil company NNPC.

(Additional reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha, Editing by William Maclean)