Nigeria's oposition picks governor for April poll

The decision means all Jonathan's main rivals in the April 9 election are from the mostly Muslim north of the nation.

Nigeria's oposition picks governor for April poll

A Nigerian opposition party on Sunday selected Ibrahim Shekarau, governor of the northern state of Kano, as its presidential candidate in April elections.

Shekarau beat four other contestants with a wide margin at the ANPP's presidential primary in Abuja on Saturday, garnering more than 4,000 votes out of 5,315 during the congress, party chairman Ogbonnaya Onu said.

Shekarau will now contest the April 9 presidential polls against President Goodluck Jonathan, who won the ruling Peoples Democratic Party's ticket on Friday.

Several other opposition parties have also chosen their flagbearers to run against Jonathan in the landmark vote.

They are Mohammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change, former head of the anti-graft agency EFCC Nuhu Ribadu of the Action Congress of Nigeria, newspaper publisher Dele Momodu of the National Conscience Party and political economist Pat Utomi of the Social Democratic Mega Party.

Nigeria began a 15-day programme Saturday to register voters for the April polls.

The decision means all Jonathan's main rivals in the April 9 election are from the mostly Muslim north of the nation.

Jonathan won the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) primaries on Thursday but his candidacy is controversial because it breaks a pact within the PDP that power should rotate between the north and the largely Christian south every two terms.

Jonathan is a southerner, the first head of state from the oil-producing Niger Delta. He inherited the country's highest officer when his predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua, a northerner, died last year part way through his first term.

Some northern political factions say only a northerner should be running for president to complete what would have been Yar'Adua's second term.

Jonathan's main rival is expected to be ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who is running on the opposition Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) ticket.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on Friday chose former anti-corruption tsar Nuhu Ribadu as its nominee.

Ribadu won international praise for the arrests of graft suspects and seizures of assets as the first head of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The PDP candidate has won every Nigerian election since the end of military rule in 1999 and the opposition is seen as unlikely to be able to unseat Jonathan unless it can unite behind a single northern candidate.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, a northerner who was defeated by Jonathan in the PDP primaries, has questioned the conduct of the vote but has not indicated whether he will try to form an alliance with a rival party.


Agencies

Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2011, 17:57
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