Friday, January 14, 2011

Nigeria: Nigeria’s President Wins Ruling Party Primary

Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party has selected President Goodluck Jonathan as its candidate in April's presidential election.

In Thursday's party vote, Mr. Jonathan won 2,736 votes, compared to 805 for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. Only one delegate voted for veteran politician Sarah Jibril.

In speeches ahead of the vote, Mr. Jonathan cast himself as the person best able to change the country.

Mr. Abubakar was sharply critical of the president, saying he has failed to bring stability to the nation. Mr. Abubakar, a Muslim from Nigeria's north, also criticized Mr. Jonathan who is a Christian from the south for breaking a traditional power-sharing agreement for the presidency.

The PDP customarily rotates the presidency between a northern Muslim and southern Christian every two terms. However, Mr. Jonathan became president in May when President Umaru Yar'Adua, a Muslim, died just three years into what was expected to be an eight-year presidency. That caused some division in the party about whether it should nominate a northerner or southerner for the April race.

Published with the permission of Voice of America