Nigeria: Former VP announces presidential bid

Nigeria`s former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who was accused of bribing a US congressman while in office, announced on Sunday he would seek the nomination of the oil-rich country`s ruling party to run for the presidency.

Last Updated: Aug 15, 2010, 22:31 PM IST

Abuja: Nigeria`s former vice president Atiku
Abubakar, who was accused of bribing a US congressman while in
office, announced on Sunday he would seek the nomination of the
oil-rich country`s ruling party to run for the presidency.

Abubakar, 63, would need the People`s Democratic Party to
again accept him as a member before contesting the primary, as
he ran unsuccessfully as a presidential candidate for an
opposition party in 2007.

However, his candidacy as a Muslim from northern Nigeria
could pressure the party after a Christian from the south
became Nigeria`s president earlier this year following the
death of its elected Muslim leader.

At a news conference today, Abubakar told reporters he
came to the decision after talking with family, friends and
supporters.

"I have no illusions about the toughness of the
challenges ahead, but with the support of our people we can
overcome them," he said. He took only a few questions from
reporters before rowdy supporters who flooded the event
drowned out their voices.

Abubakar served as vice president under President
Olusegun Obasanjo during his two, four-year term presidency.

Their time in office marked Nigeria`s return to democracy
after a string of military dictatorships and failed
governments that followed the nation`s independence from
Britain in 1960.

However, Abubakar received the most international
attention during the trial of ex-Louisiana congressman William
Jefferson, whose freezer was stocked with USD 90,000 in cash
at the time of an FBI raid.

PTI