Nigeria`s ruling party sets date for presidential primaries

Nigeria`s ruling party will hold primaries in mid-October to select its presidential nominees.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2010, 21:33 PM IST

Abuja: Nigeria`s ruling party will hold
primaries in mid-October to select its presidential nominee
for January elections.

Ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agreed to hold
primaries for the presidential race in zones around the
country on three consecutive days from October 18-20 before
ratifying a single candidate on October 23.

The date was reached after a crucial meeting of the
National Executive Council (NEC) of the party on Wednesday,
`This Day` newspaper reported.

The paper said name of the candidate would be made
public on October 23 while governorship candidates for the oil
rich African country`s 36 states would emerge earlier on the
8th of the same month.

On Wednesday, President Goodluck Jonathan has
announced on Facebook that he will contest the election.

Nigeria, Africa`s most populous country with a
population of 150 million, is set to hold elections for the
fourth time since returning to democracy after a long military
rule in 1999.

Since then, presidential elections which are
conducted every four years and have been won by the PDP.

Though opposition parties challenged the victories,
the courts always rule in favour of PDP citing lack of
evidence to prove the elections were rigged.

The present exercise has been marred by power
rotation adopted by the ruling party to revolve the presidency
between the largely Muslim north and the Christian dominated
south.

Jonathan, who is from the Niger Delta in the south,
inherited the presidency when president Umaru Yar`Adua, a
northerner, died this year during his first term. Some
powerbrokers within the PDP say the next leader must be a
northerner.

Jonathan`s decision to contest election comes even as
former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida, a northerner, also
launched his campaign for the PDP nomination, a quarter of a
century after he first seized power in a coup.

PTI