Nigeria`s ruling party to hold presidential primary

Nigeria`s ruling Party`s delegates have started arriving from across the country to pick its presidential candidate for the April election.

Updated: Jan 13, 2011, 17:41 PM IST

Abuja: Nigeria`s ruling People`s
Democratic Party`s delegates have started arriving from
across the country to pick its presidential candidate for the
April election amid tight security.

The major contenders are incumbent President Goodluck
Jonathan and former vice president Atiku Abubakar who have
large followers across the country.

The key issue in the primary may be the issue of
rotational presidency which has been the major point of
political debates this election period.

The third candidate is veteran woman politician Sarah

President Jonathan, who is from south, inherited power
from former president Umaru Musa Yar`Adua, who was from north,
after his death last year.

A power sharing agreement within the ruling party
says power should rotate between the north and south every
eight years and Abubakar is challenging Jonathan`s claim that
his aspiration is a continuation of Yar`Adua’s era.

"Over 5000 delegates are expected to decide who
emerges as the presidential flag bearer of PDP for the April
2011 presidential election and accreditation is already going
on at two locations at the International Conference Centre and
the Women Centre," Uche Secondus, the national organising
secretary of the party, said.

Sixty per cent of the delegates would come from the 19
northern states of the oil rich African country recently
troubled by incidents of bombings and killings associated to
ethnicity, militancy and religion.

Over 20,000 policemen made up of regular, anti-riot
and anti-bomb units have been sent to the Eagle Square where
the convention will be held today.

A bomb explosion rocked the same square on October 1
during the country`s 50th independence anniversary killing
several persons and wounding others.

On Tuesday, the three presidential aspirants faced a
panel of evaluators who cleared all of them giving them the go
ahead to contest tomorrow`s primary.

Jonathan was the first to be interviewed by the panel
and he came out to tell the media that the exercise was

Former vice president Abubakar said he was asked about
his return to the party and some critical comments he made
about the party when he contested in the last election on the
platform of an opposition party, Action Congress (AC).

"I think the screening panel is a good panel,"
Abubakar said.