The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari will run for re-election in February 2019 against former vice president Atiku Abubakar, a Muslim from the country’s north who was nominated on Sunday as the main opposition party’s poll contender.
Buhari, was the sole candidate for his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, so his confirmation by some 7,000 delegates gathered in the capital Abuja was a mere formality on Saturday.
The APC came into to power in 2015 with the first opposition victory at the ballot box in the country’s history. But next year’s presidential race appears to have tightened in recent months with the APC hit by a wave of defections over Buhari’s leadership style.
This will become his fourth time standing for presidency. Abubakar comes from the Muslim-majority north, and his nomination follows an unwritten rule in Nigeria that the presidency should alternate every two terms between a candidate from the north and south.
The PDP vote was held in the oil hub of Port Harcourt, in the heartland of the southern Niger delta. Abubakar gained 1,532 votes, beating his closest rival Aminu Tambuwal, the governor of northern Sokoto state who scored 693 votes.
Buhari had indicated his intentions to stand for a second term in the forthcoming elections in April this year. During his tenure, he has faced mounting criticism on security issues, including the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, long-running farmer-herder clashes in the centre and militancy and kidnapping in the south.