Nigeria's opposition candidate picks running mate for 2019

Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, attends the national convention of Nigeria's opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP), in the southern city of Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta, Nigeria October 6, 2018.  — Reuters pic
Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, attends the national convention of Nigeria's opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP), in the southern city of Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta, Nigeria October 6, 2018. — Reuters pic

LAGOS, Oct 13 — Nigeria’s main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar has picked his deputy from the south-east of the country, ahead of a bid to oust President Muhammadu Buhari from power in next year’s election.

Abubakar, who will stand for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in February’s election, on Friday chose Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra, a south-eastern stronghold for the party since 1999 when Nigeria returned to civilian rule.

Buhari, a 75-year-old former military ruler who took office in 2015, has faced criticism from opponents for his handling of the economy, failing health and leadership style.

His ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) controls one of the five states in the south-east, while the PDP has three and another opposition party one.

Abubakar, a deputy to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007, has run for the presidency four times without success.

He has amassed a huge fortune in the import-export business, as well as oil, agriculture and telecommunications, and is credited with having a network of support across Nigeria.

The 2019 vote is seen as Abubakar’s last opportunity for the top job.

Last week Obasanjo, Abubakar’s estranged former boss, endorsed him for the job, saying he would be a better manager of the nation’s economy than Buhari. — AFP

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