Goodluck Jonathan wins party primary

Nigeria President - Goodluck Jonathan
Nigeria President - Goodluck Jonathan

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has won party primaries, making him the favourite ahead of April’s elections.

Mr Jonathan’s main challenger was ex-vice-president Atiku Abubakar, who was supported by some northern powerbrokers.

The People’s Democratic Party candidate has won every poll since the end of military rule in 1999.

Mr Jonathan became leader after the death of the elected president, Umaru Yar’Adua, in May last year.

“I declare Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to be the winner of this presidential primary,” the chief returning officer, Tunde Adeniran, told a party convention in the capital Abuja, after votes were counted.

Mr Jonathan won with 2,736 votes compared to Mr Abubakar’s 805. However, a spokesman for Mr Abubakar alleged rigging and intimidation.

The PDP has a tradition of alternating power between north and south after two terms of office but this was interrupted when Mr Jonathan, a southerner, succeeded Mr Yar’Adua when he died last year.

In December, a group of Nigeria’s powerful governors said they would back President Jonathan’s candidacy but only if he stood for one term before standing down in favour of a northerner.

He is the first president from Nigeria’s southern, oil-producing Delta region.

Electoral reform promise

Some 5,000 PDP delegates gathered in the city’s Eagle Square where the vote took place.

Journalist Andrew Walker told the BBC News website that some northern delegates, wearing their flowing gowns, boycotted the start of the process amid disputes about the process.

They accused allies of Mr Jonathan of threatening to “fish out” anyone who votes against the president.

Nigeria’s recent elections have been tarnished by fraud and violence.

Mr Jonathan has promised to introduce electoral reforms, but correspondents say it will be difficult to implement radical changes before April.

The main opposition candidates are former anti-corruption campaigner Nuhu Ribadu and Gen Muhammadu Buhari.

Source: BBC

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