Nigerian All Progressives Congress votes Buhari as its flag-bearer in 2015 poll

What you need to know:

  • All Progressives Congress polls did not start until gone 11:00pm (2200 GMT) and the 7,214 delegates only began to cast their ballots — alphabetically by state — from 3:00am
  • The coalition of four opposition parties is seen as having its best chance of seizing power from the PDP since civilian rule returned to Nigeria in 1999

  • It has been campaigning against Jonathan’s record on tackling Boko Haram, the PDP’s stewardship of the economy and also its perceived inability to tackle corruption and impunity

  • The opposition also claims that graft has got worse and the economy — Africa’s largest — is reeling unnecessarily from a fall in global oil prices


Next year’s presidential election in Nigeria will be a repeat of the last vote four years ago, with former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari taking on incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.
The 71-year-old was chosen for the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket, after an all-night vote by 7,214 delegates at a party convention in Lagos on Thursday.
His most prominent challenger, former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, could only muster 954 votes and he conceded as Buhari’s soared towards 3,000, with counting not yet finished.

“Congratulations General Buhari. The delegates have spoken, you fully deserve the victory,” Abubakar said on his Twitter account @atiku.
Buhari ended up with 3,430 votes.
Jonathan, 57, was endorsed by his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at a separate meeting in the capital, Abuja, on Wednesday night. No other candidate had challenged for the nomination.
Last time round in 2011, Jonathan secured nearly 22.5 million votes or nearly 59 percent of the ballots cast.
Buhari, then campaigning for the Congress for Progressive Change, scored 12.2 million or nearly 32 percent.
The vote on February 14, 2015 is expected to the closest since Nigeria returned to democracy 15 years ago, with the opposition — a coalition of four parties — stronger than ever.

Buhari has a reputation for cracking down on corruption from his time in power and the APC has campaigned hard on what it sees as Jonathan’s lack of action against high-level graft and impunity. As a former general, he is also expected to be better-placed to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency, which critics say Jonathan has been unable — or even unwilling — to stop.
In the run-up to the vote, it was former president Olusegun Obasanjo who grabbed headlines with an outspoken attack against Mr Jonathan that sounded more like opposition criticism. In his new, three-volume autobiography, “On My Watch”, the PDP founder questioned Mr Jonathan’s fitness to govern and said he was surrounded by corrupt cronies and “greedy hangers-on”.

Jonathan, he said, was “a man of adequate intelligence to run the affairs of Nigeria but lacking in broad vision, knowledge, confidence, understanding, concentration, capacity, sense of security, courage, moral and ethical principles, character and passion to move the nation forward on a fast trajectory”.
Obasanjo, who was military ruler from 1976 to 1979 and the first president when Nigeria returned to civilian rule 15 years ago, also hit out at Abubakar, his vice-president from 1999 to 2007.
But despite questioning Buhari’s economic competence, the former general “will be a strong, almost inflexible, and a courageous and firm leader”, he said in extracts published in the This Day daily.

Political commentator Chris Ngwodo said the criticisms were a calculated move by “OBJ”, who backed Jonathan when he took over as president after the death of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010.
“Jonathan hasn’t had a stellar record of performance by any means. This (the publication of the book) is not borne out of deep concern about his record or performance,” Mr Ngwodo told AFP.
“It’s simply that he hoped... he would be in a position to call the shots behind the scenes and that hasn’t turned out to be the case.
“A lot of this is really him getting back at Jonathan. I would think as well that there’s a real intent to see to it that Jonathan doesn’t get a second term.” (AFP)

Nigeria’s presidential elections, to be held on February 14 next year, are expected to be the closest since 1999, with the APC looking to take power for the first time.

The APC — a four-party coalition buoyed by a wave of defections — has attacked Jonathan’s record on security, his handling of the economy and corruption.
Jonathan has been seen as weak and criticised for not being able to end five years of violence by Boko Haram.
The opposition also claims that graft has got worse and the economy — Africa’s largest — is reeling unnecessarily from a fall in global oil prices.
Political analysts believe Buhari, as a former military general, will be better placed to tackle the Islamist insurgency, while Abubakar has the better pedigree as a politician.
But Buhari could be hamstrung by his lack of policies as well as alleged rights abuses under his military regime in the 1980s and Abubakar because of corruption allegations in his past.
The PDP maintained that Jonathan was the best candidate and would secure an “emphatic” win even if Buhari and Abubakar ran as joint candidates.

“We are today serving notice to the opposition APC to expect a crushing defeat at the polls,” the party’s national publicity secretary Olisa Metuh told reporters on Monday. (AFP)

Meanwhile, a judge in Nigeria has threatened to punish the country’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo for flouting a court order not to publish his latest memoirs.
The three-volume autobiography, entitled “My Watch”, contains damning criticism of current President Goodluck Jonathan, his administration and other senior political figures.
Judge Valentine Ashi, sitting at Federal Capital Territory High Court on Wednesday, said that Obasanjo had flouted a court order not to publish the book until a legal challenge to its contents had been heard.
“As long as the substantive suit is not yet determined, no party is entitled to publish or comment on material facts that are yet to be decided by the court,” the judge said.

“I hold the defendant (Obasanjo) not only in contempt of court but to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt and ordered to undo what he has wrongly done.”
The judge gave Obasanjo and his lawyers 21 days to file an appeal and ruled that the book should be withdrawn from sale in the meantime.
Obasanjo’s lawyer, Realwon Okpanach, said his client would appeal, but argued that the original case brought before the court was only submitted this month when the book came out in November.
Obasanjo was military ruler from 1976 to 1979 and Nigeria’s first president when democracy returned to the country in 1999.

His strongly worded criticisms of Jonathan have been seen as a signal that he no longer supports the president, whom he backed for the top job after the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010.
Extracts from the book have already appeared in newspapers. In them, he praises Muhammadu Buhari, another ex-military ruler, who is seeking to challenge Jonathan at next year’s elections.