Nigeria's opposition party picks former VP as 2019 presidential candidate
Last Updated: 2018-10-08 10:56 | Xinhua
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Nigeria's main opposition party on Sunday confirmed the nomination of Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president of the most populous African country, as its candidate for next year's presidential election.

Abubakar won 11 other presidential aspirants, including Senate president Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal, at the presidential primaries of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), held Saturday night.

He got 1,532 votes, almost half of total votes cast at the party's elective convention in Port Harcourt, the country's oil hub and capital of the southern state of Rivers.

Abubakar, who served as vice president of Nigeria in 1999-2007, is a former political ally of incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari. He is known for criticizing the Buhari's administration since leaving the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party last year to pitch his tent with the PDP.

Buhari also got the nomination of the ruling party late Saturday in Abuja. He got a total of 14,842,072 votes during the direct presidential primaries of his party across Nigeria's 36 states and the capital Abuja.

In his acceptance speech, the 71-year-old Abubakar said he looks forward to bringing back the former ruling PDP to power next year.

Since leaving office in 2007, he had aspired for the office of the president three times but failed in each bid. He dumped the PDP twice and returned to the political fold in November 2017 to pursue his presidential ambition.

Nigeria's electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, earlier gave all 91 political parties registered to participate in the 2019 election an Oct. 7 deadline to submit the names of their presidential candidates.

Nigeria will hold its presidential election in February 2019.

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