Nigeria's ruling party picks candidate for 2023 election

·2-min read

Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress or APC party on Wednesday picked former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu as its candidate for the 2023 election to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, who steps down after two terms.

Tinubu, known as "the Godfather of Lagos" for his political clout, won 1,271 votes of the ballots cast by 2,300 party delegates at the primaries held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Abuja.

An APC stalwart, Tinubu emerged victorious following weeks of wrangling among party factions over their candidate to govern Africa’s most populous nation.

"I hereby declare Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as presidential candidate of our party in the forthcoming 2023 election," Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, the returning officer for the election, said after the count.

A Muslim from Nigeria's Yoruba-speaking southwest, Tinubu will face off in the February 25 ballot against Atiku Abubakar, a fellow veteran of Nigeria’s politics and the candidate for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party or PDP.

Tinubu, 70, had said becoming president was his life-long ambition.

But he sparked outrage days before the primaries by insisting it was his "turn" to run the country.

Seven candidates withdrew at the last minute to give their support to Tinubu in the primaries.

The APC ballot took place just two days after gunmen raided a church in Ondo State, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more, in a rare attack in the country’s usually more peaceful southwest.

Security will be a top issue in the 2023 election.

The military are grappling with a a 12-year-old jihadist conflict in the northeast and heavily-armed criminal gangs who carry out raids and mass kidnappings in the northwest.

Nigeria's economy, Africa's largest, is also recovering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the fallout from the Ukraine war.

The World Bank projects the number of poor Nigerians will hit 95.1 million this year -- nearly half of the country's population.

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