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Nigeria's Main Opposition Party Chooses General Muhammadu Buhari As Its Presidential Candidate - 2003-01-08

Nigeria’s main opposition political party has chosen a former military ruler to challenge incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo in the April elections.

The All Nigeria Peoples Party, the ANPP, Wednesday picked General Muhammadu Buhari at its convention in the capital, Abuja. But it was not without controversy.

Originally twelve candidates had said they would vie for the ANPP nomination. But five dropped out of the race on the eve of the convention, five of them dropped out and threw their support to General Buhari. All five were from the north. This angered five of the six southerners in the race, who walked out in protest.

General Buhari, a Fulani Muslim, seized power in late December 1983, toppling the civilian government of fellow northerner Shehu Shagari. He, himself, was ousted by General Ibrahim Babangida in August, 1985. He then went into relative obscurity until being appointed to a position by then military ruler, General Sani Abachi.

President Obasanjo, when he took office, eliminated the commission that General Buhari headed. Some analysts say that set the stage for the presidential bid. The vice-presidential candidate on the ANPP ticket will be Chuba Okadigbo, a former senate president and southerner.

Click above links to download or listen to Paul Okolo's report.