Nigeria's electoral commission has approved the merger of the three main opposition parties, a move that sets the stage for a potentially stiff challenge to President Goodluck Jonathan's People's Democratic Party in the 2015 presidential elections.
The commission said on Wednesday the opposition parties had "met all statutory requirements" to merge into the All Progressive Congress.
The new coalition is comprised of the All Nigeria Peoples Party , the Congress for Progressive Change and the Action Congress of Nigeria .
Nigeria is split almost evenly between Muslims and Christians. The All Progressive Congress includes influential Muslims from the country's north and Christians from southern Nigeria.
Nigeria's ruling PDP has been in power since the country transitioned to a democracy in 1999. However, the party has been dealing with internal rifts as well as threats from the opposition.
President Jonathan, a Christian from the south, has not said if he will seek re-election in 2014. The voting for his 2011 election was polarized, with Mr. Jonathan dominating in the Christian south and his main opponent, Muhammadu Buhardi, winning the Muslim north.