Nigeria security adviser quits to run presidential votes

The move means he will run against President Goodluck Jonathan, who formally launched his campaign on Saturday with a rally in the capital Abuja.

Nigeria security adviser quits to run presidential votes

Nigerian National Security Adviser Aliyu Gusau has resigned and plans to seek the ruling party nomination to run in presidential elections in January, a senior aide said on Sunday.

The move means he will run against President Goodluck Jonathan, who formally launched his campaign on Saturday with a rally in the capital Abuja.

"He submitted his resignation letter to President Jonathan on Thursday and informed Mr President on Friday he wants to go into the presidential race. His resignation has been accepted," a senior aide to Gusau told Reuters, asking to not be named.

Presidency officials could not immediately be reached.

Jonathan inherited the presidency when president Umaru Yar'Adua, a northerner, died this year during his first term, but he is a southerner and some in the People's Democratic Party (PDP) have said the next leader must be a northerner.

The PDP, dominant in Nigerian politics since the country returned to civilian rule in 1999, is divided between backing Jonathan or a candidate from the country's mainly Muslim north.

An unwritten party policy has long dictated that it rotate its candidates between the Muslim north and predominantly Christian south every second term.

The rule serves as a way of smoothing over ethnic, religious and social divides in the vast west African country of 150 million people and over 250 tribal groups.

Since Yar'Adua, a Muslim, died before his first term was up, some argue another northern candidate should be chosen.

Gusau, a northerner, is a retired general who was also national security adviser to Yar'Adua's predecessor Olusegun Obasanjo. He remains a powerful figure in the ruling party.

He was the main contender alongside Yar'Adua to be the PDP nominee in the 2007 election, coming second in the primaries.

The PDP is due to hold its primaries for the 2011 election in mid-October.


Agencies

Last Mod: 19 Eylül 2010, 16:18
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