afrol News, 12 April - Former Nigeria's military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida, is planning to run for presidency in next year's presidential elections. He may be a major contester to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, if the latter decides to run.
General Babangida ruled Nigeria from 1985-1993, after he took over the government in a bloodless coup in 1985. The military ruler was forced to step down in 1993 following the nullification of the general elections, paving way for General Sani Abacha.
Mr Babangida has since maintained an active role in Nigeria's public life and he is considered among the most popular of Nigeria's former military leaders.
His plan to run for presidency was confirmed by his spokesperson, who told the media that the decision has been made that he will contest to run for president under the ruling People's Democratic Party, though an official declaration for nomination will only be made later at the party's primaries.
He had previously declared interest to contest, but was stopped by the gentlemen's agreement in the ruling party to rotate the leadership between the Muslims and Christians.
The current Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan is a Christian, even though the man he is acting for his position, the ailing Umaru Yar'Adua, is a Muslim from the north of Nigeria. It is therefore an open question whether it is time for a Christian or Muslim ruler.
President Yar'Adua has not appeared in public since November last year when he left the country for medical check up until he was reported seriously ill.
Acting President Jonathan only recently started securing his position in the Nigerian presidency by appointing a government loyal to him. But his soft moves have left it unclear whether Mr Jonathan has political ambitions to fight for the leadership of the country. He has not declared whether he will run for the presidency in next year's elections.
Recently politics in Nigeria has taken the centre stages, especially following the need to confirm Mr Jonathan as the new leader. Political pressures had reached a boiling point, with the legislature even seeking to tighten the laws under which candidates will no more be allowed to rule the country with suspect health.
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