Former Nigerian ruler Ibrahim Babangida has threatened to leave the country’s ruling party amid a dispute about who should be the party’s candidate in a presidential election next year.
In a letter Tuesday, Mr. Babangida said President Goodluck Jonathan’s candidacy to be the People’s Democratic Party nominee violates the party’s policies. The party, of which both men are members, has a custom of rotating the presidency between a northern Muslim and a southern Christian every two terms.
Mr. Babangida said he would have to reconsider “continued membership in the party” in light of “gross violations” of the party’s constitution.
Last month, a group of influential northern politicians said they will back former vice president Atiku Abubakar, a Muslim, to challenge Mr. Jonathan, a Christian, for the party’s nomination.
Nigeria is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections April 2, followed by the presidential election April 9.
The country’s electoral commission has said it wants to make sure the votes are credible. Observers strongly criticized the last elections in 2007, saying they were badly marred by disorganization, intimidation and fraud.
Mr. Jonathan became president in May when president Umaru Yar'Adua, a Muslim, died just three years into what was expected to be an eight-year presidency. voa