LAGOS – More than 2,300 delegates from Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party converged in the capital Abuja on Tuesday ahead of the main primary elections.
The winner, who is vying to lead Africa’s most populous country, will also face Atiku Abubakar, 75, of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25, 2023 elections.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who steps down next year after reaching his constitutional two-term limit, was due to attend the rally later on Tuesday.
Favorites among the 23 candidates include former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi and Senate Speaker Ahmad Lawan.
Buhari, who is the party leader, declared no support for any candidate and asked APC members to “let the delegates decide”.
“Our goal must be victory for our party and our candidate must be someone who will instill a sense of victory and confidence in the Nigerian masses ahead of the election,” he said last week.
Tight security was deployed in central Abuja and roads were blocked as hundreds of APC supporters dressed in green, white and red party colors marched towards the site.
The primaries began on Monday, two days after gunmen killed at least 21 people in an attack on a church in the South West – a reminder that security will be a major issue at the polls.
The results of the primaries are due to be officially announced at 21:00 GMT when the winner is due to deliver an acceptance speech.
The PDP held its primaries on May 28 and 29.